Spider-Man: No Way Home — The fever dream we all need
Thwip, thwip, hooray!
Like a nostalgia-charged wrecking ball, Spider-Man: No Way Home slams into you with enough force to have you seeing stars — actually, scratch that, universes. It acts as both the finale to Tom Holland's Sony/Marvel trilogy, as well as the culmination of twenty years worth of Spider-Man lore, featuring the likes of previous silver screen Spidey villains, such as Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx's Electro, and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock (just to name a few). It's a Marvel adventure unlike any we've seen before (seriously), and despite the herculean challenges this concept alone brings, the film pulls it off with the utmost grace.
Picking up just moments after the shocking conclusion to 2019's Far From Home, No Way Home shows the aftermath of Peter being framed for the death of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his secret identity being exposed. The news sends shock waves through Peter's life, impacting his friends, family, and the superhero world as a whole. That is until Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) agrees to cast a spell to have everyone forget that Peter is Spider-Man, and the very fabric of the universe begins to tear at the seams.
It's impossible to talk about this film without stating the obvious: longtime Spider-Man fans, especially those who have grown up watching the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations of the character, will be absolutely blown away by what happens throughout the course of No Way Home. Director Jon Watts weaves the old with the new in a way that is emotionally resonant and narratively sublime. Rarely do films hold such power, and the fact alone that so many past Spidey villains — not to mention all the same actors — are back and interacting with one another is the fever dream we've all been waiting for. It pays homage to what's come before but doesn't dwell on the past, ultimately giving Tom Holland the conclusion his character deserves and opening up the possibilities for many — might I even say, infinite — future films. Not to mention, Tom's acting is far and beyond the best it's ever been and I can't wait to see what awaits him down the road.
While there is much to praise, No Way Home is, at the end of the day, a Marvel film that occasionally plays it safe. Some of the character decisions feel predictable, and the finale, while beautifully executed and extraordinarily memorable, stumbles slightly on its own logic. That said, you'll likely be so engrossed in the moment-to-moment action that these minor hiccups won't even resonate. You'll be too busy wondering whether it's time to cheer or sob.
- Final Thoughts -
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the Marvel film we've been waiting on for years. It manages to elegantly conclude Tom Holland's journey as the webslinger while at the same time acknowledge and pay respect to the Maguire and Garfield worlds of yester-spider. Longtime fan or not, this film will, without a doubt, thwip you away.
(Image courtesy of Variety.com)