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Saturday, December 18, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Director: Jon Watts

Studio: Columbia Pictures/Marvel Studios

The world collides with Spider-Man: No Way Home!

If you guys haven’t seen Spider-Man: Far From Home, then please do not watch No Way Home yet as the filmmakers and cast wants you to refrain from any spoilers and not jump to conclusions on these films since lots of people, especially Spider-Man fans, are looking forward to this anticipated sequel. It’s going to be worth the wait where we get to see a lot of action coming from the returning director Jon Watts and the Spider-Man characters from the past but as this sequel wraps up on the MCU’s own Spider-Man trilogy, there are some plans for future Spider-Man films according to the studio executives and producers. Who knows, maybe it’s going to be the end or not. The film features the returning stars of Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

As depicted from Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home focuses on Peter Parker whose main identity as Spider-Man was publicly exposed by Mysterio, leading his life and reputation to be turned upside down. Desperate for help, Parker seeks Dr. Stephen Strange to help him restore his secret identity. However, Parker soon discovers that restoring his secret identity breaks the open barrier of the multiverse, allowing the five supervillains from alternate realities to arrive and fight back.

MCU actor Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man while Zendaya reprises her role as MJ, Parker’s girlfriend. In this film, it shows how Holland has grown up and learns the responsibility of his powers and his well being, showing how real depth of his character has gone through. Of course, he doesn't have much needed rest in the film, he really pushes his limits to impress in the majority of his scenes. This goes to show that he really proves that Spider-Man is a top notch hero for the MCU. And as for both Holland and Zendaya when it comes to onscreen acting, they are what makes the film enjoyable and happier to see due to their stunning chemistry and the dynamic relationship between MJ and Peter. Regardless of what everything goes on, they are a pretty strong couple and it is just nice for a comic book film to have a relationship that feels so smooth and natural without overpowering the film’s plot.

Returning MCU cast came back to life. Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Dr. Stephen Strange and he is amazing. He looks more mature in his role and has different viewpoints to Spider-Man onscreen. He even adds some really interesting parts to the film and plays a unique role in the progress of the story. Jacob Batalon is back, reprising his role as Ned. As an actor, his acting is greater than the way he acts in Far From Home. He is just a fun, lovable character (and a sidekick) who always supports Peter like any ordinary BFFs out there. This time, he is way more involved with Spider-Man and really improves his character so much as if he is having a blast working on this sequel. Actor Tony Revolori hilariously makes his onscreen return as Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Peter’s classmate and rival. Benedict Wong is also here, briefly appearing as Wong, Strange’s mentor and friend despite having less screentime in order to save room for his acting gig in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel while Jon Favreau returns as Happy Hogan, who looks after Peter Parker. And lastly, we have Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) coming back as Aunt May and this time, she carries a much more supportive role than ever for Holland, tightening the character dynamics between her and Holland's Peter Parker which is what makes their relationship feel so real in every scene.

The one and only returning director for this anticipated sequel is Jon Watts himself. He crafts the story with the endless influences from Sam Raimi, who later directs the next MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marc Webb, and the Russo brothers. With his tireless direction, he makes the story really great with a side of emotional tones aiming towards Holland’s own Spider-Man persona and all the multiverse elements that threaten the world and to Spider-Man. While Watts really freshens up Peter Parker's real character arc between his human lifestyle and his superhero ego, it incredibly serves as a real highlight for the film’s plot points, giving some decent thumbnails along the way. It is obviously great seeing the returning villainy actors and they are treated with respect as the characters are furtherly explored. Even the ending is a fun-ride and feels well-deserved in its entirety because this is something anyone should invest in.

Speaking of villains, the film’s villain team includes Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans, and Jamie Foxx, reprising their roles as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, Otto Octavious/Doctor Octopus, Flint Marko/Sandman, Curt Connors/Lizard, and Max Dillion/Electro from alternate realities. All of them are amazing and filled with energy in their villainy parts, but Dafoe and Molina really flourish in their roles and outshine them all, but the biggest surprise is Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro. His acting as a villain became a remarkable improvement than he was in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The returning actors Charlie Cox (Daredevil) and J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) are also present in the film, reprising their roles as Matt Murdoch and J. Jonah Jameson respectively.

This film is one serious, killer crossover due to several different characters and elements being used in the film compared favorably to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame thanks to the wonderful action sequences, the visuals, the CGI usages, and the script-writing. Though it’s totally understandable that some script writing talents in various MCU films often get criticised for their lazy writing, including adding too much comedy and humour in them, but for this film, it's a perfect balance that has been properly well-handled right here. Another noticeable object is that there are some funny moments here that give lots of die-hard laughs on the outside, but on the inside, they didn't outwit the serious, killer parts of the film. Even the pacing for the film is also very good, despite being two and a half hours of the film’s runtime, but it never felt that it was way too long as there isn't really any flaw or filler being present, which is an impressive accomplishment.

Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the greatest, most epic film that really lives up to its name, absolutely being called one of the best films I ever watched in 2021. It really exceeds my expectations and it’s the endgame for all of you no doubt. Holland, Zendaya, and the returning cast are what really made it all possible thanks to the director’s genius eye. The action sequences and the visuals are up to par, everything else is really fun and seeing how the MCU’s own Spider-Man going against villains from the other franchises works very well in many cinematic levels, allowing the fun-filled sequences to be the center of attention for people to digest heavily with oxygen being blown out of their mouths. I promise you this is an extremely must and it’s a Spider-Man dream film everyone’s been waiting for. You will love it based on my expectations from some MCU films from the past, including Avengers: Endgame. And that is all I’m going to say, I can’t give anymore details from what I saw in the film. One last thing, please stick around during and after the end credits. You’ll get a good surprise on what happens next.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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