Is Easily One of the Webslinger’s Best Adventures
Fan service in a film can go one of two ways really. It can either be ruined and hammering home the fact that it’s fan service and feels like it’s being shoved down our throats, which we’ve seen on more than one occasion, or it can be done naturally and feel like it’s lending us hearty nostalgia while also telling a fun story in its own right. Fortunately for us, Spider-Man: No Way Home serves as the latter, and possibly the Webslinger’s best film since Spider-Man 2 (if you’ll forgive the slight ignorance to Into the Spiderverse, mind you).
Tom Holland once again returns to portray the hero, as he finds himself in a predicament that unfolded from the last film, Far From Home. The world now knows who he is, and, worse yet, it seems to endanger those that he cares about. That leaves him with an interesting solution – turning to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, game as always) to produce a spell that would make everyone forget. Unfortunately, some complications arise from the said spell, leading to the introduction of a “multiverse” that brings a number of familiar faces back.
Among them are several villains from the previous Spider-Man films, most notably Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina, looking almost flawless with CG tech) and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe, delightful as always). There are others, like Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) who look to do some damage as well.
The story could’ve easily “zigged” here with the revenge ploy, but it takes some interesting turns as the multiverse unfolds in Spidey’s world. We actually learn more about the character, as well as those around him that try to help him out. Along the way, we’re treated to many awesome moments, none of which, thankfully, we’ll spoil here. If you like fan service with purpose, boy oh boy, are you in for a treat. Actually, make that treats. Oh, and stick around through the post-credits for some surprises as well.
Director Jon Watts continues to handle the Spider-Man trilogy with utmost energy and charm, with just the right shots to take and the way to move the story forward. The film is a bit long, clocking in around two and a half hours, but it truly makes the time count, particularly in a rousing finale in a modified Statue of Liberty setting, complete with a giant Captain America shield. Furthermore, the script, once again by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, clicks in just about every fashion, save for some awkwardness between Strange and Spidey, though that does set the stage for a fun showdown midway through the film.
The performances are top-notch. Again, Cumberbatch and Holland have fun with their roles, and Zendaya and Jacob Batalon make great second fiddles to the Webslinger. Out of the villains, each one has something special to offer; although Molina, Dafoe, and Foxx steal the show, as only they can. I’d talk about who else shows up, but, nah. You’ll love it. Also, be on the lookout for a quick pop-in by Benedict Wong. He shows up in all of these now, doesn’t he? Heh.
No Way Home does action perfectly. The opening battle between Doc Ock and Spidey is a tour-de-force, involving all sorts of cars and chaos. They just keep getting wilder, culminating in the film’s finale. Again, I won’t spoil, but maybe hold off on that bathroom break till it’s all over.
Even with a large running time, Spider-Man: No Way Home never wears down its welcome. The performances are top-notch, the writing and directing are on point, and the mixture of heartbreak and hearty laughs just can’t be beaten (and works surprisingly well). It fits nicely into the MCU mold, with surprises to spare, and its fan service is not just done right, but damn right. More franchises could learn from this example. Go see it. (Oh, and don’t spoil yourself. Trust me.)
VIBE Rating: 9/10