Review for Spider-Man: No Way Home
The twist in Spider-man No Way Home has to be the worst kept secret in recent cinema history, although to their credit, Sony did try and sit on the obvious for as long as possible. Indeed the Blu-ray artwork and sleeve blurb still sits on the secret as if it is precious gold. So for the five people that still don’t know, I’ll keep schtum about it in the review as well. If I do spoil anything, it’ll probably only be for the trailer of the film. You have seen the trailer at this point, right?
At the end of Spider-man Far From Home, Mysterio not only framed Spider-man for a crime that he didn’t commit, he unmasked him to the world as well. Now, not only has his life been ruined, with the authorities wanting to bring charges, the Daily Bugle website constantly demonising him, and his private life becoming a thing of the past, but the lives of the people he cares about have been wrecked as well. When his, MJ’s and Ned’s chances of getting into college vanish, some people would lose heart completely. But Peter Parker knows Doctor Strange’s address. All it will take is one spell to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-man. But the spell goes wrong, realities collide, and people start crossing the multi-verse. And even if Spider-man can find a way to deal with this brace of villains, the very fabric of reality is threatened.
Spider-man No Way Home gets a 2.39:1 widescreen 1080p transfer with the choice between DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround English and Italian, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround English Audio Descriptive, Czech, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Tamil and Telugu, with subtitles in English, Italian, Czech, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Icelandic, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian and Slovene.
I can say more about the audio options than I can about the transfer, which at this point in the Blu-ray cycle is nigh on flawless, the image is clear and sharp, with excellent detail, and the audio is wonderfully immersive, making the most of the action, and the music, while keeping the dialogue clear. The only nits to pick will be with the creative choices, and believe me, if you’re averse to excessive blue-screen in the movies, don’t watch the extras. To its credit, this film only makes that obvious in a couple of scenes, while the digital youthification used on some of the characters is getting pretty good now.
You get one disc in a BD Amaray style case. It seems that o-card slipcovers are a thing of the past from Sony. The disc boots to an animated menu, and a menu pop-up appears over the end credits (which contains a mid-credit sting, and ends with a trailer for the next Doctor Strange movie).
The following extras are on the disc...
Bloopers & Gag Reel (4:01)
Action Choreography Across the Multi-verse (6:25)
A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland (6:16)
Realities Collide, [redacted] Unite (8:09)
Graduation Day (7:07)
Enter Strange (5:04)
Weaving Jon Watts’ Web (7:18)
Alternate Reality Easter Eggs (4:41)
A Multi-verse of Miscreants (6:38)
A Meeting of the [redacted] – Heroes Panel (7:23)
The Sinister Summit – Villains Panel (8:44)
The Daily Bugle x3 (4:06)
Stunt Scene Previs x2 (3:31)
Theatrical Marketing Materials x3 (4:09)
It turns out that I love Spider-man movies. I always preferred DC to Marvel, and while the web-slinger might be the best known of the Marvel characters, he’s not my favourite either when it comes to the comics. When it comes to superhero cinema, Spider-man was part of the third wave of superhero films, which after the Salkind Superman movies and the Tim Burton Batman movies was the franchise alongside The X-Men that really established comic book films as a mainstay of the multiplex. For a long time, I thought that the Tobey Maguire movies were enough, and seeing the first Tom Holland film out of context didn’t quite work for me. But a lockdown entertainment desert got me buying the Blu-rays, and I wound up with all but one of the films on Blu-ray. Having seen them all, I find that of the 9, count them nine Spider-man films to date, only two of them have disappointed me. That’s a better success rate than any other franchise that I have encountered.
My favourite Spider-man movie thus far has been the outlier, Spider-man into the Spider-Verse, the animated movie that came out a few years ago and simply changed the game. The thing about comic books is that they are always being reinvented. Every few years a story will be reset and then start over again with new versions of the characters with new origin stories. And then there is the multi-verse concept, which can allow all these versions of the characters to crossover and interact. Crossovers and multi-verse fiction have been a mainstay in entertainment for quite some time now, and the animated Spider-man movie was pure catnip. So when the trailer for the third Tom Holland Spider-man movie dropped, featuring villains from the previous two live action movie iterations of the character, the excitement was palpable. It could have fallen flat, but if they got it right, Spider-man No Way Home would be the Best Spider-Man. Movie. EVAR!!!
They got it right. It could have been so easy to lose control of the film, indulge too much in fannish ideas and coolness for coolness’ sake. But Spider-man No Way Home gets the fundamentals right before it starts playing in its sandbox. It has the solid story, and it has the emotionally strong character arcs that it wants to explore. With this third film, you really get to see the character development pay off. In the first film, Spider-man had to get over his ambition to become Iron Man Jr. This third film is where he faces the challenges that will finally see him become the Spider-man we’re all familiar with. Peter Parker and his friends are looking to graduate high school in this story, and it’s a more personal graduation for Spider-man as well.
The consequences from the previous film catch up to the characters at the start of this film, and in that typical teenage way of looking for a shortcut to solving a problem, Peter puts into motion a string of events that will lead to tragedy. The universes start colliding, and people start crossing over, and not the kind of people that you want to see. But this film fixes a problem that comic book movies used to have twenty or so years ago. Back then, the bad guys always had to die to give audiences closure; that’s despite the fact that the bad guys always survived to fight another day in the actual comic books. The Batman movies and the Spider-man movies would always introduce great villains, only to see them breathe their last by the end credits.
A big part of Spider-man No Way Home is the idea of second chances, and with the likes of The Green Goblin, Doc Ock, and Electro now in this universe, Spider-man has a second chance of sorts as well. He now has the chance to save and redeem these characters, which given how all of the villains in the Spider-man franchise seem to have tragic and accidental origins, only seems fair. Of course by choosing that harder path, Parker takes on a dangerous burden. Not all villains want to be saved. Just as important, Peter Parker/Spider-man has issues to work through as well, a process that gives the character a degree of closure. Once you see the film, you’ll realise that the previous sentence means a lot more than at face value. Really, is there anyone who hasn’t been spoiled on this film yet?
Speaking of redemption, this film also manages to sort one of the crimes of the previous movies. The Amazing Spider-man 2 had its issues, and one of them was the character of Electro. In this universe Electro gets the visual design he should have had in the first place. Gone is that hideous neon blue look that came with a goofy character, and what we get here is a lot more interesting, rounded, and not hidden by luminous body-paint.
I have a new favourite Spider-man movie, and maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s another Multi-verse film. The animated movie was so cool, and this film takes much that was good about that, and adds all the good stuff about the live action franchises as well. The Blu-ray will only be bettered by the 4K disc, while the film gets a nice selection of extras too.