Messy Mayhem In The Multiverse
With great power comes great responsibility. These six words have defined a whole generation of Spider-Man movies and shows, dating way back to the original film trilogy in 2002. Further back still was the incredible 90’s cartoon, which was then predated by the classic 1967 series. It’s fair to say the web-crawler has had quite the illustrious filmography over the years.
So too though has Marvel. Starting with Iron Man, Marvel has gone on to dominate the cinematic box office, becoming an incredibly diverse and rich universe of colourful characters and foes. Infinity War and Endgame felt like momentous occasions; a must-watch cinematic treat on the big screen. Gasps, cheers and applause; it really was an experience to watch these in the cinema with likeminded people.
With a certain virus doing the rounds, cinemas shut up shop and Marvel turned its attention to the small screen for Phase 5. With Thanos defeated and the world saved, all our different characters were left to pick up the pieces, scrambling for a taste of the same cinematic highs that battling Thanos conjured.
With news that Hawkeye, Disney’s latest small screen offering, is suffering from dwindling views, it seems Marvel fatigue has picked up. I must admit, I’ve been burned out too, and I’m sure many others are feeling the same way. After watching Eternals (with a large coffee to try and stay awake), the stakes could not have been higher for No Way Home to knock it out the bag.
After a tantalizing teaser (seen above) and other trailers released, fans were rife with speculation. Will there be more than three villains? Will all the Spider-Man versions show up? What about Into The Spider-Verse? And what about that rent guy? With marketing encouraging this snowball to grow ever-bigger over the months, one couldn’t help but feel a sense of Deja vu following No Man Sky’s release. That tepid exploration game promised a lot but failed to deliver. Thankfully, No Way Home does deliver.
I’ll be careful not to go into spoilers here but No Way Home is both manic and magnificent. It’s a brilliantly messy, bombastic and slightly shaky title that’s redeemed by some pulsating action, a sentimental heart and a third act that brings the core of Spider-Man’s character – and what he stands for – to the forefront of the film.
The story here picks up right off the back of Far From Home. Mysterio’s death has sent ripples across New York as he reveals who Peter Parker is. With the whole world now aware of Spidey’s identity, this causes havoc for Peter’s life. After all, Mysterio was a hero in their eyes and with J Jonah Jameson doing everything he can to paint Spidey as the villain, the mainstream public are split on their opinions of the webslinger. Some people love him, others loathe him.
Intent on reversing the damage done, Spider-Man visits Doctor Strange and enlists his help in casting a spell to set things right. Unfortunately, things soon go awry. From here, the story opens up as it appears Spider-Man has bitten off more than he can chew – especially when familiar faces show up.
I won’t divulge much more but No Way Home then rockets full steam ahead to deliver one heck of a thrill ride. There are some surprises, big cameos and a massive implication over where Marvel is actually going with their Phase 5 plans. The audience I watched it with were gasping, applauding and cheering; something I haven’t seen since Infinity War and Endgame.
Now, No Way Home is not Endgame, and despite its massive bouts of fan service, it does have some structural issues. Namely those problems come from the tone, which has always been an Achilles Heel for Marvel movies that try and play with bigger themes – like this one.
There are some genuinely heart-wrenching moments here cut short by a quick joke or a mood-destroying gag with another character. There’s one moment near the end of the movie that’s absolutely heart-wrenching…but it’s destroyed by the scene cutting to another character and cracking a joke. It’s particularly noticeable at times because the third act of the movie actually gets that balance right, especially right at the end of the film.
The final scenes of No Way Home are, quite frankly, brilliant. They’re some of the strongest work Marvel have done with Spidey, understanding what makes the webslinger the hero he is, and how he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Much like Into The Spider-Verse was crafted with the intention of making a good Spider-Man movie, so too then is No Way Home. It’s an action-packed film full of Easter eggs for fans and enough action that even the most casual of viewers will come away with a big smile on their face.
Some of the plot mechanics are a little contrived, especially some of Spidey’s motivations regarding specific villains, but the jarring tone is the biggest culprit here. With a more balanced shift, this could have easily been on-par with Into The Spider-Verse as the best Spidey film. As it stands, it’s still the second best and a much-needed homerun Marvel were banking on to inject some excitement and energy back into this franchise.
Read More: Spider-Man No Way Home Ending Explained
Verdict - 8.5/10