No Way Home manages not to tangle itself in its elaborate multiverse web

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By James Magee, First Year, Politics and Spanish

‘The best film ever made’ - how I’ve heard multiple people describe No Way Home over the last few days, such is the enormity of its release.

Hollywood great Paul Thomas Anderson claims that it may just be the thing that saves cinema by drawing mainstream customers back to their local multiplexes. Although this declaration is cheaply thrown around, having now watched NWH twice, it’s entirely understandable why fans are so content with what the filmmakers have delivered.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures

Without doubt, this is a feature made wholeheartedly for Marvel comic and movie enthusiasts alike, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer more casual viewers. Given the cliff-hanger ending to 2019’s Far From Home, it’s difficult to grasp the plot if you haven’t seen either of the previous Spidey entries into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). However, this threequel starts by picking up where Far From Home left off in comedically chronicling the high-school adventures of Peter Parker, one of the key things that made the first two films so enjoyable for all audiences.

As such, it’s a bit of a shame when the focus shifts halfway through the first act onto higher stakes. A botched spell made on Peter’s request by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) leads to an outbreak of multiverse mayhem, blurring the lines between the worlds of this Spider-Man and those of previous iterations made by Sony over the last 20 years. The result is villains from the past – including Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) from Sam Raimi’s original trilogy as well as Jamie Foxx’s Electro from Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films – popping up to battle with the webslinger, now played by Tom Holland.

Courtesy of IMDB
Jon Watts faced a huge task in combining three separate ‘spider-verses’ into one film and his efforts are stellar.

He continues his tendency to poke fun at Raimi and Webb’s movies without undermining the final product, demonstrating skills that will surely propel his status to being considered among Hollywood’s elite when it comes to helming blockbusters.

While the film isn’t quite as narratively tight as Watts’s two previous instalments (most of the plot-holes are brought about by Doctor Strange and his magic spells), the director does a terrific job in executing what has never been attempted in live-action cinema on this scale before. The film sprouted in me a very similar reaction to when I first saw Avengers: Endgame – more than anything, an appreciation of how they could pull off such an ending to please all fans.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures 

It may have been short of one extra twist to add to the intricacy of the story, but all-in-all, the film is greater than the sum of its several, interdimensional parts. Crucially though, it manages to maintain its heart amid all the chaos ensuing onscreen: the trials that Holland’s character faces with his relationships and ambitions. Watts makes sure that fan service doesn’t come at the expense of his central storytelling, thus allowing him to deliver a satisfactory conclusion to his trilogy that neither of his predecessors could, all the while leaving us excited for what the future holds for our friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man.

Featured Image: Sony Pictures, IMDB


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