Tuesday Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

films, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Spoilers man. You can’t get away from them these days. I’m not just talking about idiots on social media either. I’m talking news outlets. Or at least websites that like to think they’re news outlets. The new Spider-Man film has been out less than a month and one of the biggest plot points has become common knowledge thanks to countless articles. I know it’s not as if we hadn’t already figured it out but it still seems unsportsmanly for there to be quite so many articles about it. Not everyone can get to the cinema within the first few weeks of a film and they should get to experience the joy firsthand.

After all, that’s what Spider-Man: No Way Home should be seen as. It’s a joy to watch and is a bit of a love letter to the character. Like the Dr Who 50th anniversary special, this film celebrates Peter Parker’s time cinematic history. We get to see a host of old villains returning to get the recognition they deserve. Let’s face it, now that Tom Holland has taken over as the web-slinger, it seems as though the previous films are being even more overlooked. Holland is great but it’s always good to remember where we’ve come from.

And to remember a time when supervillains were actually memorable. Whatever you think about the MCU, you have to admit that they have a bit of a villain problem. They tend to be one-dimensional and forgettable. Even your precious Loki gets limited character development as a villain. The old Spider-Man films cared about their bad guys. Willem Dafoe and Aldred Molina remain two of the greatest in comic book movie history. So getting the chance to see them again was always going to be exciting.

I guess, if I’m being brutally honest, the storyline isn’t that exciting but I can live with it. There are a lot of funny moments and some emotional ones. The best moments of this film are the ones centred around these characters. I could have coped with a whole film just watching these guys hang out. Seeing the Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Electro just banter away about trying to kill Peter Paker. I loved it. It’s a film full of snarky and sassy dialogue. These are the moments of pure joy. The problem with this film, as it has been with the previous Holland films, is the action sequences. They’re impressive enough but a bit crowded.

There are just too many characters and nobody quite knows how to deal with them. There’s a reason why the most impressive action sequence is early on between two characters. After that, the fight scenes just get a bit messier and less exhilarating. This is why we’re so lucky that the rest of the film stands up so well. As good as the funny bits are, it is the film’s emotional centre that keeps this whole thing grounded. There are real consequences here and the film isn’t afraid to show its heart. Tom Holland has always been good at portraying Peter’s vulnerable side and he pulls it off again.

I admit that after Shang Chi managed to do something that seemed different and fresh, the third Spider-Man film does feel like a slight step back in some ways. There’s the same big Hollywood destruction and the final battle feels all too familiar. However, it is also doing something incredible. I’m still a little worried about what the inclusion of the multi-verse means for the MCU as a whole but Spider-Man: No Way Home introduces it in a very clever and fun way. It pulls off something tricky and it does whilst reminding us why this character is so beloved by film and comic book fans alike. A great achievement.

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