Audiences are packing the theaters to see Spider-Man: No Way Home for good reason. In addition to being a fast-paced action film, the movie, somehow, despite being the 27th film in the Marvel Universe of films, keeps the Spider-Man saga alive and fresh.
Unleashing the multiverse
No Way Home takes place in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 movie Far From Home. (See my review here.) After being deceived by Mysterio, and killing him, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) now finds himself framed for the carnage in Europe. He is vilified in the mainstream news. Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, also reveals Spider-Man’s identity to all the world.
Now, Peter Parker is feeling the weight of his controversial super hero status. In a desperate attempt to deflect the world’s attention, and his role in destroying the Elementals (monsters feeding off the energy of the Earth), he longs for the anonymity of his earlier life.
Peter tracks down the super wizard Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Peter convinces him to weave a spell that will result in everyone forgetting Peter Parker is Spider-Man. The convoluted consequence is opening up the “multiverse,” summoning Spider-Man’s nemesis from alternative universes into the present world. (See my review of Into the Spider Verse here.)
With the help of MJ (Zendaya), who is his girlfriend, and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), the team tracks down Peter’s multiverse enemies. However, knowing each will die at Spider-Man’s hands if he returns them to their natural world, Peter is inspired by his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) to “fix” them in order to save them. Their naive belief in human restoration, as one might expect, is not rewarded. Chaos and yet another existential threat to the world emerges.
Fast pace immerses audiences
No Way Home keeps a fast pace and the action is immersive. As in the previous films, the special effects don’t get in the way of the action or the story. Humor is sprinkled artfully throughout, providing necessary levity while also leveraging the bizarre circumstances of the tasks faced by Peter, MJ, and Ned to advance the plot.
The movie also benefits from smooth and affecting acting by a full slate of lead and supporting actors. Marissa Tomei is particularly affecting as Peter’s Aunt May. The onscreen chemistry between Tom Holland and Zendaya is convincing and natural (making the end all the more heartfelt).
Perhaps the most important element of Spider-Man: No Way Home is the decision by the screenwriters to raise the personal and superhero stakes for the key characters. Peter Parker’s dilemma is not just about saving the world. It’s also about doing what’s best for the people he loves and cares most deeply about.
A top-notch Marvel action thriller
Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a top notch superhero action movie in the Marvel Universe. A fast pace, appropriately scaled digital effects, and affecting performances will keep audiences engaged throughout. It’s definitely worth watching on the biggest screen possible.