Dog’s Movie House: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Is Probably The Most Fun You’ll Have At The Movies This Year!
“No Way Home” starts right after the events of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in which the villain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) manages to expose Peter’s identity to the world with the help of conspiracy blogger J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons, having the time of his life). Mysterio also manages to frame Peter for the previous film’s drone attack in London as well as his murder. This makes Peter Public Enemy Number One to many, an idol to others, and a magnet of media and legal attention to all. His newfound noteriety puts pressure on everything from future college admissions to his relationships with his friends and family. Peter, seeing no other solution, goes to the home of Dr. Strange (Bendedict Cumberbatch) for help. Strange concocts a spell that will make everyone forget Peter is Spider-Man but Peter’s constant interruptions cause the spell to backfire and the results are that certain villains from other universes are showing up, each with a grudge against Peter Parker. It’s up to Peter and his friends to round these guys up so that Strange can reverse the spell and send them back home, thus repairing the rip in the multiverse and returning things to normal. Guess how that works out?
To tell you any more would be ruining the myriad of pleasures to be found in “No Way Home.” The film is stuffed with Easter Eggs and nods to the previous Spider-Man films and the fan service, while laid on thick, is always in service to the story. Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have managed to create an emotional tale that serves as a cinematic love letter to all things Spider-Man, walking the perfect tightrope between fan service and a compelling story. I can’t tell how difficult that is, given all the elements thrown into this particular stew. One false move in either direction and the whole enterprise falls apart.
It helps that Watts has a terrific cast to work with. Tom Holland (with all due respect to Toby McGuire and Andrew Garfield) is the perfect cinematic incarnation of Spider-Man. Holland has grown into the role and in this film really comes into his own. The script gives him a chance to make Peter Parker a more rounded character than ever before and Holland nails it. He’s matched by Zendaya as MJ, the love of his life and partner in crime. Those two have an off-the-charts chemistry that really cooks in their scenes together. You want to see them make it. Jacob Batalon is back as Peter’s best friend and “man-in-the-chair” Ned Leeds. The back and forth between these three result in some of the most emotional moments in a comic book film. Cumberbatch is as cool as ever as the casually arrogant but good-hearted Dr. Strange and Marisa Tomei has her strongest outing yet as Aunt May.
Also joining the cast are folks you may recognize from other Spider-Man films. Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe return in fine form as Doc Ock and Green Goblin, respectively. Dafoe in particular has an entertaining arc revolving around his split personality. Norman Osborne is a sympathetic character, but his Goblin personality is a truly hissable villain. Thomas Haden Church returns as Flink Mark, aka Sandman, and Jamie Foxx gets some of the films best lines as Max Dillion, aka Electro.
All of these actors (along with a few wonderful suprises) work with a strong story against an outstanding backdrop of action and special effects that are as seemless as they are inventive. We’ve come a long way from the 2001 days of motion capture where Spider-Man actually looked like he could web his way around New York. That was groundbreaking: this stuff now is just plain awesome. The fight between Dr. Strange and Spidey in Strange’s Mirrorverse is one of the most creative battles I’ve seen put to film.
“No Way Home” also packs an emotional punch as it goes to places that are both heartfelt and unexpected. There is a sense of a new beginning by the time to get to the end of this outstanding film and that bodes well for future cinematic adventures of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. See this with an audience if you can as you will get caught up in the moment. The crowd I was with laughed and cheered (and even teared up a bit) more at this film than any movie I’ve seen in a long time. This is what they mean when they say “The Magic Of The Movies!” 5 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!