Directed by Jon Watts
Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Willem Dafoe
This is going to be the most challenging film for anyone that reviews films for fun and or a living. After all how does one go about reviewing possibly the biggest film in arguably the most popular franchise of all time; without spoiling anything major? Walking on a tight rope, one has to navigate carefully especially after tonight’s premiere to explain their thoughts on this film. What can be said about it though, is that this film is a truly epic entry into a franchise that has delivered countless epic tales past. The scale of the story is massive, and the growth and arch that this story takes our beloved Peter Parker too, is just as massive.
With Spider-Man's identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
The common cry amongst Spidey fans with the Holland version was the lack of obstacles and depth that the character had. We’re introduced to him already with his powers, and he quickly becomes a mainstay within the Avengers. Thus we only ever get the goofy fun loving side of Peter, the one that yes has had hardships, but for the most part we’ve seen walk the line of established superhero with pride. Finally in this one, does the film give us that rewarding growth. Peter’s identity has been exposed, he is drowning in the guilt that is the secondary consequence of the reveal- his friends, family, and loved ones are all feeling the consequences of knowing Peter. Not only this, but Peter is introduced to a wide array of villains that are far crueler than those he has seen before. The film tests his willpower, and exposes him to all the hardships that the audience loved about Spideys prior. He has officially been exposed to a greater extent; to the loss and struggles that comes with being the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man. Peter’s inner struggles with putting his friends at risk, and doing right by everyone- including those that seem to be foes, weighs on Holland as the character heavily.
The villains each have their moment in the sun, especially Willem Dafoe. Who once again proves just how incredible he is as an actor, and as the Goblin. He’s this ball of emotions, where no one, not even the viewer knows what version of Norman Osborne we are about to receive. The hair on the back of the viewers arms at an all time high, as they know even when Norman seems perfectly normal that their is a sadistic mastermind behind those eyes- just waiting to lunge out and cause misery. While, Foxx gets the justice he deserved after the absolute ridiculous character he was dealt within The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he comes off far cooler and more confident which increased the character stock tremendously. There’s a genuine fear of how powerful Electro is throughout, and his presence is just as felt as Dafoes. The rest of the villains all have moments to shine, and are given solid logic for their individual thought processes and goals in this film. None of them truly give the viewer side eye as to the reasons behind their actions.
The script is incredible, we can naturally switch from a comical moment to a serious one in a swift second. The Multiverse is explained so well, that even casual fans of the franchise will understand the weight it has on the universe ahead- and therefore no one will be left behind confused at the direction that Marvel is heading. This is a love letter for the character, and everything in it feels like it’s done out of respect and honour for everyone within the Spider-Man universes that we have recieved over the years. The MJ and Peter love story takes a massive swing forward, and we’re given those moments that the audience thrived with Dunst’s MJ and Stone‘s Gwen with the Zendaya character. The decisions that Peter makes greatly affect her life, and they’re both aware of it- yet their love comes off so strong and so true; that they’re willing to risk it to the near limits for the chance to be together.
Michael Giacchino’s score is brilliant, the fight scenes look phenomenal, and the CGI does not come off as too heavy handed. Rather they all work in really bringing everything together to truly tell just how grand the story they’re aiming for is. Nothing within Spider-Man: No Way Home comes off as less than grand, and nothing in it feels less than perfect. This is the salute that this character; and this franchise deserved. This is the perfect end note for the year of 2021, and after all we have been through- this is the film that audiences across the globe not only need, but deserve.