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Review of Spider-Man: No Way Home an unexpected victory

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Review of Spider-Man_ No Way Home an unexpected victory

Review of Spider-Man: No Way Home an unexpected victory

If you predicted that this would be the most successful Spider-Man film to date, you may have been correct. At least five villains, rumors of Spider-Men returning, an unprecedented trailer, and the concept of the multiverse all serve to position Spider-Man: No Way Home as the next Avengers: Endgame.

Everything, for the most part, went on properly. Just make sure you’ve seen all of the previous Spider-Man films before you start watching this one. With an inevitably convoluted network of characters, backstories and motivations, No Way Home nonetheless manages to maintain a surprising level of cohesion, provided you understand where each character is coming from. Look through Spider-filmography Man’s and you’ll be able to figure out why the people in the audience at the rear of the theater are cheering at any given moment.

Moreover, what if you aren’t intimately familiar with the past two decades of Spider-Man films? For anyone looking for a well-oiled and enjoyable Marvel (and Sony) film, you won’t be disappointed with this one. Some people may not fully comprehend the scope of what is, in essence, the live-action counterpart of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, aka the finest (or second-best) Spider-Man film ever. The film does, however, have a lot going for it, including appealing heroes with relatable character development, sleek, dynamic action sequences, odd, quirky humor, high stakes, tremendous emotional punches, and at least one amazing one-liner delivered by Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) of all people.

This is the Tom Holland Spider-Man film that most closely resembles the previous Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films in terms of tone and style. The film’s director, Jon Watts, deals with real-life consequences, a darker tone in general, and a familiar New York backdrop (with a few Marvel Cinematic Universe touches). In other words, the third Holland film more than makes up for the mediocre Spider-Man: Far From Home, which came before it.

Review of Spider-Man: No Way Home an unexpected victory
Credit: Marvel Studios

The premise is that Peter Parker must deal with the consequences of events that occurred directly at the conclusion of Far From Home. His hidden identity has been revealed to the public, along with the minor (but fictional) fact that he was the one who murdered Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). The media is after Peter now, and they are led by the glorious (but underused) J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), who must adjust to a difficult existence while being thrust into the uncomfortable limelight of public attention.

The fact that you learned this story aspect through the film’s record-breaking trailer may not be sufficient justification for Peter’s next move: going to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and begging that the sorcerer cast a spell that returns everything to normal. Holland’s third adventure begins with a series of delightful pranks that are reminiscent of the John Hughes-influenced high school fun ‘n’ games of Holland’s previous two outings. What follows, on the other hand, is a surprise, expectations-teasing spectacle with a deeper thematic undercurrent.

Marvel announced the return of several villains, including the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Hayes Church), and The Lizard (Alfred Molina) in their promotional materials (Rhys Ifans). Perhaps this was meant to serve as a warning to you to learn more about their backstories. When confronted with a tale that transports them to a different universe, only one or two lines are offered to explain why each villain reacts in the manner that they do.

The Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus are two of the most memorable characters. With the help of Marvel’s digital de-aging technology, Dafoe and Molina appear to be nearly two decades younger than they were when they first appeared in Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy — mostly, because it sometimes appears as if an Instagram beauty filter has been strategically placed over certain parts of the screen, which isn’t the case.

To avoid having to wade through the effects-heavy muck of Far From Home, the visual effects in general have been parceled out and tapered down to a more manageable level. The action scenes, which include hand-to-hand combat, have a more realistic and visceral feel to them. Grittier, sweatier, and more bloody. A first-person perspective puts you in the driver’s seat for a dizzying adventure as Spider-Man swings from point A to point B. Details like Peter utilizing his webs to grab things around Aunt May’s apartment provide a welcome touch of color and joy to an otherwise plain storyline. This time, Peter uses his Spidey senses as well, resulting in the much-joked-about “Peter tingling” becoming a genuine advantage — one that we can finally feel, thanks to sound effects and a close-up on Holland’s face in the comic.

 

A session with Doctor Strange is not only hallucinogenic and eye-popping, but it also allows Peter an opportunity to exercise his second superpower: his thinking. Doctor Strange is a dizzying and eye-popping sequence. Holland’s iteration, while younger than the previous two, has fewer opportunity to make use of this less-flashy feature than the previous two. Despite being a scientific prodigy in the comics, Holland’s on-screen avatar came out as painfully ignorant and trusting in his abilities as an athlete. His performance is significantly improved this time around (albeit, with the exception of one moment with Doc Ock, Spidey’s typical wit is still woefully lacking).

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