Thursday 16 December 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home (Movie Review)

The movie event of 2021 is finally here. And while we have had other mega-blockbusters like F9 and No Time to Die during the course of the year, none have been as highly-anticipated as Spider-Man: No Way Home. Positioned as the next huge MCU crossover event after Avengers: Endgame, the film has had fans going crazy over its promise of the eponymous webslinger's greatest adventure yet, not to mention the return of some classic villains from his rogues' gallery. But does the actual film deliver on any of those promises, or has it merely set us up for disappointment?

The film kicks off right after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, with the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man being framed for the attack in London and Mysterio's death, as well as being publicly outed as Peter Parker. The revelation would not only threaten to alter his life, but those of the people he cares about the most. This would lead him to seek the help of the Sorcerer Supreme in a bid to cast a spell that would restore his secret identity. But things do not go according to plan and they instead end up conjuring some old enemies for Spider-Man to contend with.

To say that expectations were high heading into Spider-Man: No Way Home would be putting it mildly. My expectations were through the roof. This was of course following the cliffhanger of a stinger we'd gotten at the end of Far From Home, coupled with all the fan speculation and leaks that foreshadowed the new movie's release. Chances are you are already well-versed with most of those leaks, but for the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won't be discussing any of them in this particular review.

With that out of the way, let me just start by saying that Spider-Man: No Way Home is quite possibly the most brilliant Spider-Man film we have gotten in the MCU thus far. It builds upon everything that came before without losing sight of what makes this particular iteration of Spider-Man so great to begin with, namely the comedy and overall sense of adventure.

When Spider-Man first joined the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, he had immediately won fans over with his fanboyish enthusiasm. Much of that was conveyed in Tom Holland's portrayal of the character, which managed to set itself apart from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's before him. And over the course of the 5 MCU movies he's been in since then, we've watched that character grow and develop. But not until now have we seen this level of depth from the character, marking Tom Holland's most heartfelt performance since his MCU debut.
I was especially surprised by how dark and emotionally resonant the movie got. And that it could do that without losing track of the humor and heart is testament to Jon Watt's deft handling of the material. The director has already proven with the two prior entries that he has an understanding of what sets these Spider-Man movies apart from everything else in the MCU, and it was nice to see him once again step up to the plate, taking everything that worked in his previous films and running with it.

Spider-Man: No Way Home not only manages to deliver on all of its promises, but it also exceeds expectations on nearly every single one. It twists a narrative web that should be considered convoluted under normal circumstances, and somehow keeps it feeling grounded with real heart and emotions despite all the magic and multiversal happenings on display. This is fan service done right and as a Spider-Man fan myself, I was extremely satisfied with just how great the movie turned out.

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