At the beginning of Spider-Man: No Way Home — at least at the packed press screening I attended today — the three stars of the movie, as well as returning villain Jamie Foxx urged the audience to keep any spoilers to themselves and not spill the beans on any of surprises, and there are ALOT of them. Such revelations would be terribly unfair to moviegoers, Marvel fans, and especially fans of this series, which has been going strong in various iterations for decades now.
This film is supposedly the culmination of the whole series, especially the arc that takes us back to the teenaged Spidey in the form of Tom Holland. He lends a fresh-faced appeal and real style to the role previously played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
It would be critical malpractice to give anything away other than basic plot points. Given that, here we go: For the first time ever Peter Parker’s true identity as Spider-Man has been uncovered when none other than Mysterio gives him up and publicizes his name. It becomes a worldwide internet sensation and threatens to destroy the college dreams of Peter, his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon). But what if he could reverse it all with a uniquely-designed spell from Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)?
Enter Strange who agrees to put a spell on Peter that will erase any memory that Peter Parker was ever Spider-Man. The only problem is that as Strange begins his magic, Peter keeps stopping him to beg him not to include MJ, then Ned, then Aunt Mae (Marisa Tomei) and finally Happy (Jon Favreau).
The problem is, when the spell is complete, others from the Multiverse manage to sneak through, including past villains who DO know Spider-Man’s true identity. Soon Peter finds himself in the midst of a rogues gallery that includes Norman Osborne/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Dr. Otto Octavius/Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) and Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx). Being the good guy he is though, Peter convinces Strange not to reverse the spell that would send these guys back to certain death. His Aunt Mae taught him to always give people a second chance and that is what he wants to do.
Unfortunately, all that doing good gets very complicated. To say more is to say too much.
This movie does what the best movies always do: They thrill you and move you and make you want to cheer in a crowded theatre. In light of the pandemic this movie is a holiday gift not only to moviegoers, but also to exhibitors, because if EVER there was a film poised to save the movie business — just like Spidey always saves the day — it is this splendidly-crafted endgame.
Jon Watts, the wunderkind director discovered via the superb indie Cop Car , once again weaves his own magic on the series and creates, with the help of screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Summers, not just the best pic yet in the Spider-Man series, but truly one of the year’s best movies.
Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon are a priceless trio, and the various villains and “others” who pop in and out make this pure movie fun of the highest order. Fans will be in heaven
Producers are Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige. Sony releases it on Friday. This film will make a billion, and it deserves to. Franchise movies, Marvel Movies, Comic Book Movies – you name it – just don’t get much better than this.
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