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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ delivers the reality shattering event of a lifetime

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ delivers the reality shattering event of a lifetime

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ delivers the reality shattering event of a lifetime
January 03
15:02 2022

Warning: spoilers ahead!

“With great power, there must also come great responsibility.”

I have never been a fan of including spoilers in my reviews because I don’t want to take away from someone who has yet to see a highly-anticipated movie. I figured the best way to go about this would be to write the review a week after the film’s release, just so everyone who really wants to see the movie has their fair chance to do so. My extremely short, spoiler-free, review is “Spider-Man: No Way Home” stands tall as a celebration of who Spider-Man is. This specific character is loved by so many, and to see passionate fans and casuals alike celebrate this film and the character of Spider-Man is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Everything below includes spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

I will start by saying I have never been a fan of how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has handled Spider-Man. I am not a hardcore fan of the character, but I was an easily influenced child when I first watched the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, as well as a middle schooler with an identity crisis when the Marc Webb Spider-Man duology was released. I have grown up with this character, as have millions, and I can speak for many when I say Peter Parker is so intriguing because of his relatability.

He is just a normal kid when all of a sudden his life changes drastically. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man Far From Home” are both extremely well-made films, but something has always felt missing from them. Tom Holland has given us a beautiful portrayal of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, but a heavy reliance on characters within the MCU really held the first two Holland-Spidey films back. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” addresses every problem from the first two films, while also managing to keep the strong continuity a trilogy needs. Say what you want about any of the previous live-action Spider-Man films, but this one manages to, quite literally, celebrate every single one of them at the same exact time.

This film picks up exactly where the previous one left off. Peter Parker’s identity has been revealed to the world and it has long-lasting effects on his life. His privacy is no longer existent, and his friends and family find themselves caught in the tidal waves of this controversy. Peter’s girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) are in newspaper headlines, resulting in their college applications being denied for their association with Spider-Man.

This is the first part in the film where we truly see Holland’s version of the character separate himself from the past iterations. Not even Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) has the power to get Peter out of this jam, despite him being a really good lawyer. It is so great to finally have Daredevil officially in the MCU. In a half-baked plan to save the future of his friends and his own, he visits our favorite sorcerer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). It is here where Strange and Peter turn the world upside down and tear the multiverse apart. If you are looking for an explanation of what the multiverse is, you came to the worst place possible. I give myself a self-induced panic attack by just thinking of all the implications of a multiverse, and the use of it in this film is no different.

Rather than everyone forgetting Peter is Spider-Man, everyone who knows he is Spider-Man from every single universe is pulled into the MCU. For a good duration of the film, we revisit the past, as villains from past Spider-Man films are pulled into the universe, starting with Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina). Seeing Molina back with his four mechanical arms was something truly special. You can tell he was having the time of his life being back in the role, and he is one of the scene-stealers in this film.  Willem Dafoe also does a perfect job playing the big bad Green Goblin in this film. He takes so much away from Peter and pulls no punches while doing so. Electro (Jamie Foxx), Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) are also pulled into the MCU. They may have felt like placeholders, but their roles in this movie only make the last third a whole lot sweeter.

Peter’s goal is to cure them all and rid them of their evil before sending them back to their respective universes. His determination and drive to genuinely care about every single one of these villains plays a big role in why this movie works so well and why this version of Spider-Man is so great.

I mentioned earlier how Green Goblin takes everything away from Peter, which brings me to one of the many emotional moments of the film. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) loses her life when she gets caught in the middle of an altercation between Green Goblin and Spider-Man. This is where we finally get the “responsibility” line, and the MCU Peter’s origin story feels like it is finally being written. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” kind of skipped over all of the pivotal stuff back in 2017, but a little change like the one in is a great example of one tiny change generating the same impact. Peter is officially at his absolute lowest, but little does he know he is about to get the reinforcements of the century.

Ned and MJ, along with Ned’s Lola, are debating on whether they should pull the plug on this whole operation. Ned is also in possession of Doctor Strange’s sling ring, due to a beautifully executed fight between Doctor Strange and Spider-Man in which math beats magic.

Ned decides to see if he has any magic in him, attempting to open a portal and wishing for Peter Parker to be with them. Once the portal opens up, we do get Peter Parker, but it is Andrew Garfield’s version of the character. For some reason, this part of the movie got a lot of tears out of me, simply because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Garfield gets a whole scene to show us why he is the most talented out of the bunch, and it truly does create one of the best movie moments we have seen in a long time. Ned, down on his luck, really wants to get the magic thing down, so he wishes for Peter Parker to appear one more time, except this time Tobey Maguire’s version of the character walks through the portal. I know it was the worst kept secret in Hollywood, but it was still absolutely insane to see the two of them interact. What was even more insane was to see all three of them interact.

We get lots of emotional dialogue about how each version of Peter has encountered loss, and both Garfield and Maguire’s versions of Spider-Man give Holland’s version advice on how to stop the problem at hand. We get an enjoyable lab scene where all the Peters are creating solutions together, and it was at this moment when I realized this movie falls into a really special category. Yes, there are some pretty obvious problems with the plot, like how all the multiverse stuff makes perfect sense and no sense at the same time, but this film is a huge event. “Avengers: Endgame” also has a similar feeling to this, because instead of one story being told over the course of two hours, we are watching decades of storytelling playout right in front of us. It is hard to give this film a numbered rating because it really does feel like one big exciting ride.

We are in the last stretch of the movie, and all our Spideys are suited up and ready to go. The villains arrive and we get some of the coolest superhero content we have ever seen on the big screen. Watching three phases of my childhood swing around at the same time was extremely entertaining, and the one particular shot of all of them posing at the same time will be engraved in my brain forever. This is a superhero film, however, so you can assume our heroes are going to come out on top. Except everything starts to fall apart.

Holland’s Spidey is filled with rage, and almost takes the life of the Green Goblin, right before Maguire’s Spider-Man jumps in and reminds him what Aunt May would want if she was still there. All our villains get cured, but it appears to be too late. The only way for everything to go back to normal is for every single person to forget Peter Parker as a person. Doctor Stranger is reluctant at first but gives in due to the soft spot he has for Peter. Everyone, including MJ and Ned, forget who Peter is, and the sequence of Peter saying goodbye to the two most important people of his life is absolutely soul-crushing.

The film ends with Peter going to see MJ and Ned, neither of them knowing who he is. Peter wants to try and pull those memories from their brains, but he notices how at peace they are. Them not knowing he is Spider-Man keeps them out of harm’s way, and he would rather them be safe. Our last little montage is of Peter going out for a swing through New York with his new suit, which is honestly the coolest looking live-action suit I have ever seen. It is a beautiful end to a beautiful trilogy, and I couldn’t help but love every second of this overstuffed film.

In no way would this film make it out without some problems, but overlooking those problems because of all the nostalgia is pretty easy to do. Call me weak, but they had me in the palm of their hand for the entire runtime, and I don’t even feel remotely bad because of it. Movies like this really are like roller coasters. From aspects like visual effects and emotional highpoints, this film delivers more than a grand majority of superhero films, and everyone involved knew exactly what they were doing. It was great to see Holland get a great end to his great trilogy, and it was great to see Garfield and Maguire get closure from their not-so-great send-offs. I was emotionally invested from beginning to end, and I am so glad I was able to experience this with so many passionate fans. I don’t think we will ever get anything like this ever again, and I am okay with it. Spider-Man is so cool, and it doesn’t take three iterations being on the screen at once to show us how cool he can be.

Jaden’s final rating: 5/5

Image source Sony Pictures

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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