Tornado swirls of sand/debris, green lasers and metal claw arms surround a man crouched, wearing a metallic spiderman costume (red, gold and blue)
Credit: CNET

Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home

By Marine Ourahli

The newest Spider-Man installation doesn’t stick.

Marine is not impressed by the latest from the Marvel movie machine which saw Peter Parker bring in the profits as well as the poignancy.

The long-awaited Spider-Man: No Way Home arrived in cinemas after breaking records with its trailer being viewed 355.5m times in 24 hours, beating the record previously held by Avengers: Endgame (289m views). The film aimed to be the perfect madeleine de Proust for Spider-Man fans, reuniting the great villains that defined Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films. No Way Home had the heavy task of recapturing the interest of the public in the MCU’s-currently-unfolding, chaotic-phase four (last year saw the release of the very average Black Widow and the critically panned The Eternals). Now, I’m not a big fan of Jon Watts’s Spider-Man films (Homecoming was nice like the rest of the Marvel productions and Far from Home was passable but ultimately forgettable), so I wasn’t expecting much from this third film despite the promises that the various trailers made. I was quite scared of how Marvel was going to integrate the multiverse into this narrative, especially when this kind of exercise had already been done brilliantly in the animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse (2018).

Enough time has passed since its release, so without fear of spoilers, we can talk about the film at last. To be honest, I personally didn’t particularly like it and I don’t think I will see it again. The film lasts two and a half hours and I found its pacing very uneven. The climax takes a long time to arrive and is not that exciting. The scenario erased all drama and notion of stakes, and the characters that were not taken from the films of the past were erased and rendered non-existent. The moments that could have brought emotion to the story were flat and the qualitative performance of the actors was not enough to move me. The multiverse is presented as a pretext for slapdash fan service, driven by a fanfiction-like plotline. The villains drawn from the broader Spider-Man universe are bland, drained of the magnificence that Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s direction brought to them. This film is a perfect representation of the outrageous and unhealthy exploitation of nostalgia that is taking place in cinema today. The figures brought back from other films are not used to serve a new reading or reinvent the characters but to extinguish them; they are merely audience winks that do not transcend. The sets were almost all done in special effects, giving an aesthetic at times worthy of video game cinema, and such artificiality made the film cold and difficult to watch. The photography did have a few flashes of brilliance but they were minimal compared to the rest of the film. ​​

The film also exists to tease us about the future Doctor Strange film coming out in May, also directed by Sam Raimi – let’s hope it will be up to the standard of the director’s older filmography. However, admittedly, I have little hope for its delivery considering the quality of recent Marvel productions.


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