Spider-Man: No Way Home is the movie that Spider-Man fans have been dying to see: 2 ½ hours of craziness and cross-movie pollination that reconciles all those other Spidey films.
Tom Holland pulls his weight as the latest actor to wear the Spidey suit on a world where he is the only Spider-Man.
But things have gone wonky since the end of Far From Home when Mysterio revealed that Spider-Man was high school student Peter Parker and his “accomplices” were MJ (Zendaya) and Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon). Now, none can get any respite from fans and media hounding them at every moment.
Desperate, Peter seeks out Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and asks him to turn back time. Strange said that would be a horrible idea, but he offers a spell to make everyone forget that Peter is Spider-Man.
Panicked that MJ, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and a few others would forget who he was, Peter interferes with the casting and screws the spell up. The portal to an infinite number of universes opens and unwanted visitors fall through, including five guys who fought different versions of Spider-Man, as we saw in the earlier films.
All the villains were plucked from the timestream in the midst of their battles with that universe’s Spider-Man and have a slightly different mindset, especially Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina). Electro (Jamie Foxx) is drunk with power from electricity drawn from this new world. Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) is flat out crazy. In one of the best scenes, Dafoe destroys the stupid Green Goblin mask, a good move, since Dafoe’s maniacal face is more frightening than the silly Goblin mask.
Rhys Isans only appears for a minute or two as Dr. Curt Connors, while his CGI slithering counterpart, The Lizard, has more face time.
Thomas Haden Church is a more reasonable Sandman, who understands what’s going on before the others but still flips out and has to be contained.
It’s a shame that Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t appear as the guy who caused all this, Mysterio, to create a Sinester Six straight from the comic. But there were already too many villains for a single Spider-Man to fight. And about that we will say no more.
There are so many great moments in the film, including a classic moment where MJ offers Dr. Octopus a glass of salt water as he stares at her icily. “Because, you know, octopus,” she explains.
The climactic battle scene is exciting and brilliantly choreographed and took an army of CGI techs months to put together, and it’s worth every penny.
Director Jon Watts used the skills he showed in the previous Tom Holland Spider-Man films to display a deep understanding of the Marvel universe in dozens of little scenes that comic fans will appreciate.
The end of the film neatly ties everything together and hints at future developments which will spin out of the film. And, don’t leave your seat until you see both the end credit scenes, which showcase the next installments in the Marvel cinematic universe.
No Way Home is the fastest 148 minutes you’ll ever see and makes a great Christmas present.