Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

The latest cinematic entry in the MCU (only just as of this post, mind you…) sees Spider-Man deal with the after-effects of his identity being revealed at the end of the previous film as well as continuity baggage from the two previous Spider-Man film universes! Plus lots of Doctor Strange and much more besides; does it manage to actually pull off a film worth watching in amongst all this noise? The answer may surprise you…

Going into No Way Home, which I will admit was a few months after its theatrical release via 4K Blu-Ray, I was conflicted. I knew the script was in such a poor state that it was pretty much being made up as they went along and that a whole chunk of the film revolving America Chavez had to be removed due to Sony wishing this film to keep its place on the schedule despite the next Doctor Strange film being delayed to 2022, the very film Chavez was set to debut in. So it was chaos, and I was expecting chaos. I wasn’t far off either, to be fair!

Doctor Strange realises he has to do something really stupid all because Sony messed around with the schedules

Tom Holland is once again a fine Spider-Man and really gets to tug at our heart strings as he struggles with his friends and family being affected by his outing as the masked hero, especially his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), the former he is very much in love with. As the trailers told you Spider-Man’s solution to the problem is to head over to Doctor Strange and have him magic away people’s memories that he’s Spider-Man, which the Sorcerer Supreme does, only thanks to Parker’s frequent interruptions the spell goes haywire and it brings a bunch of Spider-Man foes from other universes to the main MCU one. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Strange is played with an extra bit of humour, which given it was supposed to be Chavez who accidentally buggered up the spell I do wonder if some of her lines were kept – I just don’t see Strange using the phrase “Scooby Doo this shit” is all…

As for villains we have two great returns in Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and William Dafoe’s Green Goblin, an improved (though still not exactly deep) return of Jamie Foxx’s Electro, and finally Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman and Rhys Ifans’ Lizard also appear but entirely in CG. The story sees the various villains end up forming a bond over the fact that they were pulled from their universe moments before being killed by Spider-Man… apart from Sandman, who is still actually a pretty nice guy though being pulled into another universe away from his daughter doesn’t seem to bother him as much as you’d think… It’s quite fun really, Molina and Dafoe have a ball playing their old roles and even some of the Amazing Spider-Man villains are more entertaining here than they were in the past.

Doc Ock is back! I always wondered how the MCU’s Doctor Octavious was going to live up to Alfred Molina, turns out they just used the old one!

Sadly the nostalgia is all that works here as when you actually look at the plot it’s just “a spell goes wrong and bunch of villains from other worlds decide to join together for the hell of it and cause havoc until they’re stopped”, and that’s it. You can tell the script was rushed because there are times it barely feels like there is one! I almost feel annoyed that I enjoyed myself so much because it was clearly entirely down to nostalgia for the Raimi films (plus the lead trio of Holland, Zandaya and Batalon are still great, to be fair)

Now there is another key plot that is technically a spoiler so I’m going to leave it for the new post-review spoiler section, but I’m pretty sure 99.9% of you are aware of it, and for those that are: it’s very fun, isn’t it?

Overall Thoughts:

One of the more entertaining and believable friendships I’ve seen for a good while…

Another fine and heartfelt performance by Tom Holland and some really fun appearances from past Spider-Man film characters cover for a script that was clearly rushed and lacking in any solid direction. Against all odds though I had a great time!

So yeah, what I was referring to earlier: both Toby McGuire and Andrew Garfield also reprise their roles as their respective Spider-Men and the two of them along with Tom Holland make a great trio. Garfield especially acts like a good friend to Toby and an older brother to Tom, plus gets to save MJ from falling to her death in a make-good for failing to save Gwen Stacey in his own films. It was weird getting character development for a version of Spider-Man that I thought would just go down in history as “the not very good one in between the first trilogy and the MCU one” but there you go. It’s another case of taking things out of Sony’s hands and it becoming good!

A big twist that I didn’t actually get spoiled going into the film was that Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is killed by the Green Goblin in the middle of the film, this is where Holland truly shines as a sympathetic hero, hitting rock bottom but finally being told that “with great power comes great responsibility”. The big final showdown sees all three Spider-Men not kill their quintet of villains but instead putting their minds together and healing them all before they get sent back… and then presumably die anyway (well, most of them) but hey-ho, let’s not think about that part! Tom Holland’s Spidey nearly kills Goblin in revenge but is talked down by Maguire’s incarnation, pretty much saying the “been there, done that” line. Again, good stuff and not just bringing back the old Spider-Men for the hell of it, even if that was probably the pitch. In order to stop the out of control spell Peter allows it to erase everyone on Earth’s memory of him, giving him a clean slate going forward… and a great new blue and red spidey suit!

The two alternate universe Spider-Men try to reinact the classic Titanic pose…

There are also two big cameos as well, the first is that Charlie Cox appears as Peter Parker’s lawyer Matt Murdock, otherwise known as Daredevil, signalling the debut of the Netflix side of the MCU officially; although I’d already seen Kingpin in Hawkeye by this point it was still great to see! The other is Venom from Sony’s Venom films, though he / Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) just make a few jokes about the differences between the Sony Spider-Verse and the MCU before vanishing back to their own Universe, though they leave some Venom goo behind as a fun thing to potentially return to later in the MCU wants…

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