The latest installment of the friendly neighborhood superhero is a thrilling ride full of nostalgia and packed with action sequences rivaling the best of MCU.
One of the challenges facing Marvel is how to create a sense of originality and fresh perspective into its already 26 entries of movies and various ongoing TV projects.
Spider-Man itself has had three reboots and spinoffs. But this latest installment is an amalgamation of what Marvel has achieved so far with various callbacks and plot points heavily reliant on Raimi’s Spiderman trilogy and Horner’s The Amazing Spiderman.
The film picks up right after the unmasking of Spider-Man by Rami-Maguire-era newspaper publisher turned conspiracy theorist J Jonah Jamison (J.K. Simmons).
— Spider-Man: No Way Home (@SpiderManMovie) December 22, 2021
The ramifications of his revealed identity pile up as Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) bad publicity stops his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) from getting into college.
Peter begs colleague Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to wipe people’s memory of him as Spider-Man, inadvertently leading to cast a spell that attracts people who know he is Spider-Man into his own universe.
Action kicks off when Peter and co. attempt to return Green Goblin (Willem Defoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), and Electro (Jamie Foxx) back to their own universes, seeking help from other fan favourites that we’ll leave to your imagination.
This disastrously foolhardy idea makes a refreshing change from the mass-destruction schemes of most superhero films.
It’s fair to say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse dealt with the concept of alternate universes even more brilliantly in 2018. It’s also true that if the most exciting part of No Way Home is the return of people who were in other films, then it falls short of the seminal Raimi-Maguire movies.
But there is no denying the thrill of seeing so many of the series’ finest actors and most iconic characters together in one place. The filmmakers are careful not to overdo the winking postmodernism, too.
Between their comic chemistry and their tragic flaws, there is something engagingly human about these super-humans.
The action sequences in No Way Home are fast and frenetic yet always coherent, and the post-Inception, Doctor Strange-esque performances, and a screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers that interweaves teen-angst soap opera and cosmic calamity with all the goofy logic and tonal nimbleness that make the best superhero comics so appealing.
Besides, No Way Home isn’t just about looking back at old films.
It also opens up new avenues for the Marvel Universe – or the Marvel Multiverse, to be more accurate.
Until now, this hasn’t been the most successful year for the studio’s blockbusters. Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings, and Eternals were all promisingly progressive on paper but underwhelming on screen.
But this entry could get marvel at its first billion-dollar entry by 2021. One thing is for sure – it leaves you eager about what comes next.