“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the next installment for Marvel’s web-slinger hero. It involves a fantastic mix of the current MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) characters — mixed in with a few villains and heroes from the past. When a mystical spell deviates to very wrong direction, it rips open a hole in the ‘multiverse’. That means anything can — and WILL – happen to our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man…
In the events of the prior movie (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”), Peter Parker / Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) saved the world in London. But he is back at home in New York City, with his girlfriend MJ (played by Zendaya) and his best friend Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon). An investigative reporter and muckraker at the Daily Bugle is named J.Jonah Jameson (played by J. K. Simmons).
He releases news that Spider-Man is really Peter. Peter, Ned and MJ are devastated. Peter and his Aunt May (played by Marisa Tomei) need to go into hiding. They use the deluxe apartment of Happy Hogan (played by Jon Favreau). Peter, MJ and Ned are all waiting to be accepted into MIT for college studies. They all get rejection letters, for being a Spider-Man or a ‘Friend of Spider-Man’.
But now the Feds have come down on Peter and all of his friends (about the events in London). The Feds also have put the squeeze on Happy Hogan (for some ‘misplaced’ Stark Industry tech). Peter gets a blind lawyer who seems to be a real ‘daredevil’ (hint, hint).
Peter conjures up the idea that perhaps he would be in a much better place if no one in the world knew that he was Spider-Man. He goes to see the Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Strange is warned against any type of memory alteration spell by his friend and fellow Master of the Mystic Arts – Wong (played by Benedict Wong).
Doctor Strange goes ahead with the powerful spell. But Peter gets cold feet in the middle when Dr. Strange is casting this spell. Strange attempts to change the spell several times. This makes the universe get very wonky. Soon, there are super-charged villains from other dimensions (read that as — other non-Marvel controlled movie series).
These super bad guys include: Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus (played by Alfred Molina), Norman Osborn / Green Goblin (played by Willem Dafoe), Max Dillon / Electro (played by Jamie Foxx), Curt Connors / Lizard (played by Rhys Ifans) and finally Flint Marko / Sandman (played by Thomas Haden Church).
Between Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, they are ‘able to collect the whole set’. Strange keeps all of these villains in a magic dungeon at his Sanctum Sanctorum. Peter enlists MJ and Ned to help him guard these bad guys. Dr. Strange sets up new reversal spell to send of these criminals back to their own versions of their universe.
But all of them will end up dead, once they get put back. Spider-Man has too much compassion to allow that. So he fights Dr. Strange in the Mirror Dimension and gets the magical spell reversal box. Peter is able to get out of the endless array of reflected dimensions because of … math?
With the aid of Aunt May and his other friends, Peter is able to get some super-evil cure technology set up and going for the five villains. But of course nothing goes right when there is a chance for it all to go wrong. With Dr. Strange out of the picture (for a while), the villains revolt and chaos ensues (but at least it is not ‘Chaos Walking’).
Spider-Man is stuck, and he finds out in a tragic moment that “With great power, comes great responsibility”. Many tears are shed. But now is Peter Parker stuck alone and by himself? Is there nobody who has prior experience fighting with all of these super-villains? Is there perhaps more than one single ‘nobody’ from a different universe? Sometimes, when you least expect it, some allies can be found who can make the fight against the enemies a little more balanced. Peter Parker can feel in his “Peter Tingle” (as Aunt May might say).
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” walks a fine line in being a comedic movie about some teenagers trying to get into college at the same time being an awesome ‘Super Hero fights for Justice’ type of movie. Well, make that Super Heroes (but no major spoilers). There are some light moments and some heavy emotional lifting done by the cast. But the way it is pieced together is superb.
Mainly, the idea of previous movie series versions of the ‘Spider-Man’ world being combined into this movie is a mind-blowing concept. But the way that it is seamlessly done in this movie is work of art. This is a true ‘Chef’s Kiss’ of Superhero Action. This was a Mount Everest mountain to climb, and it is done with classy style and grace.
Kudos have to go out for director Jon Watts. He has taken the helm of three “Spider-Man” movies and he made each one better than the prior one. Acting is all right on target for everyone in this crew. Especially tasty scenery must have been designed for Willem Dafoe, because he chews on so much of it. Jacob Batalon plays up as such an adorable best pal that it is really fun. Tom Holland and Zendaya share a wonderful chemistry for these characters.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” – To paraphrase “With Great Spider Power, Comes Great Spider Entertainment”. ‘Nuff said!
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Directed by: Jon Watts
Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Based on: Spider-Man comics (by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko)
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Benedict Wong, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date: December 17, 2021
Length: 150 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Genre: Comic Book Action