Saturday, May 18, 2024

Movie Review: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Is The Best MCU Film Yet


Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch
Synopsis: 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.

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We all know the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” These are the words that every spidey fan has held dear for decades. It is a quote that is so transparent and infectious, that it’s utilized in our everyday lives. Its meaning is straightforward. If you obtain the opportunity to create change, you should do so in the service of others. This is the moral code of a wise man who shaped the beginnings of the world’s most popular superhero, Spider-Man. We have seen numerous adaptations of the nerdy underdog throughout the past 19 years on the silver screen and each actor has brought something original to the character. We all have our favorite variant of Spider-Man whether it’s by screen or by page. Spider-Man is an ordinary person who sticks up for the little guy and keeps his ear close to the ground. The beauty of Spider-Man is that it could be anyone behind the mask. And with Spider-Man: No Way Home being the third installment of Peter Parker’s journey within the marvel cinematic universe, I believe that it is a film that exemplifies what it means to be a hero.

Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up exactly where the previous installment left off. Peter Parker’s secret identity has been revealed to the world. Thanks to the cunning deception of Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, this creates a stirring string of events that leaves Peter in a desperate situation to visit Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) From the start, the film hits the ground running but doesn’t outpace itself by ruining the focus of what it’s trying to convey to the audience. The first act does a phenomenal job of setting up new story threads for Peter (Tom Holland), MJ (Zendaya), and Ned (Jacob Batalon). We have spent an lengthy amount of time with these characters to the point where I view them as Luke, Han, and Leia of the current installment of Spider-Man films. Their friendship is reminiscent of Sams Raimi’s trio of characters (Peter Parker, Mary Jane, and Harry Osborn). They have amazing chemistry and are always there for each other when the going gets tough. You are able to see the fondness that Peter and MJ have for each other. This is a relationship that has been building since Spider-Man Far From Home. Their relationship feels like that of Andrew Garfield’s and Emma Stone’s from The Amazing Spider-Man films. It’s young love but they have a deeper understanding of what the other person is going through. When Peter’s identity is broadcasted to the world, MJ (Zendaya) doesn’t abandon Peter. She knows the sacrifices he has made to his city and is willing to stand by his side. We get to see how Peter’s identity being revealed affects the people that are closest to him and how it determines their future. 

This film is precisely what I wanted from a Spider-Man movie. It’s daring, emotional, and hits all of the heroic marks you could ever need from a comic book film. What makes this story so great is that it’s a Peter Parker story as much as it is a story about Spider-Man. Kevin Feige and Jon Watts have understood the assignment since day one. Bringing a new adaptation of the web-slinger to the silver screen is not an easy task. Not only does it require a first-rate actor to fit the role, but it also takes a powerful team of writers to create a well-knit Spider-Man story. The script felt like something out of a dream. It shows that writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have a sentimental attachment to Spider-Man and they knew what kind of story they wanted to tell. The dialogue felt snappy, organic, and authentic between each character interaction. Much like the Sam Raimi films, I think that this will be one of the most quotable Spidey movies to date. 

Now it’s time to address the elephants in the room. This film has been built up since at least the beginning of the year. Numerous theories have been floating around the web, and frankly, it’s difficult to keep up with all of them for even a devoted spidey fan. If you would have told me in 2014 that the majority of Spider-Man’s villains were going to make an appearance in a new film I would have slapped them silly. When Spider-Man 3 was released in 2007, it was assumed that the film’s biggest problem was that there were too many villains to keep track of with obstacles such as Venom, Sandman, and The Hobgoblin respectively. At the time, it was deemed the worst Spider-Man film yet. Now we have witnessed films having the ability to juggle multiple characters such as Captain America: Civil War, Avengers Infinity War, and Eternals. I realized that the film’s problem is not that it was riddled with too many villains. It was the fact that those characters weren’t fleshed out in a way to give those characters a proper background or attachment to Spider-Man.

The way this film handles the introduction of each villain is executed perfectly and feels natural to the story’s progression. I was impressed that both Marvel and Sony were able to round up such an amazing cast of iconic villains from previous Spider-Man entries. The fact that Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe, and Rhys Ifans all make an appearance in the film shows how much each of these actors cherished portraying their respective roles. Seeing all of them interact with one another makes this film feel like a celebration of the past 19 years of Spider-Man’s life on the silver screen. These aren’t just cameo appearances, their time on screen isn’t wasted with random shots and little to no dialogue. They feel like real people who have a personal against Spider-Man. If I had to pick one performance that stood out to me it would be Willem Dafoe’s. He performs his own action scenes and stunts which is admirable and shows how dedicated he was to return to the role. The way he is still able to play both Norman Osborn and his wicked persona of the Green Goblin is a sight to see. He fell back into the role with such ease. His deceitful nature plays a big role in the film much like his performance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. You can’t help but feel sympathy for him throughout the film, however you never know when the Green Goblin will rears its ugly head.

Spider-Man: No Way Home takes the audience on an emotion filled adventure full of action-packed, jaw-dropping moments that fans will be talking about for years to come. This is Tom Holland’s best performance yet. The stakes are more urgent and permanent than any Marvel movie that has come before. Not only is this the best Spider-Man movie, but this is also without a doubt, the best MCU movie to date. It is living proof that Tom Holland is the best version of Spider-Man we’ll ever have. Spider-Man: No Way Home is the embodiment of Uncle Ben’s wise words, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Grade: A+

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