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Rob Reviews "Spider-Man: No Way Home"


You know that old saying: eighth time is the charm? OK, maybe not that, but when it comes to "Spider-Man: No Way Home," that is where I am going.


Let's run it down ("Spider-Verse" and "Venom" not withstanding): the first Sam Raimi film in 2002 was passable at best with me being more distracted by the costuming (Green Goblin, I'm looking at YOU) and SFX that were still not quite up to par. It is also well-documented on our show that if "Spider-Man 2" was renamed "Peter Loves Mary," I would have been more prepared for what that film actually was.


And "Spider-Man 3"? Do we REALLY need to go into this?


Marc Webb turned things around a bit for me with the "Amazing" films, but they just didn't seem to resonate with the larger audience like I thought they should. "Homecoming" was the best up to that point, but not necessarily one that I use as a go-to superhero movie and "Far From Home" was just a mess to me. However, with "No Way Home," I will simply say:


Best. Spider-Man. Movie. EVER.


With a plotline that CANNOT have specifics given to it without spoilers (go somewhere else for those, kids; we ain't in that business, and even Tom Holland himself is doing better there), I will do my best here. Taking place immediately where "Far From Home" left off, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been revealed as Spider-Man's alter ego and with it comes not only the scrutiny that the high school senior is dealing with but also the collateral damage that has hit both MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon). When Peter remembers that he knows someone he thinks can fix it in Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the question becomes simply what happens when you mess with time, space, and the decisions that come with trying to control your own destiny?


WIth Jon Watts at the helm for all three of the MCU-proper films for Peter and the gang, his sense of connective tissue, linear storytelling, and remembering how to stay true to everything else going on within that connective sphere really benefits this film. Having read that Holland himself was the catalyst for keeping this movie not only moving forward but forcing the negotiations between Sony and Disney to keep the web slinger a part of both is nothing short of invaluable here, and the movie reaps those advantages as well. We all knew going into this that this film would ACTUALLY be the one that is the catalyst for the introduction of the Multiverse, but it is done in a way that is both mesmerizing and engaging. Sitting in a theater with nothing but our friends in the Dallas Press Corps and being a part of a group of adults hooting, hollering, and cheering like a bunch of seven-year-olds should be the indicator of how good this film actually is. "No Way Home" approaching the question of morality, ethics, and playing God in a way that I have not seen before in a superhero film (and perhaps on a larger scale) while Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers' script crafts their characters within the bounds that have already been established in the previous two films. (It helps that they wrote all three of Watts' "Spidey" films as well.) Given everything that Peter, MJ, and Ned have been through, they still seem to maintain their starry-eyed youth of hoping to get accepted by MIT while the entire world around them have labeled them as accomplices, vigilantes, outlaws, and federal criminals and not necessarily in that order.


The other thing that really helps here is that the rest of the supporting cast here is just that; supporting. From Marisa Tomei's Aunt May to Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan and the teachers and classmates at the school, they do their part to keep the plot moving. Make no mistake, though; this is the trio's film. Even Cumberbatch (who is INTEGRAL to the plot) knows how to step aside and let the film's namesake run with the ball, and that makes this film work on a whole different level.


If you are still trying to avoid spoilers, don't even look at the IMdB page for this film, because the cast listing will do that to you as well. There is both a mid-credits and post-credit scene (the latter has already leaked, so be careful of that as well... some people...), so the rule still stands as the meme says: "One does not simply walk out during the credits of a Marvel film". Personally, I have waited a LONG time to say I enjoyed a "Spider-Man" film, and this one is at the top of my "in canon" list. Again, "Spider-Verse" stands outside of that list and IS phenomenal, while "Venom" is not as much, but "No Way Home" is simply... a home run.

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