Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll state up front that you won’t get any spoilers from me when it comes to Spider-Man: No Way Home. What I will say is that depending on when this review goes live, most viewers will either know everything they need and/or want to know, or they’ll be carefully avoiding spoilers from all forms of social media and message boards. Getting into the debate over who inhibited the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is not something I will get in to. It’s the same with the various actors who’ve played James Bond. I’d say that all have their pros and cons. Tom Holland is in fact growing on me and is at least the closest we have in age to Peter Parker being a teenager.
After the big reveal at the end of Far from Home, where we learned that Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) revealed Spider-man’s true identity to the world, this film picks up moments after that. We find Peter Parker and his closest family and friends being constantly harassed by people and by the press. Many believed he killed a hero, but he explains that the droids killed Mysterio. He and his girlfriend, MJ (Zendaya) and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) are all planning to attend the same college, but find it harder than it should be since the news broke of Peter being Spider-Man. The specifics are easier seen than explained, but I appreciated that the film deals with the consequences rather than run from them. Before Long, Peter decides to visit Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to try and cast a spell that would essentially erase everyone’s knowledge that he is Spider-man. Sounds like a basic request, but as he is casting his spell, Peter continually alters things by making requests that MJ, his Aunt May, and others still know. We can’t blame Peter wanting their memories with him to remain, but this creates some problems. Many may know by at least viewing the trailers that this opens portals which is called the “Multiverse”, to which Strange even admits that they know little about. You won’t get too much out of me, but villains from the past Spider-Man films come out to play, so to speak.
In his third solo outing, Tom Holland does give his best performance here. That’s a good thing, too as this is the film that asks the most out of him. Clearly, the actor is used to the physical stuff, but on an emotional level, much is asked and he more than rises to the occasion. At over 2 hours, the film zip by for the most part. The pacing could use a little boost in the first half hour, but once the story kicks into high gear, it keeps us with it. It is also a film that will need some digesting and even second viewings, I think, to offer a clearer analysis. For all the glowing reviews, the excitement of what the film throws at us can largely be attributed to that. Indeed, it is very exciting what the film has to offer, and the fact that it isn’t a complete disaster is even more rewarding. This very much is like a love letter to the countless fans out there. I won’t say it is my favorite Spider-Man film, but I think it is the most rewarding, especially on an emotional level. Thankfully Marvel tones down the humor for this outing. Oh, there are jokes, but they don’t keep throwing them at us like before. The film has faith in the audience to have emotional scenes without undermining them with humor. I appreciated that. What might be its one downfall is the lack of a true villain in the traditional sense. Oh, we do get them here, but it’s just different this time around. The stakes here are more on a personal level for Peter as he becomes attached to these people on a personal level. Dr. Strange insists that it’s their fate, but Peter can’t accept that.
Just where the film is going would also be heading into spoiler territory and that’s not why I’m here. What I will say is that things get very emotional and it commendable for a big blockbuster film like this to take the chances it does. It may even draw some tears from a few audience members. I can truly say I can’t wait to see what comes next. As always, be sure to stick around for two bonus scenes after the credits.
Video: How does it look?
OK, I think we all know what’s coming…Spider-Man: No Way Home is a Marvel movie. Marvel movies, by and large, all look good. Therefore Spider-Man: No Way Home will look good. See? Logic. Kidding aside, would we really be surprised if this looked anything less than stellar? The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image fills the screen with so many things, CGI and “live action” it’s impossible to keep track of what’s really happening. But it’s also not important to do that. The detail is so amazingly sharp I’m in awe of how good these films can look. The Dolby Vision gives us more color depth, contrast is solid and so on. Look, let’s face it, I could go on and on but we all know what to expect and this one delivers – as expected. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Audio: How does it sound?
When reading the Spider-Man comics, I’d always see the word “thwipp” when Spider-Man would use his webs to navigate around New York City. That’s an odd reference, but I’m pretty sure that I heard more than one “thwipp” when watching this movie. And you know what – it sounded just like I thought it would. Isn’t that amazing?! Again, like the video, we know what we’re getting into with this Dolby Atmos mix. All channels are working overtime for your auditory enjoyment. LFE are heavily involved, there’s a front and rear spacial spread that kept my head turning multiple times throughout the movie. Vocals are, as expected, rich and crisp. This delivers, as expected.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Action Choreography Across the Multiverse – Jon Watts, Tom Holland and the Stunt Team reveal the exciting approach to action sequences.
- Bloopers & Gag Reel – All fo the outtakes and bloopers from on-set are shared with us.
- A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland – Tom Holland talks about his journey as an actor and as Spider-Man through his trilogy of beloved films.
- Graduation Day – The supporting high school cast (Jacob, Zendaya, Tony, etc.) share their on-set experiences as their time in the Spider-films come to an end.
- Realities Collide, Spiders Unite – From story to casting and into the physicality of the Spider-Men, the filmmakers and cast reveal their process for reuniting the spiders.
- Enter Strange – Strange and Spidey have shared the pages of Marvel comics and now that tradition is explored from behind the scenes with the cast and crew.
- A Multiverse of Miscreants – The filmmakers and villainous characters reveal how they brought their characters into the MCU.
- Weaving Jon Watts’ Web – Director Jon Watts shares his thoughts on creating a trilogy of films that ends with the biggest and best film yet.
- Alternate Reality Easter Eggs – Think you can spot all the references hidden in this movie? Think again. But if curiosity is killing you, they’ve laid them out in this five minute segment.
- A Meeting of the Spiders – Heroes Panel – The heroic spiders sit down for a roundtable discussion on Peter, stunts and skintight suits.
- The Sinister Summit – Villains Panel – Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx sit down for a roundtable discussion of their sinister characters.
- The Daily Bugle – We get three “news clips” that run for a minute or so each.
- Spider-Menace Strikes Again
- Web of Lies
- Spider Sycophant
- Stunt Scene Pre-Vis – Some rough footage with the final product for two scenes.
- Apartment Fight
- Shield Fight
- Theatrical Marketing Materials – A few more bullet points for the supplement menu, featured are…
- Tom & Jacob Lie Detector
- Tom’s Press Tour
- Georgia Promo
The Bottom Line
Spider-man: No Way Home gets more than enough right to satisfy fans. It truly is a rewarding experience. It offers so much for fans to digest. I am not quite as wild about it as most seem to be, but it is still a very worthy entry in the superhero cannon and leaves an impression. It also builds serious anticipation on just where they go from here. Sony’s 4K is second to none in the technical department and there are enough extras to warrant adding this one to your growing MCU collection.