REVIEW | Spider-Man: No Way Home
With mild spoilers
What sets Peter Parker apart from the Frank Castle’s and Wade Wilson’s of the Marvel Universe? Spider-Man: No Way Home spectacularly answers that. At his core, he is a hero who doesn’t take lives but not without feeling anger and frustration in the face of evil. Then, there’s that slogan “With great power comes great responsibility” that has been an incessant chant across all of its iterations. This is probably why the Jon Watts-helmed Spider-Man movies took their time to get this point across lest its meaning would be cliched.
So how do they tell Spidey’s mission statement for the nth time without making people cringe? The film not only plays on the sandbox of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also those of the previous worlds Sam Raimi and Mark Webb built. Aligning with MCU’s direction towards the introduction of the multiverse, Spider-Man: No Way Home revolves around a magic spell gone wrong, attracting villains who know Peter Parker’s secret identity from different universes.
While some people might think this is fan service, the movie does adapt the storylines from the comics - Dan Slott’s SpiderVerse and the infamous One More Day by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada, where the demon Mephisto undoes the public identity of Peter Parker. The former was loosely adapted by the Oscar-winning animated feature Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse so it is great to see that Spider-Man: No Way Home also captures the fun and excitement of seeing different versions of Spider-Man interacting with each other while imparting lessons, especially on dealing with grief.
It is also a blast to see Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina return to their iconic roles of Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. As for Electro, Spider-Man: No Way Home improved Jamie Foxx’s character, and brought closure to Max Dillon, as well as the other CGI villains in the film. What is amazing is I could not see any plot hole in their return. The actors did their assignment even though they’re revisiting a role created more than a decade ago.
Apart from the theme of grief, the movie is also about friendship. Part of growing up is letting go of these relationships. In the comics, Spider-Man is a loner and most of the time has slipped into the funk to alienate his friends. The MCU version reflects Parker’s unfortunate trait on the big screen - now whether that decision is for good or ill, is a discussion we Spidey fans need to have over beer.
Ultimately, Spider-Man: No Way Home celebrates our love of Spider-Man across all generations and meta-speaking, productions. It’s every comic book fan’s dream manifested on the big screen. Watch it with your lola.
Spider-Man: No Way Home premieres in PH cinemas on Jan. 8