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Spider-Man: No Way Home

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand in every conceivable sense of the word, and has now ventured beyond the big screen. Along with the ever-growing collection of films, we now have series such as WANDAVISION, FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, LOKI, and HAWKEYE. With an endless supply of projects besieging us at every possible turn, it’s growing increasingly difficult to be overly excited about what comes next.

Maybe this was the reason that I wasn’t exactly elated about the prospect of another Spider-Man movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Tom Holland’s run as Spidey, and every MCU film he has appeared in has been spectacular. It’s just that the super-hero market has become so saturated, nothing about it feels new or refreshing.

At least, that’s what I thought.

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME is every bit as thrilling, hilarious, and action-packed as the MCU has had to offer to this point. It is like a collection of the web-slinger’s greatest hits, unfolding in a way that feels neither tired nor placating.

NO WAY HOME begins immediately where the mid-credits scene of FAR FROM HOME left off. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) has just proclaimed to the world that Peter Parker (Holland) is Spider-Man, and that the once beloved hero is actually a teenage psychopath. Peter instantly becomes the most famous person on the planet, and while MJ (Zendaya), Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) already knew the truth, the rest of the world must now come to grips with the revelation.

The ramifications of the unmasking ripple well beyond Peter’s life. Based on their association with Spider-Man, MJ and Ned are denied entry into MIT, and though they put on a brave face, Peter knows that his choices will now follow them for the rest of their lives. Desperate to undo the damage he has caused, Parker enlists the help of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch.) He begs the wizard to perform a spell that would make the world forget who he is, unleashing a cataclysmic set of events that that will impact not only their lives, but the entire multiverse.

It’s not often that a superhero adventure delivers the type of fan-serving surprises that NO WAY HOME does for the entire duration of the film. If, by some miracle, you haven’t been privy to these revelations by now, I’m certainly not going to spoil them for you here. For those, like myself, who tried every way possible to avoid trailers and theories, what unfolded on the screen was a sheer delight. The entire cast was remarkable, including a number of performers who certainly deserve to be recognized here, but who I am reluctant to praise based on my aforementioned spoiler-free promise. These turns gave the audience something to cheer about. And, I mean that literally. In the packed screening I attended, there were multiple times in which the entire audience erupted in rapturous applause.

Despite the innumerable action sequences we have seen in Marvel films since IRON MAN debuted in 2008, there are moments in the MCU that continue to amaze, and there is more than one sequence in NO WAY HOME that fits this bill. I was lucky enough to watch it unfold in the 4DX theater within Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA, and judging by the reactions of my entire family and the rest of the capacity crowd, everyone was blown away. “More than just a movie” seems like a cliched tagline, yet, as I was gripping my seat as it soared with Spidey, feeling the wind on my face, and the blasts of air behind my ear, I came to a simple and joyous realization; THIS. IS. FUN. For any movie lover in your life, this is something that you need to experience. There’s simply nothing like it.

If, as has been rumored, this is the last time we will see Tom Holland as Peter Parker, there is no arguing that he went out on top. While it seems reactionary to proclaim that the most recent installment is the best Spider-Man film to date, it also seems very fair at this point in time. Delivering on all of the aspects that has allowed the MCU to remain the premiere franchise in filmmaking today, NO WAY HOME proves to be one of the best blockbusters of the year.

(Now showing in theaters.)

RUN TIME: 2h 28min
GENRE: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
STARRING: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch
WRITERS: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Stan Lee


Brian Miller