Spider-Man: No Way Home: [Grade: 91.25%]

Director: Jon Watts

Story By: Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers

Cast: Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Foxx, Alfred Molina, J. K. Simmons, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans, & Jon Favreau

* * *

I had a moment where I started to question the hype around this film across social media, but it did prove to be a solid film in the end. 

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Below are my grades for key components in #SpidermanNoWayHome that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.

* * *

Theme: A-

Plot & Story: B

Pacing: A

Character: A

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Worth the $$$

Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Rush

Marvel/ Spider-Man Fans: Worth the $$$

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TAKEAWAYS:

1. Sooo… was the Daily Bugle in front of a green screen, or was it a production? Or was that an editing mistake? 🤔

2. The entire scene at Ned’s Lola’s house is really cute. 😩

3. ANDREW GARFIELD! #LoveHim🙌🏾

4. This film has a runtime of 150 minutes that move in the same way that our protagonist moves—fast and fun with moments to catch your breath and admire what’s around you. 

I personally found the film to find its rhythm starting in Act 2, with Act 1 being a little too quick paced and choppy for the first 20 minutes or so. On one hand, I appreciated that pacing because it reflected what Peter Parker was actually going through mentally and emotionally with the current conflict of that Act. On the hand, and I think this is more of a plot issue than it is pacing, there was something about how other characters were used to transition from the anxiety pacing of the first 20 minutes—specifically when meeting with Murdock… It was like someone slammed on the breaks to only go from 60 MPH to 30…it just felt a little weird to me. 🥴

5. The messaging of the film that I interpreted felt a little forced. The core of the message is given to us in 2 different phrases—May’s “When you help someone, you help everyone…” and also her telling Peter “With great power comes great responsibility…” For Peter, I found the marriage of these 2 statements ultimately being a message about what people sacrifice/should sacrifice/how sacrifice looks in order to help/protect/support /prioritize (the well being of) others.

Now Spider-Man, the hero, already does this in nature, and Act 1 does a pretty decent job balancing Spider-Man and Peter embodying the theme in regards to the college letters. 

Act 2, despite things eventually coming together for the remainder of the film, is where the theme feels forced in order to move the plot. There is NOTHING that empathetic about Norman when he meets May that says “they can/should stay so we can help…” I was 100% with Dr. Strange. It felt stupid and very much aligned to that “white savior complex” idea. They are villains. They don’t belong where they are. It isn’t until Peters has his realization about Doc Ock where THAT direction made sense, and had there been a situation where the plot could’ve made it so that Peter was able to notice all of their “personal issues” to THEN move the plot to be about helping them with the issue before letting them go, that would’ve provided more cohesion and continuity with the theme for me. 

But the film does manage to eventually create a clear enough path of getting from point A to Z with the theme choice.👍🏾👍🏾

6. TOBEY! OMG! The nostalgia! And he looks good! 🙌🏾

7. I definitely appreciated Jamie Foxx’s comment about a Black Spiderman… because we all know Myles should’ve been in this film… 👀😒

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home is about Peter/Spider-Man having to address a variety of multi-verse problems he caused due to trying to handle a personal problem that was causing problems for others close to him. 

The story felt developmentally appropriate for the age group of the characters, and really sets the future films up for some really great storytelling, especially with Peter, MJ, and Ned. 

The second half of Act 2 + Act 3 were the strongest for me, and had just the right amount of action, comedy, and sentiment (I was not expecting to be crying in Act 3! I felt the people a few seats from me were talking about me when I grabbed the tissue LOL). 

Act 1 was “cute…” and I appreciated the film jumping right in with a problem, but the way all that tension and conflict just…dissipates… really messed with me. It was as if writers didn’t plan backwards with the resolution of the mess firsts, and then figuring out what the mess could look like in order to logically get out of it. It was just too sudden. 

Then the first part of Act 2, as I alluded with the theme… I am just not a fan of the idea that these villains needed “help” in the way it was delivered. It felt a little lazy to be honest. 🥴🤷🏾‍♂️

9. OOOOO that fight scene at the apartment was so intense. 😬😬😬

10. One element that I love about the Spider-Man story is the characters. Tom Holland is really carrying the Peter Parker character well, and I genuinely love seeing him as this character—he just seems to embody that “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” persona. Needless to say, Holland really moved the story well, and was the main reason I was in tears. 

Ned and MJ were also very enjoyable in this film. I will say that something felt a little off with the relationship between Ned and Peter. In many scenes, Ned looked like this 3rd wheel  (especially the scene where they find Peter on the roof… I wasn’t convinced that Peter was worried about Ned being there…)…and maybe that statement made about “the best friend” by Peter Parker 2 (or 3 LOL) was some foreshadowing that is supported by what I noticed?? We shall see. 

Also, it was really cute and wickedly fun (did I just say ‘wickedly’ LOL) to see Andrew and Tobey! It just took the fun factor of the film to a different level. 

And lastly, Willem Dafoe understood the assignment. I truly enjoyed him on screen as well. 👍🏾👍🏾

* * *

Overall #SpidermanNoWayHome gives Into the Spiderverse – meets Ghostbusters – meets Act 3 of Beauty and the Beast – meets To All the Boys: Always and Forever.

This was the first film I decided to see once my 10-day isolation period ended, and it was a really great re-entry to my theater experience. I do think that Myles should’ve been part of the trio, but I’m also aware that we don’t want to take the hype away from the current Spiderman that is Tom Holland…because we know that would’ve been social media gold LOL. BUUT, I was very happy to see Andrew Garfield. Like, the paychecks this man received in 2021… what a year for him! AND he’s just so likable! 

SN: Stay for the 2 post credit scenes… 

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