Movie review: 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' fulfills fans' fantasies

Fred Hawson

Posted at Jan 09 2022 09:06 AM

A scene from 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.' Handout
A scene from 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.' Handout

After his secret identity as Spider-Man was revealed to the world, the life of Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and those of his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and best friend Ned Leeds (Jason Batalon) were thrown into a serious mess. Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) agreed to cast a spell so no one will remember that he was Spider-Man. However, Peter's constant interference caused the spell to get corrupted, thereby summoning everyone who knew Peter from other dimensions to enter his current world. 

With this script written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, director Jon Watts was able to even supersede the other two very popular and profitable Tom Holland Spider-Man films he had previously helmed, namely "Homecoming" (2017) and "Far for Home" (2019). The very inventive scenario set up the possibility of bringing back into this current series any character from the very rich and diverse Spider-Man cinematic universes over the years. And believe me, they definitely brought back a lot of surprise goodies for us fans. 

Tom Holland's dorky portrayal of Spider-Man had been a fan-favorite ever since his first appearance in "Captain America: Civil War" (2016). He goes all out here with the energetic action and cheesy humor he's known for. We understand him for those wishy-washy moments that nixed Dr. Strange's first spell, or his sincere idealism to reform villains which further complicated all plans and even led to a painful tragedy. Holland always projected that certain vulnerability which made us all want to sympathize with him and root him on. 

As was already seen in the trailers, several villains from Spider-Man films past once again reappear to wreak their havoc onscreen -- Green Goblin from "Spider-Man" (2002) played by Willem Dafoe, Doctor Octopus from "Spider-Man 2" (2004) played by Alfred Molina, Sandman from "Spider-Man 3" (2007) played by Thomas Haydn Church, Lizard from "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012) played by Rhys Ifans, and Electro from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014) played by Jaime Foxx. Seeing them trade wicked wisecracks was a lot of fun. 

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The best surprise of all came at around an hour and a half into the film when Andrew Garfield (of the Marc Webb series) and later Toby Maguire (of the original Sam Raimi series) made their much-rumored-about guest appearances. And mind you, these were by no mere cameos. These two actors stayed on interacting and fighting bad guys along with Tom Holland up to the climactic battles. More special were those sentimental references back to their own series which brought in a lot of tear-jerking dramatic moments. 

This very entertaining movie is fan-service taken to the highest level. There were cheers when the special guest characters appeared, and with every cute or nostalgic memories they were sharing about their past histories. 

There were also cheers during the midcredits scene and the postcredits scene with more exciting surprises coming up next in the MCU. 

For Filipino Spidey fans, there is even the additional excitement of hearing lines in Tagalog. This was such a fun film with a well-plotted story and so full of heart, as only Marvel can deliver. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, “Fred Said.”