- Jared Huizenga
‘No Way Home’ is one of Marvel’s Finest
There are many things about fandoms that I don’t (and likely never will) understand. But the one thing that confuses me the most is just how many people actively seek out spoilers prior to a movie release.
Hours of watching and dissecting trailers, looking for clues. Scouring “insider tips” in hopes of finding even the smallest nugget of truth. Multiple re-watches of previous films in search of easter eggs. Actively asking critics they know for every plot detail. (The latter happens more often than you’d think.)
But perhaps even more confusing than all of that is just how poorly guarded secrets around ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ have been. It seems that everyone, from actors to the marketing department played a hand in things getting out … except for the famously loose lipped Tom Holland.
For the purpose of this review, however, we’re going to pretend the trailers and interviews revealed nothing.
Spider-Man (Tom Holland) dons the Iron Spider armor in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home.’ (© 2021 SONY PICTURES DIGITAL PRODUCTIONS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARVEL AND ALL RELATED CHARACTER NAMES: © & ™ 2021 MARVEL)
Quick recap on where things stand after 2019’s ‘Far from Home’ (stop reading if you’re not caught up):
Spider-Man and Mysterio battled their way through London, before Mysterio was killed by a drone. Peter returned to NYC (and normalcy?) with MJ, only to have J. Jonah Jameson show up and expose Peter’s secret identity to the world.
‘No Way Home’ picks up on the heels of that reveal with Peter (Holland) and MJ (Zendaya) fleeing to Aunt May’s apartment to hide from the prying eyes of NYC and the paparazzi. Surprise, it doesn’t work.
With the world divided on whether Spider-Man is a hero or a villain, things start to unravel for Peter, MJ, and Ned (Jacob Batalon), and their collective futures.
Not wanting his friends to pay for his actions, Peter seeks out his old friend Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and asks him to make it all go away. Strange finds a spell that will do just that. But as Peter changes the parameters, things get out of control and the fabric between worlds gets ripped, exposing the Multiverse. As the lines between words get more blurred, it’s up to Strange, Peter, MJ, and Ned to save not only their reality, but the others that have seeped through.
MJ (Zendaya) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home.’ (© 2021 SONY PICTURES DIGITAL PRODUCTIONS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARVEL AND ALL RELATED CHARACTER NAMES: © & ™ 2021 MARVEL)
Several words come to mind when I think about ‘No Way Home’ – ambitious, grand, touching, mature, and most importantly fun.
For reasons that will be obvious after you watch, ‘No Way Home’ is an undertaking that might rival ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and any of the ‘Avengers’ movies in terms of complexity and grandiose. Hell, it might even surpass those.
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) separates Peter Parker (Tom Holland) from his own body in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home.’ (© 2021 SONY PICTURES DIGITAL PRODUCTIONS INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MARVEL AND ALL RELATED CHARACTER NAMES: © & ™ 2021 MARVEL)
As is the case with any superhero movie, there’s action and humor aplenty, but whereas previous Spider-Man films have leaned too heavily on those calling cards, ‘No Way Home’ manages to blend them with a strong and often emotional narrative that leads to a good film. Not a good superhero movie, a good film.
The bar for most Marvel movies is set quite high, but with the rumors and hype surrounding ‘No Way Home,’ it seemed virtually impossible that it could live up to those lofty expectations. But director Jon Watts and his team have delivered something truly incredible and one of the best in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
★★★★1/2 of ★★★★★