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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Spider-Man: No Way Home | Film

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Based on Comics by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Writer(s): Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers

Director: Jon Watts

Director of Photography: Mauro Fiore

Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jon Faveru, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon

Released: December 17, 2021

This film is a nice blend of Spider-Man universes and semi-introduction to the multiverse. I say "semi" because this is the first time the idea is really explored on the silver screen, but the MCU has been leaving bread crumbs about this for a little bit now.

Rating: Recommended if you have spent any amount of time in the MCU and/or seen any of the other Spider-Man movies.

This is the third of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies and it picks up right where Far From Home left off - everyone knowing who he is thanks to Mysterio. I liked how they let the scene with Mysterio revealing Spider-Man's identity play over the Marvel logo and some of the opening credits, because it really gives the audience an opportunity to settle back into the world that Marvel has created.

SPOILER WARNING: This blog post does contain spoilers, therefore you should not read past this point if you do not wish to be spoiled...

The trailer did not keep it a secret that there would be characters from the other live-action Spider-Man movies in this one. There was a small amount of speculation as to whether or not we would actually see all three Peter Parkers. The way that we get introduced to each of our previous Peters set up the story well and it also set up each Peter to be able to advise the MCU Peter to make different choices than the ones that they had made in their own universes.

The ambiguity of "the villain" in this story is a very nice touch. Technically, we had the mixed bag of known villains from the MCU and other universes. But I would argue that they way Doctor Strange is presented at one point, that he could be considered a villain for this story, as could the MCU Peter Parker. Now, part of the MCU Peter's "villain" presentation comes from how Mysterio sets things up at the top of the film, and J. Jonah Jameson - portrayed by J.K. Simmons in both MCU and Sam Raimi universes - continues to drive this perspective bus for the majority of the film. And there is basis for the idea that J. Jonah Jameson (aka the media) is one of the villains. McKenna and Sommers really test the boundary of "what is a villain", which created an engaging story.

Through that boundary test, we get to see the over arching theme of second chances. The dominoes started to fall all because Peter wanted to get MJ and Ned a second chance with their dream college that was denied because of him. The story is pushed along because Peter decides it's worth trying to cure the villains that crossed over into his world before sending them back to their own. And brining in the other two Peter Parkers also deepens the roots of the second chance theme with the opportunities they had to "get it right" again - ie. Garfield's Peter getting another chance to save "Gwen Stacy" (MCU MJ) and Maguire's Peter getting to help Holland's Peter in the struggle with Norman Osborn.

"With great power comes great responsibility"

That quote is so well known in the Spider-Man universe - honestly, in the whole superhero universe. It created a great moment between the three Peter Parkers. It did solidify that Aunt May was going to die. Because they did give us a slight amount of hope that she would survive, but the moment she said that line - I knew she wasn't going to make it. I do think it's interesting that the MCU waited so long to share this iconic part of Peter Parker's journey. At the same time, I think it works really well for them that they waited.

Let's discuss the ending for a moment. Specifically when Peter goes to visit MJ at her job with the clear goal of starting to help her remember him again. I think it further shows the growth that Peter experienced in this installment, that he chooses to not share what he had written down with her. It appears that he is going to try to slowly reintroduce himself, and hope that she will choose to be a part of his life again. And I think it's interesting that he doesn't try to engage with Ned. I think it would have been a little overwhelming for the scene if he had, but it was clear that his intentions when he walked in was to seek out MJ.

Overall, this is an enjoyable story. It tugs at your heart strings and leaves the door open for more stories to be told, but not so wide that you would be disappointed if it ended here.

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