Updated: Jan 27
Yep, we’re doing this.
We’re talking about the latest Spiderman film, the film I said would overshadow Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when I reviewed it back in late 2021. Now, I’m not going to explain who Spiderman is to you if you don’t know. It isn’t 2001, you’re not going to be bullied for knowing who Spiderman is. There are bigger nerds out there than you (and I’m one of them).
Spiderman’s one of Marvel’s most popular characters both in terms of comics and films. Having already been established in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War and Homecoming and Far from Home, this film feels like the writers finally got a chance to let loose and have fun with the property.
Anyway, onto the plot. Now before we go any further, there will be spoilers from this point onwards. This is your spoiler warning. If you don’t want the plot spoiled, stick a bucket on your head and click away now…
So, the plot of Spiderman: No Way Home follows straight on from the closing moments of Spiderman: Far from Home. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is unmasked by J Jonah Jameson (J.K Simmons) and his life is now the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because it gets flipped-turned upside down. Eventually, Peter decides to go see Dr Strange to try and get him to magic the problem away so that no one remembers he is Spiderman.
It wouldn’t be a film without this spell going awry and true to form it does just that. Peter keeps trying to change the spell multiple times right as Strange is casting (a big no-no in the sorcery community) and the spell gets out of control. Strange manages to contain the spell and Peter sets out to try and fix some problems on his own.
Well, it turns out that the spell wasn’t as contained as everyone was led to believe. Our first inkling of this comes when the big mechanical octopus tentacle of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) bursts through a highway and starts wreaking havoc. Peter leaps into action and after a scrappy battle, he manages to apprehend the good doctor.
Taking the incapacitated villain back to the Sanctum Sanctorum’s basement, Peter learns that there’s a whole lot more bad guys to catch so he sets off into the night to catch both Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church). After adding these guys to his prisoner rolodex, with the good doctor chipping in The Lizard to round the number out to five.
Now that it’s all sorted, it’s time to send these interlopers back to their timeline… to fight Spiderman and ultimately be defeated either with death or imprisonment. Upon hearing this, Peter backflips and decides to help these guys out instead of just sending them on their way.
Like an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force Strange and Peter can’t be swayed from either of their crusades and a small “fight” between the two of them transpires. Peter somehow triumphs over a goddamn wizard and releases the prisoners to try and heal them.
Considering this is all happening during the middle of the first or second act, it’s safe to say that these naïve dreams of Peter aren’t going to pan out in the way he hopes they would. True to form, pretty much everything goes to shit; the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) goes into psycho goblin mode, the villains escape and in the chaos, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) ends up dead.
There’s a lot of work to track all these guys down again and we’re going to need more Spidermen…
Obviously, as a massive Spiderman fan (I spent an entire podcast episode pretty much talking about the character) it was great to see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return to the franchise and be inducted into the MCU. It wasn’t a surprise considering we knew villains from the previous non MCU films were appearing. It just wouldn’t make sense to have the likes of Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Electro return without having the Spiderman they fought return as well.
It was also just great to see all the awesome Spiderman villains from the Sam Raimi trilogy. Yes, I enjoyed Sandman in Spiderman 3 fight me. I could take or leave the Amazing Spiderman villains (seriously fuck Lizard, he does absolutely nothing of note in this film) but I get you need to have them to have Garfield’s Peter return so I can stomach it.
The only thing that surprised me was that we didn’t get a chance to have any of Tom Holland’s villains interact with the multiverse villains. I mean, can’t have Mysterio cause he’s dead but surely, we could have had Michael Keaton’s Vulture swooping back onto the scene for the final battle or something? Like seriously swap Lizard out for Vulture and you’ve got an extra villain to play with and a villain that means something to Tom Holland’s Peter specifically.
Also, a special mention must be made of Willem Dafoe in this film. He’s come back to the franchise after roughly 20 years and picks up right where he left off. He just looks like he’s having a blast playing this character again and he’s easily the best part of the film for me. The scene in Happy’s apartment when he’s fighting Peter is genuinely terrifying thanks to him.
The film isn’t perfect, however. The death of Aunt May didn’t feel like it needed to happen and was just there to crowbar in the “great power, great responsibility” line because it seems no matter the version of reality, we’re in, Peter Parker can’t escape having an aunt or uncle end up six feet under.
The character arcs for a bunch of characters in this film also didn’t quite track. Sandman for example goes from wanting to return to his reality to see his daughter again to suddenly being hell-bent on beating up spiderman in the big third act Marvel mandated fight scene. Even Peter himself changes his mind on helping the villains so quickly and it doesn’t feel justified.
Another minor gripe I had is that we don’t get a chance to introduce some more of Spiderman’s rogue’s gallery in the film. We get an appetite wetter at the end where we see a bunch of silhouettes. I would have loved to see Black Cat or Kraven the Hunter appear through the tear in space-time and have the trio of Spidermen have to try and defeat them on the fly.
Overall, I enjoyed the film but thanks to the inconsistent character arcs and the typical Marvel third act problem that plagues a bunch of their films, I don’t believe I would have enjoyed the film if I wasn’t such a massive Spiderman fan.
What did you think of Spiderman: No Way Home? Were you excited to see the old characters return? Let me know down below.
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