Spider-Man: No Way Home a masterpiece of superhero genre
If you haven’t yet seen the latest Spider-Man film, you should immediately head to the nearest cinema. This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best Marvel films ever made. Luxembourg is not known for having animated, interactive audiences in the cinema. But No Way Home had viewers cheering, clapping, gasping, and laughing at least a dozen times during the screening I went to see.
Watching this film was an immersive, emotional experience, and it deserves the accolades that have been rolling in from around the globe.
If you have not seen the film, the following part of the review contains spoilers.
In the aftermath of the previous Spider-Man film, the identity of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) – alias Spider Man – was revealed to the world. Any chance at a normal life — for either him or his friends — was left in tatters. In a desperate attempt to get things back to how they were before supervillain Mysterio outed him, Parker turns to wizard, Dr Strange. He begs the wizard to cast a spell that will make everyone forget he is Spider-Man. But Parker panics and asks that some of his friends and family be excluded from its effect. In doing so, he destabilises the spell, weakening the barriers of the multiverse.
Not only did Parker not get what he wanted, but he also inadvertently opened gateways and a whole cluster of villains from the two previous Spider-Man franchises began to terrorise New York. The first skirmish saw Alfred Molina reprise his role of Doctor Octopus. It was at this point that the boundary between the film and its audience began to break down. Molina’s arrival on screen left a surreal feeling and I could hear murmurings of excitement in the cinema.
After getting the better of ‘Doc Oc’, Parker goes back to Dr Strange, who explains that he has found a way to recapture these interdimensional stowaways and send them back to their universes. Spider-Man is tasked with defeating and detaining all the villains he accidentally unleashed. The only problem is that there are far too many of them. Parker needs back up. Luckily for him – and for the audience – help was at hand.
A fully kitted out Spider-Man jumps through the portal, but when he takes off his mask, it turns out to be a very different Spidey: Andrew Garfield. The audience erupted into applause on seeing Garfield’s face. Then, this twist is smoothed into the main plot through a long comedic scene that leaves the audience laughing. The only apt way to describe the atmosphere is ‘giddy’.
Just as things seem to settle back down, the film ups its ante again. Now, an unassuming, casually dressed (and much-aged) Tobey Maguire strolls in. This might well be the rowdiest moment to have taken place in Kirchberg’s ‘Screen 1’. A wave of nostalgic emotion swept over me as Tobey Maguire’s soft-spoken presence makes its way back into the hearts of Marvel/Sony Spider-Man fans.
The plot itself was a well-devised, balancing act — combining nostalgic reprisal, innovative reimagining, and fresh twists.
More than the plot however, No Way Home was a film that worked the audience through circumstance, atmosphere, and good acting. There were tears, laughter, and everything in between. The on-screen chemistry between Holland, Garfield, and Maguire was breath-taking and their individual and collective performances were nothing short of brilliant. The supporting cast of friends, family, and villains were also outstanding. The cast’s performance, their talent and their chemistry are what raised No Way Home from a great film to a masterpiece of the superhero genre.
We are left to wonder, where does the Spider-Man franchise go from here? Both of the previous Tom Holland films have been brilliant, and the earlier works of Garfield and Maguire have both rightly earned their places in the hearts of fans. But it is hard to see how anything could live up to this new instalment. It has already been confirmed that Tom Holland has renewed his contract for a few more Spider-Man films.
No Way Home could have been the perfect swan song to one of the greatest characters in the modern superhero genre. Once upon a time, Uncle Ben (or in this new film, Aunt May) told Peter Parker that “with great power comes great responsibility”. Marvel and Sony must heed these words closely as they go forward with Spider-Man — arguably Stan Lee’s greatest superhero.