Saturday, February 5, 2022

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) - Review

spiderman green gobin no way home poster

Spiderman/Peter Parker just cannot get a break. He finally came to terms with being a superhero and even disclosed his secret to MJ (Zendaya). That is when the multiverse warriorQuentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal)  revealed Parker's secret to the entire world.
 
Peter finds himself the target of intense media scrutiny. By extension, MJ and Ned's MIT applications get rejected. Desperate for a solution, he turns to Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who proposes to use his powers to make everyone forget about Spiderman's secret identity.
 
Peter interrupts the spell many times, resulting in people from other multiverses popping up in this reality. Multiple supervillains show up, including Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) from the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy. We also have Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) from the Marc Webb/Andrew Garfield movies.

dr strange spiderman no way home movie poster
 
Dr Strange and Spidey manage to capture the supervillains one by one. It seems the villains were pulled in from their respective realities, just before they were about to die during their confrontation with the Friendly Neighborhood Webslinger. Dr Strange proposes to send them back to their respective universes, but Spiderman disagrees and traps the Sorcerer Supreme in the Mirror Dimension. 
 
Spiderman wants to cure the villains and succeeds with Doc Ock but his good intentions backfire when the Green Goblin persona takes over Norman Osborn and kills Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). A distraught Peter goes into self-exile. Ned uses Dr Strange's sling ring to find his friend. Guess who turns up instead  - Tobey Maguire (Peter 2) and Andrew Garfield (Peter 3) from their respective realities.

The rest of the movie is about how the three Spidermen work together to cure the remaining baddies with support from the now reformed Doc Ock. And yes, Dr Strange escapes from the Mirror Dimension and performs one final spells that makes every one forget the real identity of Tom Holland's Spiderman (Peter 1). He also sends back the other two Spidermen and others back.

Peter 1 continues to fight crime as Spiderman but decides not to reintroduce himself to Ned or MJ.

doc ock spiderman no way home poster wallpaper screensaver image picture

The movie works for the most part, mainly due to the return of actors from previous Spiderman movies and Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr Stephen Strange. Speaking of the former, like the movies themselves the actors also continue to leave similar impressions this time too. Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina continue to deliver stellar performances, even if it is almost two decades since the last time. Especially Willem Dafoe - he exudes innocence and menace as Norman Osborn and Green Goblin respectively. The transformation scene and the subsequent fight scene leading to Aunt May's death has to be seen to be believed. He is a gifted actor and has portrayed both heroic (Aquaman's mentor Nuidis Vulko) and villainous characters with ease. 

Same is true of Tobey and Alfred. They have a great reunion in the movie and the scene that is set to Danny Elfman's memorable soundtrack, should bring a smile to fans of the Sam Raimi movies. Additionally, all three of them get to repeat some of their memorable lines from the previous movies.
 
Tobey's Peter 1 is the mature one in the team and he imparts wisdom to Andrew's Peter 2, who suffers from inferiority complex. The conversation featuring the 3 Spideys is another great scene from the movie. Peter 2 and 3's responses to Peter 1's remark that he is part of The Avengers was gold.

Andrew's Spiderman finally gets some closure after rescuing Zendaya's MJ. Jamie Foxx is clearly channeling his Bats character from Baby Driver. Both Rhys Ifans and Thomas Haden Church make their appearance in the climax, as they are in their transformed personas for the remaining of the movie.
 
benedict cumberbatch spiderman no way home poster wallpaper screensaver picture image

And now coming to my favorite part of the movie - Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange. I think this is his best performance in the MCU so far; yes even better than his own standalone origin movie or Avengers: Infinity War. He did have a brief cameo in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, but those were too brief. For the first time, Dr Strange shows his sense of humor and that made the big difference. Dr Strange is clearly the next big thing in the MCU after Iron Man's exit and Benedict is settling well into the role.
 
 
His battle with Spidey is the best sequence in the movie and Michael Giacchino's background score lifts the scene to a different level. Interestingly, Michael will not be scoring for the next MCU movie: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Since Sam Raimi replaced Scott Derrickson, his favorite Danny Elfman has been brought on board for the composing duties. Let us see if they can recreate the magic of the Spiderman trilogy.
 
PS: Michael Giacchino has scored the soundtrack for the next Batman movie. He joins both Elfman and Zimmer as the composers who have worked on both Batman and Spiderman movies.
 

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Image Sources: Pascal Pictures, Marvel Studios, Columbia Pictures

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