"With great power, comes great responsibility…"
Probably the most well known line in all of Spider-Man canon to a point of being a cliché, however given the previous entry it’s somewhat apt in more than one way.
Here we are heading into the third Spider-Man solo film in the MCU and outside of Endgame the stakes feel somewhat high, opening with he reveal from “Far from Home” that Mysterio set up Peter Parker for his “murder” it’s quite the task to delve into a coherent super hero story… However this is Disney/Marvel we are talking about and if anyone can give us a satisfactory ending to this part of the trilogy it’s them.
Practically every scene in the first third is a spoiler so discussing the plot further is nigh impossible without a metric tonne of spoilers or redacted text, which let’s be fair, would be a boring review.
Instead, I’ll say that No Way Home is a well crafted, engaging and emotional entry, which despite perhaps a few timing issues as well as one or two gaps in logic was a joy to watch. In this reviewers screening there were many gasps and moments of applause from the surprises given.
Another thing I personally think this film does well is looking at the relationship between Peter Parker and his friends and loved ones, and even more so between himself and his rogues gallery. There is perhaps more nuance about the kind of person our MCU variant is, it leads to some brilliant interactions between characters which would not have been possible with previous interactions.
Again, whilst not wanting to spoil anything (Read the next line at your own risk) my only issues with the story were some fast cuts between one element of the plot to another which would have benefitted from some extra time or scenes to transition. However given the viewing audience this does always work.
The above mentioned line of dialogue, As we all know is a line spoken to Peter by Uncle Ben, that has been used liberally over the years. To Marvel’s credit it was used well and in the best context to further the story however it does feel very much like the “Martha” line used in Batman Vs Superman although it doesn’t feel as forced or as all over the place.
This is where I would usually discuss the cast.. but as with the rest of the review this film hides so many secrets to talk about the majority would be a disservice, so I’ll highlight those we already know of..
Our main leads of Tom Holland and Zendaya as Peter and MJ respectively are as on form as they have ever been. Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds had a stronger showing than in previous years, whilst his character is somewhat of a comic foil he still gets some great moments.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange is unsurprising solid, whilst not a fan of the character from previous entries in the MCU this film does well to show Strange’s darker side... which given the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not surprising but still very entertaining.
But we can’t leave out our villains can we... Firstly, it goes without saying that Willem Defoe & Alfred Molina are a joy to watch as Norman Osbourne and Otto “Doc Ock” Octavius and immediately brought back memories of watching them in their original incarnations, they haven’t missed a beat, it feels like they wear their characters as another skin. Jamie Foxx is particularly great also, feeling like he got a measure of redemption as his original version of Electro was panned by critics and fans due to his overly blue appearance.
Last but not least are more minor appearances by The Lizard (Rhys Ifans), The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) who whilst not as utilised as much feel at home in the cast.
I’m sure you’re also wondering just how many versions of Spider-Man we will see... Well, that’s a surprise I’m keeping to myself, needless to say I don’t think you will be disappointed.
To summarise, No Way Home is a fitting conclusion to the current Spider-Man arc which leaves room for the rumoured (as of 15/12/21) next Spider-Man trilogy to explore new ground.
It’s a gut punch of an emotional end and satisfies two decades of Spider-Man film history, and given the chance see it in the biggest screen with superior sound as possible, in IMAX and stay for the post credit scenes there are two, you won't be disappointed!
Excelsior True Believers