Marvel’s last offering in the year 2021 featured everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero, and it might just be their greatest offering yet.
The film, directed by Jon Watts, stars British actor Tom Holland reprising his role as Peter Parker, an anxious high schooler who inadvertently receives all the abilities of a spider and uses them to help both his loved ones and the people of New York City. The film also features appearances from several villains from Spider-Men past, including Willem Dafoe reprising his role as Norman Osborn AKA the Green Goblin, Alfred Molina reprising his role as Otto Octavius AKA Doctor Octopus, Thomas Haden Church reprising his role as Flint Marko AKA Sandman, Rhys Ifans reprising his role as Curt Conners AKA The Lizard, and Jamie Foxx reprising his role as Max Dillon AKA Electro. Additionally, the film features Benedict Cumberbatch returning to the role of Stephen Strange, a powerful sorcerer who aids Peter Parker in making everyone forget that he is actually Spider-Man.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” follows the storytelling trope employed by much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe content: the existence of a multiverse. The villains that appear from the previous Spider-Man franchises are pulled into the MCU by Doctor Strange’s spell that was supposed to make everyone in all universes forget that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are one and the same. However, Peter messes up the spell and causes everyone who knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man in the other universes to begin appearing in the MCU.
The concept of the multiverse is a tricky thing for a film to do properly. It’s a common theme in comic books because of their serial nature that can be easily shored up in an issue. With a movie, this trope is a little weaker and especially in the MCU. Audiences now expect overarching storylines between movies and the way “No Way Home” uses the multiverse doesn’t lend itself well to this style of cinematic storyline.
The acting in the movie is spectacular and this ends up carrying the weaker parts of the script. Some of the scenes in the movie feel slow because the dialogue often feels “jokey” for lack of better words. Lines by Tom Holland’s immediate co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon as MJ Watson and Ned Leeds respectively don’t always gel with the rest of the scene, but I’m certain this is due to direction and writing and not because of their acting. All the acting talent in this movie is incredible and even the smaller roles are well acted.
The film’s greatest asset however is the charm and commitment to telling an engaging story. Even when the plot doesn’t exactly hold together, the story remains interesting in the same way that comic books are interesting. Not many films are able to lean into the storytelling style that is often present in comics and that is something this movie deserves commendation for.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” receives an A rating.