Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home surprises, shocks and delights. It takes a trip down memory lane but remains a love story between Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and MJ (Zendaya). Spider-Man’s mentor Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) also plays a central role. And the film introduces the idea of the Marvel multiverse – a collection of alternative universes, with similar nature and a universal hierarchy.

We pick up the story at the moment Spider-Man: Far From Home ended. Peter Parker has been outed as Spider-Man and is public enemy number one. He’s blamed for “murdering” Mysterio and for “causing” much of the mayhem occurring in New York City. Daily Bugle online presenter J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) leads the charge and provides regular updates about Spider-Man’s dastardly deeds. The news media senses blood and pursues it relentlessly. Helicopters hover as Spidey and MJ seek refuge in Aunt May’s (Marisa Tomei) apartment, just as she tries to break up with Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).

Meanwhile, Peter, MJ and Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) are trying to get into college, specifically MIT. Peter’s newfound notoriety has a direct impact on how that turns out. To get away from the media scrutiny, Peter and Aunt May look for new lodgings. Not knowing how to prove his innocence, Spider-Man prevails on Dr Strange for some magical assistance. But when a spell goes wrong, some unexpected arrivals threaten to unleash mayhem.

Three of the key personnel responsible for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: Homecoming – director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers – return for No Way Home. Their film requires concentration to fully appreciate, because a lot happens. This is the most complex and dense Spidey iteration yet. Notwithstanding that, I felt the film took a while to take off. About halfway through though it noticeably pivots, and I enjoyed it from then on. Special effects are once again pivotal.

No spoilers – but if you’re into Marvel fan service, this film will deliver exactly what you want.

The chemistry between Tom Holland and Zendaya in the pivotal roles is palpable. Both are outstanding.

As an avowed Spider-Man fan, I dare say this movie will have more appeal to a younger generation than to traditional Spidey aficionados, who have grown up with the superhero during simpler times. It’s very much of an age where the multiverse (introduced in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) is destined to play a large part in future Marvel offerings.

Spider-Man: No Way Home crams an enormous amount into its 129-minute running time.

Alex First

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