Review – A Web Full Of Villains (“Spider-Man: No Way Home”)

There has been SO much hype about this movie it’s crazy: other Spider-Men? A possible Sinister Six showing up? And then there’s the unbelievable unmasking of Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, from 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home that has yet to be resolved! Whew!!

It sucks being Spider-Man. Picking up immediately from Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been publically outed as Spider-Man (and branded a murderer) by reporter, J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons, reprising his role). Now everyone knows Peter Parker is the web-slinger and his life has been turned upside-down. Even his lawyer, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), is worried. What to do? Why, call on his friend, Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to save his butt by casting a spell that will wipe out everyone’s memory that Peter is Spidey. Sounds simple, right?

Well, not exactly! Through a glitch in casting the spell, Strange accidentally opens a portal to other pocket dimensions, letting loose into the city a cache (the Sinister Five?) of Spider-Man villains from other franchises: Norman Osborne/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Dr. Otto Octavious/Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and Flint Marco/The Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church). Yikes! With the help of his buddies, M. J. Watson (Zendaya) and Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Peter manages to capture all five baddies, thanks to Strange’s added magic. BUT! If they all go back to their own dimensions–as Strange plans–each will end up dying as they did in their own universe.

However, Peter, ever the nice guy, has other ideas: why not “fix” or “cure” them so they can go home and not die? Oh sure, it looks good on paper, and when Peter says it out loud, but can five super-villains really come together and agree to this nuttiness? What do you think? Welp, there’s always gotta be a fly in the ointment, and Peter’s plan almost works, resulting in catastrophic failure and a third-act war against the villains that is a wild and cheering fanboys delight! If you’ve heard the rumors about other dimensions and other Spider-Men, well . . .

And I gotta tellya, seeing these actors back on the screen again reprising their past roles puts a great big smile on my face! Molina and Dafoe are clearly the top dogs as they bring back such memories, even with their CG de-aging. Foxx even looks better with his “upgrades” and is clearly having a good time. Marisa Tomei is back as Aunt May, along with “Happy” Hogan’s Jon Favreau, each having some choice parts here. Oh, and let’s not forget about Holland, who runs the gamut of emotions in this threequel and proves he’s more than just Peter Parker or a guy in a fancy costume.

Finally, the screenwriters did something unique and unprecedented: they actually listened to the fans, heard what they wanted to see, and took their advice! Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, who wrote the other two Spider-Man “home” movies, along with Jon Watts (who directed the same films) have cranked out another winner and what has to be a fan-favorite, given all the rich, colorful, and hilarious dialogue that is peppered throughout, which is the same stuff we movie geeks talk about at Comic Con’s! Example: the simple, yet fun-filled chit-chat scene on top of the Statue of Liberty. Then there’s all of Watts’ extraordinary action camerawork, which goes into overdrive this time around!

If I have one critique, it’s that there wasn’t a Sinister Six, something teased in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and seen for decades in comics, graphic novels, and TV cartoon series. What, you guys couldn’t have added one more villain? Anyway, if you’ve ever been a fan of the series, past or present, this is the culmination of these works. And at 2hrs and 20mins, it simply wasn’t long enough.

**Now showing at theaters only

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