- Movie Rating -

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

| December 25, 2021

When it comes to mass volley of Spider-Man movies, I confess that I am guilty of being “that guy.”  I have complained that there have been too many Spider-Man movies, too many origin stories, too many reiterations of the same idea all spinning around and around, like The Wheel of Samsara, casting this iconic hero into different variations of rebirth hoping to reach a state of nirvana (or what they call in Hollywood: Profits!).  And yes, they did that.  Three years ago.  It was called Into the Spiderverse and it was so good that it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, plus a butt-load of other awards of equal or lesser value.

That movie cut the hero loose from the tera firma, parted the multi-verse and allowed in other iterations of the hero from noir, anime and a pig.  Possibly the producers of the third Spider-Man movie in the MCU-verse understood that this was an act they had to follow.  The new film Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t as explosively creative as Spiderverse mainly because while it follows the same track, it doesn’t try to be a carbon copy.  In doing so, it bolsters a measure a creativity all its own, pulling in characters from other universes – movie universes – for fan gratification and also to tie up some threads that have been left hanging.

Given that, I’m going to tread lightly.  If you desire to step in cold, read no further.

Unlike many of my fellow critics, I’m not sick of the MCU.  I feel a massive attempt to try new things.  I feel a courage in their efforts that aren’t weighted down by profit margins.  With Spider-Man I feel a weighty problem in having Disney and Sony try to come to terms with this character and all of his periphery.  Spider-Man: No Way Home is about as exciting as fan gratification can get.  There were at least three points in my screening in which the audience gasped, who of which they applauded.  It was worth it and I won’t spoil it.

What you do know if you’ve seen the trailer, is the basic story.  It picks up immediately where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off as Peter’s full identity is revealed to the public and so is the misinformation that he killed Mysterio in cold blood.  He’s been cleared of all charges, but not in the court of public opinion.  What is interesting are the ripple effects.  When Mysterio revealed Peter’s true identity, he not only ruined his life, but greatly affected the lives of those around him, particularly Ned (Jacob Batalon) and M.J. (Zendaya) whose futures are in jeopardy due to the controversy.

The trailer boldly gives away that Peter’s plan is to ask Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to reverse the effects of his revelation and that a mishap pulls in villains from other movie-verses; Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and The Green Goblin (Willem DeFoe) but the good news is that they aren’t just blipped cameos.  They are integral to the plot in a way that no only do we get to know them but a lot of their stories are tied up because their previous adventures left threads hanging. 

Soon, other villians from both Sam Raimi’s movies and from The Amazing Spider-Man are coming into this universe and it makes for a very strange and very effecting dramatic arc.  Both Raimi’s Spider-Man and Marc Webb’s Spider-Man were stunted by bad sequels, leaving a lot to be dealt with, a great deal of drama hanging and some character developments that were not allowed to bloom.  Here, we get some resolution, a sense of closure and a sense of purpose an meaning to the Spider-Man films that didn’t exactly work.

I am going to leave more unsaid.  I feel that anymore will spoil some of the film’s most tasty treats.  I will just say that this is one of the most ingenious movies I’ve seen in a long time, a bridge-gap between studio ownership that is not only fun, but kind of a relief.  This is a good movie.  Yes, it has plot holes and, yes, it has a bolstering of MCU-style comedy that has irritated some of my fellow critics.  But I had a good time.  It was a tying up of a lot of Spider-Movielore and some emotional highpoints (there were sobs at my screening).  It is said that this is Holland’s last ride (I get that) and I might hope that given this kind of open creativity, there might be more swinging through the multi-verse.  I can’t wait to see what they have next.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2021) View IMDB Filed in: Action