So a movie called Spider-Man: No Way Home came out about a week ago, and I thought I would offer a further examination of the movie that I touched on in my spoiler-free review. So let’s not waste any time and discuss Spider-Man: No Way Home spoilers.
The entire plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home goes as follows. Everyone knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man, which messes up the lives of his loved ones, and is the reason why Peter turns to Dr. Strange for assistance. Strange creates a spell that accidentally lets the villains of the previous non MCU Spider-Man movies into their universe. Peter feels sympathy for them, which ultimately proves to be a bad idea, as it leads to Aunt May’s demise. The final battle has the two previous actors to play Spider-Man showing up to help Tom Holland save the day and Peter sacrificing his friends memory of him so Dr. Strange can restore the multiverse. The film closes with Peter deciding to stay out of MJs life, plus there’s a disappointing cameo from Tom Hardy’s Venom in the end credits. That’s the plot, let’s go over the specifics and I’ll explain why I think it’s a little absurd that people think this movie deserves to be in the top 10 of IMDb’s top 250 greatest films ever made.
As I stated in my other review, Peter Parker’s secret identity being exposed to the public is an intriguing premise, but my problem with it is they don’t really explore the full potential of this concept. They just go over the surface level stuff, such as Peter becoming an instant celebrity and seeing what comes of that and also Peter being viewed in a different light by people he knows and seeing what comes of that. That’s it, not much meat to chew on here, but rewatching Far From Home, I’ve noted that this is a recurring theme in these MCU Spider-Man movies. These films have never really been interested in exploring Peter’s personal life in a way that hits close to home or allows us to get emotionally involved. This is probably why Uncle Ben is never mentioned until now as they wanted Peter’s personal life in these movies to be more of a platform to insert some wacky comedy and keep the movies as happy go lucky Disney channel approved family films. The worst part of the Peter Parker exposed plotline is how they conclude it. Peter asking Dr. Strange to help erase everyone’s memory of him as Spider-Man just because his friends can’t go to the school they wanted to because of their association with him, is a pretty weak motive to me. There were better options they could have gone with, to make this more compelling, but the film chose the most boring and safe approach, because this Spider-Man is Disney channel approved. At least this wasn’t so distracting that it took me out of the movie, unlike what followed.
I guess I should talk about that multiverse storyline. The Dr. Strange and Peter stuff is great, I love their back and forwards mutual friendship turned rivalry throughout the movie. Their fight scene is probably the best one in the movie, as they go back to that Inception universe from Strange’s own movie. Then we’re up to the point where the villains start rolling in, and Strange needs them all gathered up so he can send them all back to their universe. Seeing villains like Doc Ock, Willem Dafoe’s Goblin and Jamie Foxx’s complete 180 Electro playing off each other and even interacting with Peter and his friends was amazing in a way that made me feel like a giddy kid seeing childhood fantasies come true. Every one of these scenes is worth the price of admission on its own, but despite how good it is, there are cons to being too accurate to these fantasies. In my other review I compared the fan service stuff to the far superior Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. For example, Spider-Verse references the infamous emo Peter dance from Spider-Man 3, in the least distracting pull me out of the movie way possible as just a quick visual gag that is a part of a string of equally funny jokes in one of the film’s Spider-Man origin stories. Completely inconsequential to the story, but it’s still funny to those who aren’t aware of the reference while also enhancing a Spider-Man fan’s experience in the process. While in No Way Home they would go on long tangents to tell me how ridiculously similar Electro and Sandman’s origin stories are and how dumb a villain the Lizard was in the first Amazing Spider-Man movie. While I do enjoy this stuff, it comes at the cost of my investment, because the film is battling between trying to be a dramatic conclusion to a trilogy, while also being a spoof movie at the same time, and the writing doesn’t back up both avenues. (A quick note, it gets worse when the other Spider-Men show up.)
As for the villains, they feel more like comedic mockeries of their characters from their own movies, (it really is a spoof movie!). The only outliers being Electro, who I’ve stated is a completely different character from who he is in his own movie and The Green Goblin, who is the only character who isn’t a parody of their former selves and is the only one to create some actual dramatic tension. Plus its Willem Dafoe as the Goblin, so no surprise, he steals the entire movie once he shows up. Let’s talk about Willem Dafoe, because this guy is incredible, he hasn’t played this character in almost 20 years, but he slips back into those shoes like it was only yesterday. While the character of the Goblin isn’t that great, as his presence is kind of tainted because he’s sharing the spotlight with 4 other villains, Dafoe’s performance does elevate it sufficiently for this to be overlooked. The other villains suffer this worse because they’re treated on an equal footing, so when it’s time to get everyone to go to the final action scene, it feels forced and inconsistent that all these villains would come to the same conclusion of wanting to backstab Peter and take over the city. The Goblin killing Aunt May was a pretty confusing scene, which is mainly due to the poor camera work and bad writing of the villains. The death itself is pretty weak and is only salvaged by Holland’s acting, otherwise this would be a dud.
Onto the highlight of the entire cinema experience, aka the moment where everyone in my cinema went complete ape shit. No punches here, it was when we see Andrew Garfield is in this as Spider-Man and thankfully not as some knock-off lookalike. (Still haven’t gotten over that WandaVision.) It was already a hugely satisfying scene but the expected arrival of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man right after, is just wonderful. While I can see that it’s pretty predictable that they are even here, I’m just more impressed that I got genuine reaction out of this, in an era where hype and sales are built on already knowing about major reveals before you even see the movie. In my dream cynical world I would have a genuine reaction to seeing these villains in the cinema. Plus I would have other stuff too, such as this being the only MCU movie of the year and outlawing spoilers in trailers altogether. Garfield and Maguire are great in this movie too and seeing the three Spider-Men actors interact will never not be a gratifying sight. I did enjoy watching them together, however this was the point that I was referring to that did take me out of the movie, because the film got too self indulgent for it’s own good. The scene where the two Spider-Men asked Tobey Spider-Man how can he possibly shoot spider webs without web shooters, really stuck out. If it means anything, they kind of tease what Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Men have been up to after their own film series had ended, and I would actually be interested in seeing that, and Disney with its divine power doesn’t have an excuse to not make this a reality.
Let’s jump to the ending because the final action scene I couldn’t care less for. Bypassing the pretty weak conclusions to the alternate Spider-characters, I really liked it when Peter chose to sacrifice his friends memory of him, which makes his extreme choice from earlier in the film more forgivable. Then Peter meeting MJ later and not telling her who he is, is the icing on the cake. It’s a perfectly ambiguous ending that is fitting and satisfying enough to keep my interest for what’s to follow. It’s a shame it got spoiled with the post credit scene that squandered any light I had for that crappy Venom sequel, because the only point of bringing Venom into the MCU is so they can set-up that black goo storyline, that has already been done before. I was looking forward to seeing this cringey version of Venom hang out with Spider-Man, come on Marvel I wanted you to embrace this absurdity! As for my thoughts on the second post credit scene, I have none, because I valued my bladder over seeing a preview that I can just as easily catch on my second viewing.
That’s all I really wanted to say about this movie. I’m going to be working on some new posts over Christmas and I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.