Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – Jon Watts

Tom Holland returns for a third outing as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in what is arguably the best of the Marvel movies. A film that delivers emotional payoffs and character arcs from not only the previous films in this iteration of Spidey, but the two other big-budget live-action. series helmed by Sony before this.

Picking up right after the closing moments of Far From Home, Peter finds himself not only blamed for the death of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) but also has his secret identity revealed to the world! With no peace to be had, and even with a good lawyer at his side, Peter is trapped so he turns to help from Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) asking him to cast a spell to make everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man. Oh, except! his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya), his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).

Of course, because of all this tampering and manipulation the spell goes sideways and instead begins to draw people from across the multiverse that know Peter is Spider-Man. Soon Peter and his friends are menaced by familiar baddies like Doc Oc (Alfred Molina), Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), Electro/Max (Jamie Foxx), Sandman/Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), The Lizard/Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) forming a sinister menace if ever there was one.

As Peter tries to deal with all of the baddies, while also struggling with helping them avoid their fates, Ned and MJ inadvertently provide Peter with additional help, in the form of two more Peters. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return to the franchise and there are emotional payoffs aplenty because of it. Garfield in particular seems to fare very well here considering that his Spider-Man didn’t get a third film, and didn’t initially get the love his character deserved.

And while our Peter works to save the baddies from themselves, by working with his other selves, the other Peters are intent on making sure Peter doesn’t suffer from the same regret they do caused by taking a life as revenge.

It’s a fantastic film, and having recently watched all the Spideys back to back, it has a very powerful emotional kick. I loved every minute of it. There are laughs a plenty, but the emotional ride is brilliantly constructed and each one of the character beats is damn near pitch perfect.

As much as I enjoy the Avengers films, as much as I dig Iron Man, Spider-Man has been my guy for a long time, and this film just helped to re-cement all that love I have for the character.

The music, the script, the performances, the reveals and the pain, all of it, Holland is completely at home as Spidey, and I hope he has a few more entries in the series yet.

Now I want to watch them all over again.


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