Film review: Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), directed by Jon Watts
tl;dr: What’s more fun than one Spider-Man? THREE Spider-Men!
Spider-Man, having been outed as Peter Parker (Tom Holland), is having a bit of a PR crisis from the end of the previous Spider-Man film. His infamy means it’s not just him struggling to get into MIT, but also his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), because of their known association with him. Peter, being the reckless teenager that he is, decides it would be good if everyone simply forgot he was Spider-Man. Who can achieve such a feat? Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his magic, of course!
Things rarely go exactly to plan, however, and while Peter Parker is trying to talk an MIT representative (Paula Newsome) into giving his friends another shot, he gets attacked. By Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) and Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), who are very confused to find a complete stranger in the Spider-Man costume.
Long story short, the Multiverse is a thing, and Dr Octavius and Norman Osborn didn’t come alone. They also brought along Flint “Sandman” Marko (Thomas Haden Church), and two other villains who are looking for yet another Peter Parker: Max “Electro” Dillon (Jamie Foxx) and Dr Curt “The Lizard” Connors (Rhys Ifans). But if they can show up, so can their respective Peter Parkers (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield). Cue all the villains and all the Spider-Men from the two previous iterations and let’s see if you still remember to eat your popcorn!
At the time of writing, Spider-Man: No Way Home has reached #129 on IMDb’s Top 250. I get it, it’s a lot of fun. It’s great to see a bunch of familiar faces, and also cool to get a crossover so the old Sony Spider-Men get to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We even get a brief appearance from Daredevil‘s Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox)! Of course, because there is Doctor Strange, Wong (Benedict Wong) makes an appearance, and it wouldn’t be Holland’s Spider-Man without his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). We couldn’t quite remember if there ever was an Uncle Ben in this version, but it doesn’t matter – The Line still gets said. I also don’t remember if J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) used to be an Alex Jones type Angry Right-wing Media Man or if that’s a more recent development.
This is really a film you need to have seen the three Maguire and two Garfield Spider-Man films to be able to fully appreciate (and, obviously, the previous two Holland films). If you haven’t, who the characters are is still explained, but you won’t understand it in the same way. They’re all Peter Parker, they all have their own best friends and girlfriends and Aunt Mays and all that, but it doesn’t get confusing. Well, at least not if you’ve seen all the previous films.
It’s a great film, in a sense that it’s enjoyable and fun, but perhaps it isn’t quite one of the best films ever made. But it doesn’t have to be either. Marvel know what they’re doing when it comes to films, I’ve been partial to them since Mr T and I first saw Iron Man on our honeymoon. They keep delivering quippy CGI spectacles, because sometimes all we want is just to be entertained by superheroes and supervillains for a couple of hours.
5 out of 5 Statues of Liberty.