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Spider-Man: No Way Home

Danny DeVito

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Just saw it today in my first trip to the theater in 2 years. My review:


The Good:

  • The soundtrack. Michael Giacchino seriously needs more love and recognition as a composer. Forget Me Knots is already one of my favorite movie scores.
  • Matt Murdock's cameo was a well deserved treat for Netflix fans. I'm okay with the screentime we got from him as the movie had enough to juggle. Between this and Kingpin in Hawkeye, it's made me look forward to actually seeing Daredevil.
  • I liked how they handled Dr. Strange here. While he was a bit careless with the spell process, I didn't feel it was out of character as he's always been on the arrogant side. The mirror dimension fight was visually amazing.
  • J.K. Simmons continues to do a damn good job as JJJ, they've essentially made him Alex Jones lol. I liked how his constant slander against Peter helped contribute to his arc throughout, plus the way Peter used him to lure all of the villains to the statue of liberty was clever.
  • Ned and MJ got a lot more to do here and I liked how they were used. It did a great job making me care about their relationships with Peter.
  • This was absolutely Peter's story foremost and helped fix some of the common criticisms people've had with the first two MCU Spider-Man movies. It feels like he's finally out of the Stark shadow now. 
  • Tobey and Andrew's returns as Spider-Man were both glorious... even if it was one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood. I'm glad they weren't there just because hey look nostalgia and actually serviced Tom's Peter's character development. Neither took away from his story I felt, as he was still the one to coordinate the overall plan. They played off of Tom well and they worked well together in the ending. The way they talked about their respective past movies was funny and nice bits of fanservice. Tobey played the older, chiller and mellowed out Spider-Man well, and Andrew had fun getting back into the groove. It was sweet they gave him a redemption here by having him save MJ, giving him a proper closure. It's nice that despite how that series turned out, they still cared enough to give that verse a satisfying epilogue showing they weren't playing favorites with either film series.
  • The returning villains were all handled and balanced as well as they could've been. I admit, I, like many, feared this film would potentially go down the same path that Raimi 3 and ASM2 did with trying to stuff too many villains in. Thankfully, it was handled much better than I anticipated. It helps the five were all directly connected to the central narrative. Shoutout goes to William Dafoe's Green Goblin who absolutely stole the show. It's terrifying how the man can still perfectly shift between innocent to a psycho monster snap, just like that. He retained his terrifying aura throughout, you never really knew when the Goblin side would emerge which added tension. I also loved what they did with Doc Ock, I'm glad he got to continue his redemption from where Raimi 2 left off and helped them in the end. Tobey seeing him again hit me right in the heart. Likewise, I'm glad they didn't ignore Sandman's redemption either and it does make sense why he turned on Peter as he did. It was a tad weird seeing him in CG the whole time, it appears they couldn't actually get Church onto the set or didn't feel de-aging (since his curing scene was reused footage from Raimi 3) but ultimately not distracting. Electro was much better here than he was in ASM2, I could tell Foxx had a hell of a time playing him and he was actually an interesting threat. Lizard I don't have as much to say about, but he served his purpose. If I was writing this movie I wouldn't know what else to have him do either.
  • May's death scene was absolutely heartbreaking and well done. The police surrounding the destroyed building, and Happy being apprehended, really added to the overall tension of the entire moment. I knew May's death coming but I didn't expect her to go out in that way. The way Peter consoled her was definitely a deliberate callback to Tony's death, and I also saw some shades of a certain Agents of SHIELD scene in there too, albeit entirely unintentional. The following scene where Peter's broken over her death and listening to JJJ's scathing broadcast is also up there as one of the best MCU scenes, powerful stuff.
  • The ending where Strange makes everyone forget Peter's identity. One of the saddest moments in all of the MCU so far and it was executed perfectly. Peter legit lost everything, showing the stakes that were on display here. His goodbye to MJ and Ned before they forgot nearly got a few tears out of me. I'm sure someday they'll remember, but I'm okay with them keeping this status quo change for a while as it opens a lot of interesting storytelling possibilities going forward.

The Indifferent:

  • The mid credit scene with Tom Hardy Venom. I understand why some might find this a copout but I wasn't personally bugged by it one way or the other. I understand they'd rather build their Venom own storyline from the ground up. Him leaving behind a new symbiote for them to work with felt like a fair enough compromise for now.

The Bad:

  • As usual some of the typical MCU humor and quips didn't quite land for me. I'm used to them by now so it's not a major deal breaker, but there were a few jokes that I felt dragged on just a bit too long for my liking. For example, the scene with MJ trying to prove Andrew was really Spider-Man I felt didn't need to be that long, we got the point. 
  • I guess act 1 could've been paced better? I also do wish the three Spider-Men got to fight Goblin more. Otherwise, I honestly don't have much else to complain about.

Overall, very pleasantly surprised with this. I had a great time. Definitely the best phase 4 film so far and I'm looking forward to where Peter's story in the MCU goes from here.

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One of the best MCU movies for sure. Absolutely an emotional journey that made me entertained and cried


JJS already said what I loved and disliked in the movie, so I'm gonna focus on the whole ending of it. The whole everyone forgetting who Peter is might as well be the worst thing that has happened in a superhero flick. I did not expect them to fully commit to it given MCU plays some things safe but nah, they legit went with the most depressing ending imaginable. Peter not only is forgotten, he lost everything and he is in a shithole of living in a bad apartment and the fact that he bought the apartment during christmas implies he really became a homeless person until christmas when he got the enough money to afford the place. And despite all that, he was optimistic about the future. It'd be really an amazing ending to Holland's Peter/Spidey if we didn't know there are gonna be more spidey flicks from mcu. So strap yourselves in.


Oh and Doctor Strange 2 trailer was absolutely bonkers. I'm so hyped.


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This is my thoughts on the movie, truncated from a longer blog post I wrote on my relationship with Spider-Man in general:


I watched Homecoming and Far From Home for the first time last year. Homecoming felt like a betrayal in many ways, because having Tony Stark buy Peter Parker these expensive new suits and try to mentor him into becoming an Avenger flew in the face of what I loved most about the character before then: his independence, his humility, his commitment to being "your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man", not the guy who fights these huge, global threats like all the other superheroes do. After seeing FFH, I finally started to warm to this new Spider-Man, even though I still didn't like him as much as the Spider-Man I grew up reading about in the comics and watching over and over on that VHS tape that's probably worn out now with how much I watched OG Spidey on it. No Way Home I expected to bring everyone back but I didn't expect it to affect me as much as it did when I watched it in a small local theater that's never packed but was as packed as I've ever seen it on a Saturday afternoon.

When I was asked to do a cultural story for my second creative writing class back in 2018, I had a lot of ideas, but the one I settled with was Spider-Man, because there hasn't been an element of pop culture that has stayed with me for as long as the web-slinger has. I think the growing trend of blockbuster movies relying on fanservice and people's nostalgia for the things they liked growing up instead of creating new things and forming new memories for the children of today isn't great, but screw it, I got to see Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland as Spider-Man on the screen at once, so I'm not going to complain.

Watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on a train ride to Philadelphia this last summer is what made me fall back in love with Spider-Man after falling out of love with it as a teenager. I think it's a better movie than NWH, as it's one of the most visually stunning films I've seen period, including superhero movies, action movies, and all that, and the story was a little better, too. However, I've never seen a movie that made me feel the way No Way Home did, which brought some of the few positive memories I have of my childhood flooding back (and one of the more negative memories of my adulthood), and I don't believe there will ever be a movie that makes me feel that way again. I could go on and on about the plot and the characters and the visual effects, but there's plenty of other places you can read about them, and they frankly weren't the things I was thinking about when the credits finished rolling (and the the post-credits, because it is a Marvel film, after all).

So, I give it a 5/5, two thumbs up, and a standing ovation, and even though it's not a good time to go to a theater, I'm happy I made the trip and paid the inflated movie prices to watch this. What people said about seeing Avatar and Endgame in theaters is exactly what I felt watching this, and the personal connection made it all the more special to me.

Now that I've said all I wanted to say, I'm going to retire from movie criticism after this brief return. Maybe I'll unretire again in the future, idk. Writing these things is hard. That's enough, true believer!

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