Awesome cameos aside, Spider-Man: No Way Home is arguably, also Marvel’s best ensemble movie since 2019’s Endgame.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
No thanks to Mysterio’s exposé at the end of Far From Home, Peter’s life is turned upside down, with many Americans convinced that he is no hero but instead a menace. Worse, even MJ and Ned are affected; their university applications are rejected simply because they are friends with Peter. Stricken by guilt, Peter reaches out to Dr. Strange, who agrees to cast a spell to wipe clean everyone’s knowledge of Spider-Man’s real identity. Peter’s indecision during the ritual then causes the powerful spell to go haywire. The Sorcerer Supreme is mostly able to contain the resulting damage. That is, with the exception of the colourful characters that slipped through the cracks of multiverse reality.
Would you believe it when I say this? No Way Home wasn’t one of the movies that I was excited about this year. In fact, I didn’t watch the final trailer till days after its release.
Yup. While I’ve religiously watched all the animated Spider-Man series since young, right up to my tertiary days, I’ve never been a huge fan of the web-slinger. To me, Peter Parker is like … a neighbour’s easy-going son? Fun and enjoyable to be around, but hardly on the same level, or feel, as other MCU or DC superheroes.
Which, in turn, led to me enjoying the Raimi and Webb Spider-Man movies but never really considering any of them as genre favourites. (Same goes for respective performances) The inexplicable thing is then that when I saw representative cameos from those films on screen yesterday, I didn’t just sit up straight, I almost squealed.
Yes, I almost squealed.
After which I realised just how much these older Spidey movies have worked their way into me, whatever their individual shortcomings. As well as how “smart” Marvel is by drawing from these shows and putting together a new type of ensemble movie.
An alternate formula that, by the way, fleshes out Marvel’s concept of the multiverse. This, now, a core of the current Marvel phase.
Outside of these, there are several other winning elements in No Way Home. Not going to toe into those discussions of who’s the best Spider-Man to date. I’ll just say Tom Holland imbues his version with a rich, multi-faceted personality. For the moment, his Peter Parker is one of the most complex and well-developed heroes in the MCU.
The villains from the older movies likewise throw in their best, mostly. Jamie Foxx is rather under the weather and Rhys Ifans is, peculiarly, sidelined. But Willem Dafoe absolutely steals the show with his raw insanity. Is there any chance we will see more of his Green Goblin in future MCU movies???
And then there are … those two. I’m obliged to avoid spoilers, even though it’s no longer meaningful, so I’d just say the following.
Both are clearly having fun. Both, so effortlessly, showcase the differences between their Spideys and Tom Holland’s version too.
Some of their moments are a shade too draggy, too fan-pleasing. But seriously, does that even matter?
Just the sight of them standing side by side, discussing who shoots what from where, is enough to make any fan’s day.
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