Saturday, December 25, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Movie Name:
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, J.K. Simmons, Angourie Rice, Paula Newsome, Martin Starr, Hannibal Buress, Arian Moayed
Genre: Adventure, Action
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
The new Spider-Man film picks up its narrative directly following the events from the previous installment, "Far From Home", where Peter Parker's secret identity got exposed for the entire world to witness. As a direct result of this event, Peter's life, alongside his family and closest friends lives gets turned upside down, with all sorts of unwanted attention. Wanting to correct the situation Peter seeks help from Doctor Strange. He suggests performing a spell which will make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but as he's casting the spell, Peter keeps wanting to add some exceptions, until the whole process goes awry. Due to the spell collapse, other characters from other universes start coming into this one, with different villains making an appearance. As Peter is tempted to send all these characters back to their own universes, he suddenly realizes some of these individuals perished and had some sad demises. With the help of his aunt, he decides to change the fate of these individuals, and gets some additional unexpected assistance. 
"Spider-Man: No Way Home" continues the tone previously established by Jon Watts, which is not substantially different from the previous versions shepherded by Sam Raimi and Marc Webb, though these versions, particularly Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" veered towards campy, while Marc Webb's version never truly solidified a particular point of view for the lead character. Aside from the fact that in Jon Watts' take on the character, Tom Holland actually looks like a teenager, there's also been a narrative benefit in the fact that this character inhabits a reality where other superheroes co-exist, and where the consequences of certain events percolate across everyone's lives. What is less successful in these films, is the decidedly formulaic, and lack of dimension that is given to most of the lead and supporting characters. "No Way Home" does try to break away from the mold ever so slightly, by giving a more dramatic arc to Peter's story, and giving some extra dimension to the lives of the somewhat cardboard villains from previous features, but even then it never truly strays very far away from the formula Marvel has now established. These are films that continue to be impeccably assembled, with wonderful production talent, including great actors, which in this case includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe and Marisa Tomei, solid cinematography and score, from Mauro Fiore and Michael Giacchino respectively, however, and for all his proficiency, it's somewhat difficult to actually discern what Jon Watts' point of a view as a storyteller actually is. "Spider-Man: No Way Home" utilizes a narrative angle that is somewhat different than the previous episodes, but it's ultimately a film that continues to live by the same formula that Marvel has established so well, which while making some of these films fairly entertaining, also makes them somewhat generic (and some quite forgettable). Worth watching.