With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Chuck says:

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the most anticipated film of the Covid Era or that there’s a lot riding on it. Numerous articles have appeared proclaiming that its success will determine whether 2021 will be considered a financial bust or boon for the film industry, while two of the three Marvel entries released this year have seriously underperformed. The burden of high expectations also rests upon it as numerous leaks and an oft-viewed trailer have confirmed that villains from the previous “Spider-Man” franchises will be included, thanks to a convenient plot device known as “the multiverse.” Fans are waiting with bated breath to see if that means Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will also appear as well as their versions of the famous wallcrawler.  The mind boggles.

Amidst such hype, it’s often difficult to give the movie in question a fair shake, as the letdown of unmet expectations usually occurs.  However, I’m happy to say that “No Way Home” meets and surpasses the hopes I had for it as it pulls off the impressive feat of serving as a denouement for three Spidey franchises while serving as a reboot for all web-crawling adventures to come.

Picking up right where the previous entry left off, our hero (Tom Holland) has been accused of murdering the faux-villain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and has had his secret identity revealed.  Wanted for murder, this puts a great deal of pressure on the web-slinger as well as his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) who, as associates of Peter Parker, are now constantly hounded by the media.  The same fate befalls Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), who takes to living in Happy Hogan’s (Jon Favreau) apartment to escape the constant scrutiny.

Realizing the lives of the people he loves have been irreparably damaged, Spider-Man askes his Avengers’ compatriot Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that will once again make his identity a secret.  However, as he does so Peter meddles where he shouldn’t, things go horribly wrong and before you know it, villains who have fought the Spider-Men of other dimensions are drawn to this one.  Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church), the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) are spotted traipsing about, creating all sorts of large-scale mayhem, Spider-man and Strange doing their best to contain them.

Stan Lee’s classic moral, “With great power comes great responsibility” has always been at the core of the Spider-man mythos.  It serves as the foundation here as Parker sets out to not only right the many unintentional wrongs he’s committed but takes on the burden of curing the villains who have fallen in his lap. This sort of selflessness has its ripple effects – both good and bad – but it’s what makes the character endure.

As you would expect, the special effects are top-notch and the performances are great fun – especially from the veteran actors tackling the villains. However, it’s Holland who holds the whole thing together, delivering an emotional turn that touches our hearts, tapping into the feelings of enormous pain and hollow triumphs that accompany great sacrifice.

Yes, “No Way Home” delivers the spectacle we want – fanboys will be very pleased – but what makes it one of the great superhero films is its powerful reminder that true heroism is within the grasp of us all but that it comes at a price. Of course, that’s the only thing that makes such deeds worthwhile, making those that commit such acts heroic indeed.

4 Stars


Pam says:

What an absolute surprise this newest super hero film is! Fun, funny, and even poignant at times, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has spun a resilient web we can all enjoy being a part of.  For more thoughts on this film, listen to our most recent podcast here: https://reeltalkwithchuckandpam.podbean.com/e/spider-man-don-t-look-up-and-swan-song-reviews/

3 Stars

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