In the picture

December 26, 2021

Touching, exciting, and amusing, the MCU’s 27th offering easily ranks among the franchise’s most satisfying episodes.

In the picture

Spider-Man: No Way Home   ☆☆☆☆

Staring: Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, and Jon Favreau

Directed by: Jon Watts

The all-out promotional blitz alongside the flurry of rumours and speculation with which Spider-Man: No Way Home arrived in cinemas would leave you thinking no movie could possibly live up to that level of hype. Which is why it’s downright surprising that the film not only meets but, on some levels, even exceeds expectations. (Yes, it really is that good.) Who knew a Marvel Studios flick still had the potential to do that?

Or perhaps that’s just it: this isn’t merely a Marvel Cinematic Universe episode after all. The result of an arrangement between Disney and Sony to share the character, and the culmination of two decades of Spider-Man’s big screen journey, No Way Home takes fans on an exciting adventure that easily ranks among the MCU’s best offerings while providing closure for previous incarnations of the character, which is something that we didn’t even know we needed!

With Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity as Spider-Man revealed to the world (at the end of 2019’s Far From Home), the vilified protagonist faces a new set of challenges as he and his loved ones – including girlfriend MJ (Zendaya), best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and aunt May (Marisa Tomei) – deal with the repercussions of the revelation. But things start to get out of hand when a frustrated Peter approaches Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to make his identity a secret again with magic; no thanks to Peter’s repeated interruptions, the spell is botched, breaking open the multiverse and allowing supervillains from Spider-Man past across alternate realities to enter his universe.

Peter has the option to contain these evil masterminds and send them back to their worlds to meet their dire fates. But should he try to cure them instead so that he can rid them of their villainous tendencies and help them escape their unfortunate ends?

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, and Peter’s attempts to do good turn out to be as perilous as you’d expect. Mayhem ensues, but the result ultimately delivers both wit and wisdom, heartbreak and closure.

There are surprises aplenty here, especially if you’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers (you should even skip the trailer if you can). Jon Watts and his team utilize their assets brilliantly. There are cameos that will have the entire theatre cheering, returning players that you suspect might just get throwaway bits but who end up with integral, meaningful roles.

The action is well-executed; some of the set pieces are very well done. And the acting, across the board, is terrific; from an outstanding Tom Holland as the lead to familiar faces effortlessly slipping back into their old roles.

No Way Home is, all in all, a treat for Spider-Man fans. The film is guaranteed to please viewers who have enjoyed the previous adventures of this beloved character, no matter how they feel about the MCU in general. It is touching, amusing, and very satisfying, and promises to take you on a thoroughly fun ride.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture