Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tom Holland confronts the past and a reasonably safe franchise future in the latest part of the “Spider-Man” series.

Loreal Maddox, Staff Writer

Marvel’s production line was long-ago considered critic proof, courtesy of its army of true believers and dominance of both cinemas and click-baiting media. The films open, they crush, and renew on repeat. The line now has a movie that is also review proof in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Many reviewers can throw around adjectives such as “vibrant! fascinating! cliched!,” but they cannot say much about what occurs.   

The assumption is that revealing too much would destroy the enjoyment here, as spoiler police might say. Of course though, it wouldn’t. The trailer and previous advertising have already revealed a good amount. While Marvel movies are so devoted to their fans and their knowledge of the characters’ story lines, there are rarely any  genuine shocks. 

So spoiler warning: Spider-Man comes out on top. And, yet again, Tom Holland, one of the greatest live-action stars in the films, has embraced the actor of Peter Parker, the persistent teenager who doubles as Spider-Man. Holland now more than ever and continues to look and sound more like a kid than an adult, with his petite stature and bright, easy grin. As he radiates the same charming, honest decency that has made Peter and Spider-Man become a lasting duo.

Even more than his super-ability to weave webs and swing by a thread, Peter’s childlike generous spirit has always been his most effective weapon. Peter Parker has always been a kind, attractive kid who attracts the sweetest, most lovely females (Kristen Dunst, Emma Stone). Holland, though, is the most convincing of the various spidey-boys who have played Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield). Zendaya, who plays MJ, is now Tom Holland’s love interest. Zendaya’s charisma and gift for selling emotions (and silly dialogue) help give the new movie a soft, stable shine that concentrates it like the heartbeat as the film takes off in different directions. 

Jon Watts, returning as head director, has shown to be an incredible pick for the film. Partially because he understands that Peter is a teen, although one with a pelicular sacred aspect. There is a plot here, but what this “Spider-Man” film truly has, is a brilliant setup that tightens the Marvel universe’s phases with the help of one its phenomenal superheroes, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). It begins with a loud blast and the discovery of Peter’s hidden identity, which dramatically alters his life and sets in a series of reunions, battle sequences, and emotionally intense scenes. Spider-Man gets a lot of mileage during the course of the film because, like nearly every Marvel production, it’s too lengthy and, at two and a half hours, it’s overstaying its welcome. However, the film snaps and jumps wonderfully before that.  

It will be interesting to see what Watts could achieve if he weren’t limited by Marvel’s strict framework, which gives the studio’s films a distinct genre identity while also making them more similar than not. The Spider-Man cycle that began with Maguire in the role was not a part of the Marvel universe until the first to feature Holland, due to complicated business reasons. In my opinion, it would be very interesting to see a more complicated Peter, among many other things. After all, the world is in a chaotic mess, and to see Peter’s immense strength and distinct strength of duty could be channeled through larger battles. The question would be, can Greta Thunberg accomplish that alone?

Rating: 10/10