The world has been anticipating Spider-Man: No Way Home since Far From Home’s ending ousted Spider-Man’s secret identity to the world back in 2019. Us, true nerds, know that a similar story played out in the comics leading up to the controversial One More Day storyline, where Mary Jane made a deal with Mephisto — a dissolution of Pete and MJ’s relationship for Peter’s secret identity after so many string theories and assumptions we get answers…
No Way Home picks up right where we left off with ol’ Web-Head (Tom Holland) getting his cover blown by J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Team Webs, Ned and MJ, (Jacob Batalon and Zendaya) have to scramble to fix Spider-Man’s public image as a murderer, while taking SATs to determine their collegiate fate. Yeah, they are still high schoolers with real high school kid problems.
The dynamic between Holland, Zendaya and Batalon are on full display here as the trio formulate a way to clear Spider-Man’s name. It’s one of the pleasures of the film watching them interact with one another, playing off their strengths and even as they sink to their lowest the emotions seep off the screen. The film has a lot of heart as the trio are the main focus, in addition to the sweet fan service and fantastic action scenes.
Meanwhile, the judicial system shows Spidey that they don’t play and starts racking up the charges; what’s a kid with little money do when he’s facing steep sentencing? Oh, turn to an ambulance chaser– I mean, affordable lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox). His screen time is miniscule but I swear he gets one of the loudest pops in the movie theater.
When the strong arm of the law fails the teenagers and Peter is all out of options he turns to smug, man-witch, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to hex all the problems away. Causing even more problems, Peter inadvertently messes with the spell so much that it allows passage to Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Green Goblin, and Lizard (Molina, Church, Foxx, Dafoe and Ifans) all looking to settle a score.
Team Webs accidentally summon Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Spider-Men to help even the odds against the dastardly villains. Just like Into the Spider-Verse each Spider-Man comes with their own personality and baggage. Maguire’s that of the veteran “I’m-getting-too-old-for-this-shit” Spidey and Garfield is the darker and tormented Spidey as he has to live with accidentally killing the love of his life. Garfield wins the arguable MVP status as you have no choice but to feel the anguish from his loss. But it is an absolute treat to watch the Peters congregate and get to know one another.
Even more surreal is watching a live Sinister Six on the big screen commingle and come together as they have hundreds of times in the comic books. The interactions with one another and the Spider-Men are a joy to behold as they verge on hilarity, tension and sometimes ruthlessness. Speaking of which, kudos to a 66-year old Willem Dafoe for doing all his own stunts, as he puts on one of the best action scenes in the film and a bone-crushing beatdown on Holland.
Being hyped as Spider-Man’s “Endgame” it certainly plays with the finality of Peter Parker’s waning high school years and into adulthood. It’s a small story that plays with big ideas and an emotional gut punch that leaves even the strongest of them reeling. If this is indeed to be Holland’s final Spider-Man flick it makes for a swan-song and may be the best, not just Spider-Man, but Marvel film of all. 5/5 Holiday Whiskeys.