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  Spider-Man: No Way Home Peter Parkers' multiversal mishap
Year: 2021
Director: Jon Watts
Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, J.K. Simmons, Tony Revolori, Andrew Garfield, Toby Maguire, Angourie Rice, Arian Moayed, Paula Newsome
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: Things are far from great now that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) he has been outed as Spider-Man. He's got the F.B.I. on his back, half the world convinced he is a killer and professional blowhard J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) dogging his every move. Worse yet this new notoriety not only derails Peter's shot at college but does the same for his sweetheart M.J. (Zendaya) and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon). In desperation Peter calls on Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for some magical means to make everyone forget he is Spider-Man. Unfortunately as result of some typical Parker tomfoolery the spell goes awry unleashing all manner of multiversal madness Spider-Man cannot resolve. At least, not by himself...

Instead of the overstuffed spectacle one might have feared from a third instalment of a multi-million dollar superhero franchise, Spider-Man: No Way Home delivers a heartfelt, lyrical, at times deeply moving story dealing with loss and redemption for both heroes and villains alike. Fittingly for this particular Marvel hero director Jon Watts and co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Summers cap off their Spider-Man trilogy with a dizzying high-wire act. Interweaving crowd-pleasing comedy with gut-wrenching tragedy, eye-popping spectacle and delightfully meta moments, No Way Home emerges a celebration of everything great about every cinematic incarnation of Spider-Man. It also encapsulates facets integral to the character as conceived by the late great comic scribe Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. Specifically the tragic nobility inherent in Peter Parker's unwavering devotion to the greater good at the expense of his own personal happiness.

Energized by Watts' dynamic direction the first act yields scene after scene of comedy gold, showcasing the remarkable talents of Tom Holland and Zendaya, alongside their frankly adorable screen chemistry, while somehow also ratcheting up the dramatic tension. Midway through the plot starts slinging surprises sure to leave viewers reeling from one emotional gut-punch after another. The film pulls off the rare successful feat of having multiple supporting players flip back and forth from ally to antagonist and back again. This keeps the audience on its toes but more crucially also reinforces the central theme focusing on Spidey's drive to alter the fate of multiple friends and foes and the consequences resulting from that need. Amidst a stellar cast everyone gets their moment to shine, from Marisa Tomei as Peter's iconic Aunt May to Cumberbatch's delightfully irascible Doctor Strange to a host of immensely satisfying special guest star turns it would be criminal to spoil. That said one particular scene-stealer proves the true M.V.P. and lands perhaps the most satisfying and cathartic moment. If there is a flaw to be found in an otherwise consistently entertaining and impeccably crafted blockbuster it is that the special effects are strangely inconsistent. Moments of astonishing visual brilliance sit alongside some inexplicably shoddy throwaway bits and pieces. Nonetheless Watts pulls off some web-slinging action sequences here that are almost as dazzling as those found in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Yet it says a lot about the film's quality that the finale is less about one big noisy super-fight than reinforcing Spider-Man's desire to heal a motley collection of broken souls. Even when it costs him everything.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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