After the climactic events of 2017’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, the life of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is in tatters. Framed for murder by Mysterio, identity exposed by Jonah J. Jameson and rejected from MIT, there really doesn’t seem to be any way home for the young Peter Parker. However, in wishing that his life could be the way it was before, he approaches Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr Strange to cast a dangerous spell. Yet, in their attempt to make the world forget Spider-Man’s true identity, their spell instead ruptures the very fabric of reality. Drawing forth an army of adversaries from Spider-Man’s many different pasts, can Peter still save those he loves the most as the multiverse comes crashing down?
… And yes, three, really is the magic number.
As far as high expectations go for any new Marvel movie, it’s fair to say that they don’t get any bigger than with Spider-Man: No Way Home. As a character who has hung in limbo between two warring Hollywood studios and then been rebooted three times with three different actors, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little confused. Fortunately, though, Tom Holland has got some fantastic legal representation this time to help clarify things. So, even if Benedict Cumberbatch’s mug-wielding sorcerer can’t provide all your answers (nice touch there Marvel, with the “oh for Fox’s sake” drinking vessel), then you can be assured that director Jon Watts does.
In the completion of his high-school Spider-man trilogy, Jon Watts has definetly saved the best for last. Steeped in post-cultural references aplenty, this latest Spidey flick is both a “greatest hits” and a soothing salve to the other Spider-man movies that went before it. With Dr Strange beseeching Zendaya as MJ and Jacob Batalon as best friend Ned to “scooby-doo this shit”, it seems that Chris McKenna’s and Erik Sommers’s script has plenty of punch to pack in. In terms of Spider-man’s returning foes, cue the teased arrival of Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus, Jamie Foxx as Electro and Thomas Haden Church as the Sandman. Yet, as a carnivorous Norman Osbourne (aka the Green Goblin), it is Willem Dafoe who is having the most fun. Slicing into his lines with almost maniacal glee, he’s the one clearly relishing his role as a self-described “god who doesn’t need to choose when he can just take”.
With the previously dislocated rationale of “with great power comes great responsibility” now safely restored to this closing chapter of Watt’s Spider-man trilogy, you should also be warned there are some real tears in the rain up ahead. Nonetheless, as an entraining vehicle that has clearly learnt the lessons of Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: No Way Home is simply the most affecting and yet crowd-pleasing Marvel movie in ages.
And yes, three, really is the magic number.