Web warrior spins a new crowd pleaser

Spider-Man: No Way Home (12, 148 Minutes)

As I sat uncomfortably in my broken seat, ‘lads’ refusing to put their masks on at risk of feeling emasculated in front of their oblivious girlfriends, a woman wheezing a haggard cough only a few rows in front, and with only a short number of days before my first proper period of meaningful, festive time with family in almost two years, I began to contemplate whether the arguably most anticipated film of 2021 was going to be worth the risk.

It was. Three lateral flow tests, two standing ovations, one stellar film and a partridge in a pear tree.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is Tom Holland’s third solo film as everyone’s favourite web slinger.

Framed as a terrorist, all Peter Parker really wants to do is go to college and do sweet couple stuff with his girlfriend, MJ (Zendaya).

After getting off the hook thanks to a lawyer with really bad eyesight (wink wink), Parker decides the answer to his problems is Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and, with puppy dog eyes, asks the sorcerer to cast a spell that will make everyone forget his identity as Spider Man.

But, as it always does, Peter’s naivety gets the better of him and he mucks up, opening portals to other worlds and splitting reality apart.

When I was you ger (so much younger than todaaay), the likes of William DaFoe and Alfred Molina’s Green Goblin and Doc Ock were the golden baddies for most people born in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. So, as you can probably imagine, there has been a lot of hype surrounding this film.

The idea of villains from across the years banding together is a wonderful premise and works really well here. Narratives are hard to keep on track as it is, and here it’s necessary that whilst the timelines are all over the place, writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have a hard task on their hands in staying true to what has come before.

Sure, there are gaps here and a few question marks there, but none of it seems to matter. Words cannot describe the satisfaction in seeing a set of metal, tentacle arms rising from smoke and Molina’s spectacles coming into focus.

Holland steps up a gear. It’s relieving to see him evolve from that dopey teenager into a man traumatised by the consequences of his actions. That level of character development will do the franchise a lot of favours in years to come.

Hold a gun to my head and demand for a teeny, tiny bit of criticism? It would have to be Jaime Foxx in his return as Electro. When we last saw him, he was a nerdy loser obsessed with Andrew Garfield’s Spider Man, whilst here we’re expected to believe that after his demise he was transported to an alternate universe and became…cool?

It was like watching Jaime Foxx play Jaime Foxx.

As any Marvel fan will know, stay until all the credits have rolled. That’s where the real treat is delivered.

Something tells me that the Marvel Universe is about to get a whole lot darker.

RATING: 8/10

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