Movie Marathon Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Synopsis: Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) world is turned completely upside down after having his secret identity revealed at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Merely associating with Peter is having a negative effect on his loved ones; impacting their ability to work, go to school, get into college, and just live ordinary lives. Desperate to make things better, Peter turns to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in hopes of using magic to make everyone forget that he is Spider-Man. After the spell goes wrong, people who know Peter and Spider-Man are the same person start getting pulled into Peter’s world from parallel universes, threatening the fabric of the multiverse. Peter must find a way to send them back home while trying to return to the life he had before everyone knew his secret.

Breakdown: In 2008, I left theaters after seeing Iron Man, thinking “they did it.” Marvel had successfully taken a then d-list superhero, paired him with a primed-for-a-comeback actor and made a bona fide hit. I didn’t know how they would be able to top that ever again.

In 2012, I left theaters after seeing The Avengers, thinking “they did it.” Marvel took characters from four separate films, brought them together, and made an incredible interconnected world come to life like no one had ever done before. I didn’t know how they would be able to top that ever again.

It started happening more frequently after that: Marvel’s expansion into space with the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy; their landmark deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War; the groundbreaking success of Black Panther; the heartbreaking cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War; the completely bonkers Portals scene in Avengers: Endgame; their various efforts on television, including the excellent Daredevil and Jessica Jones series on Netflix; their fully realized interconnected TV and film worlds with the introduction of Disney Plus shows; and their brief break up and swift rekindling with Sony, allowing Spider-Man to stay in the MCU for years to come, to just name a few.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the latest in the long, long line of “oh my goodness I can’t believe they pulled it off”, but it also might be at the very top of that list. This movie is just a phenomenal movie all the way around. In lesser hands, it would completely crumble under the weight of the story it was trying to tell, but it absolutely delivers. Without getting into spoilers, this movie had to successfully:

  • continue the ongoing storyline of the MCU, including the expansion of the multiverse and setting up the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
  • conclude the current trilogy of Spider-Man films in a way that was both true to the character and emotionally satisfying to viewers.
  • act as a celebration, continuation, and culmination of the illustrious history of Spider-Man on film, both pre-and-post MCU.
  • pave the way to allow Tom Holland to either continue his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MCU, leave the role behind, or continue the role in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.

The fact that they pulled all of this off is honestly unbelievable, but it shouldn’t be at this point. Twenty-seven movies in, and Marvel is still delivering on that initial promise from 2008. Absolutely incredible.

It is difficult to write a review for this movie without diving into spoiler territory, so I will do my best. Everyone is given something to do in this movie as each character is stretched and challenged in ways they previously have not been in prior films. And stuffed as the movie is, there is still time dedicated to explore Peter being a kid with his friends–dreaming of college and what life could be like once they graduate high school. These moments are nice reminders of the humanity behind the super heroics.

Newcomers to the franchise, who really aren’t newcomers at all, are really given an opportunity to take what worked well for those characters in previous entries, and fix what didn’t. Particularly Willem Dafoe’s Norman Osborne and Jamie Foxx’s Max Dillon. Both characters are given a little more depth and have the opportunity to get rid of some of the cheese that came with superhero movies of over a decade ago.

Verdict: This is a movie that should be celebrated for everything it was able to accomplish. A gargantuan effort that clearly required the best work from every single department, the movie exceeds the impossible expectations placed upon it. Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon deliver some of the best performances of their career to date, and leave me wanting to see so many more movies with them in the future. However, the movie ends on an unexpectedly dark and tragic note, and leaves the future of Tom Holland as the MCU’s Spider-Man in question. My sincere hope is that there will be many more adventures to come, but if this truly is the last time we see this group of characters and actors in these roles, I couldn’t think of a more perfect sendoff.

**This movie review is part of a series of reviews, where we are watching one Spider-Man movie a week leading up to the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home. You can read more about this review series here.

To see the other reviews, click the links below (we’ll update this list each week as we release new reviews):

Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward SwordSuper Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.

Featured image source: Screen Rant

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