I suppose the first movie I’ve seen in the cinema since 2020 deserves a blog post!
Picking up at the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home, No Way Home begins with Peter Parker finds his life instantly thrown into chaos when his secret identity is revealed to the world. Upset that even Ned and MJ have been affected by this, Peter goes to Dr. Strange to beg his help in turning back time to fix it all. Strange offers him the option of forgetfulness instead, but the spell gets messed up by Peter’s adding exceptions to the forgetfulness and Strange has to contain the spell instead of unleashing it. Unfortunately, he didn’t contain it in time and the spell pulled in some rather unwelcome visitors from parallel universes…
Short opinion: I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would! Didn’t like the ending and I still don’t love Spider-Man as a character, but it is a solid movie overall.
- The almost 2.5-hour runtime of this movie worried me at first but it had a very good pace, moving along crisply. The first third of the movie was a tiny bit slow but this is probably because I’m not enamoured of the characters. Objectively, it does move along at a good pace.
- It was really a lot of fun to see Tom Holland’s Peter Parker alongside Andrew Garfield’s Peter and Tobey Maguire’s Peter. I was not at all surprised by the appearance of the other two because the early trailers featuring Doc Ock told me that if they were bringing back Alfred Molina as Doc Ock, and given that the MCU is moving in the direction of parallel universes or the multiverse, there was a 99% chance they would bring in the previous two Spideys. But knowing this did not at all impact my enjoyment of it. The dialogue and the interactions between the three Peters was great and I kind of want to watch all their scenes again.
- Tobey-Peter demonstrates that he shoots his webs directly out of his wrist instead of making web fluid and attaching the web shooters to his wrists and Andrew-Peter and Tom-Peter just goggle at him with a combination of curiosity, disbelief, amazement, and a tiny little bit of disgust. hahahah
- The Spider-Man “group therapy” scene where they have a semi-serious conversation. Said conversation included a rather funny bit where Tobey-Peter and Andrew-Peter commiserate over their backaches from all the swinging. There’s another part where Andrew-Peter seems a little down on himself and Tobey-Peter tries to encourage him, saying several times over that he’s “amazing.” (It’s funny when you remember that Andrew Garfield’s movies were specifically The Amazing Spider-Man.)
- The much more serious conversation early on where Tom-Peter learns that the other Peters also suffered grievous losses in their lives and they can relate to him more than he imagined, and that the other Peters want him to learn from their mistakes. Very well done.
- The “I always wanted brothers” line. Awww.
- This movie had a lot of fun dialogue in general.
- Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina as Norman Osborn and Otto Octavius. They gave really good performances, and it was a reminder of how effective they were as villains in the Tobey Maguire Spidey movies. Dafoe’s shifting between his cackling, evil alterego and his frightened, dazed self was very good. Molina’s change also from the cranky, mean villain persona to a calmer, nicer person was also well-acted.
- Considering the number of villains they pulled into the story (five) and that they had to juggle three Spider-Men along with MJ and Ned and Dr. Strange, the general plotline was easy to comprehend and it wasn’t difficult to follow. The three more interesting villains had more screentime than the other two, and they kept Dr. Strange’s involvement to a minimum so as not to distract from the main characters.
- Wong being Sorceror Supreme because Strange got blipped and vanished for five years was a great detail!
- I usually enjoy seeing Dr. Strange’s mirror dimension stuff so it was cool to have a bit of it in this movie. It’s a fascinating concept and makes for a great setting for a fight, and it’s also usually excellently-executed visual effects.
(Most of this is going to boil down to iffy story logic.)
- While we’re on the subject of the mirror dimension, it didn’t make sense that Tom-Peter could trap Dr. Strange in it. Strange controls everything in it, so how can someone else – especially someone who isn’t a sorceror – trap him by just webbing him to various pieces in the world??
- Dr. Strange also seemed a little too willing to help Peter at the start. It puzzled me that he would so easily agree to help when he knows full well that you don’t mess with time and such unnecessarily.
- How and why Peter could still control his body when Strange separated his soul from his body is also a puzzle, was never explained, and didn’t make sense.
- The primary complaint I have about this movie is that its ending is unsatisfactory. It makes some sort of logical sense within the story, yes. (I say “some sort” because how the spell works isn’t clear at all.) But they have essentially reset Peter Parker/Spider-Man – he’s back to square one, or even worse than square one. In the first two movies, he had his Aunt May, Ned, and MJ. He had relationships outside of his Spider-Man identity. And he had the Avengers as well. Now, at the end of the third one, he has none of them because everyone forgot him. They didn’t just forget that Peter is Spider-Man. They forgot that Peter even exists. He is completely, totally forgotten.
I thought they would just forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but no. Everyone has actually forgotten about Peter Parker. But… Why?? It doesn’t make sense. He sees Happy at his aunt’s grave, and Happy doesn’t recognise him. They chat, ask each other how they knew May. “Through Spider-Man,” is the answer from both. But… But… HOW did Happy know May if he doesn’t know Peter? Does that mean in Happy’s memories now, he has no idea who Spider-Man is, but Spider-Man somehow introduced him to May Parker?
Peter sees MJ and Ned at the shop where MJ works. They don’t recognise him at all. Does that mean he never went to school with them..? Has all his past been erased?
It’s well known that the MCU is headed towards the multiverse storyline. The Loki series ended with the multiple timelines being unleashed, and the next Doctor Strange movie is titled Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. It feels like they could have had No Way Home end with the multiverse being well and truly cracked open instead of this solution where it feels like Peter is being punished with the loss of everyone in his life. Are we going to have to follow him on yet another journey of revealing himself to his friends in subsequent Spider-Man movies…?
This ending negates half of Peter’s personal journey over the last two movies. His “hero” journey progresses, sure. But his personal journey – figuring out how to blend his private life with his anonymous public persona, and learning who to trust with the information – that’s all gone now. What a waste.
It’s too bad, because I did otherwise enjoy the movie. But an unsatisfactory ending does spoil the overall effect a little.
- Depending on how you look at it, this is either bad or good: As a result of the fun I had watching the three Spideys interact, I now want them all to be in future Spidey movies together. hahaha (But of course that’s not going to happen. The budget would be insane!)
- Some details were probably lost on me because I didn’t see the third Tobey Maguire Spidey movie, nor the first Andrew Garfield one, and I can’t remember much from the first two Tobey movies now – they were so long ago! The Lizard and Sandman (names I had to look up online) were just random characters to me. But at least I recognised the Green Goblin (Dafoe), Doc Ock (Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx), and they were more important so that worked out fine. The mid-credits scene was a complete nothing to me because I didn’t know the character(s). I had to look it up…
- The Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) cameo was pretty good. I didn’t watch the Netflix series he was in, but I know of the character. His short scene was fun. Especially when he caught the brick that came through the window behind him – and he’s blind. The astonishment on Peter’s face! hahaha
- I found it a little difficult to track which Spidey was which in the final battle because their costumes are so similar. But that’s a minor quibble. It didn’t detract from the whole, and it could be argued that the confusion is the point of it: three of the same character would indeed be generally confusing.