Spider-Man: No Way Home Review Showtimes for Spider-Man: No Way Home

 Spider-Man: No Way Home Review -- An Impossible Triumph


Zendaya and Tom Holland swing into action in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Marvel

If you thought this was going to be the biggest Spider-Man movie ever, you might be right. With at least five villains, rumors of returning Spider-Men, a record-breaking trailer and the concept of the multiverse opening it all up, Spider-Man: No Way Home plays just about every trump card it has to claim the title of next Avengers: Endgame.

For the most part, everything works. Just make sure you've seen all the previous Spider-Man movies. Despite an inevitably tangled web of characters, backstories and motivations, No Way Home manages a surprisingly tidy plot if you understand where each player comes from. Watch Spider-Man's back-catalog and you'll be in the know as to why the people at the back of the theater are cheering at any given moment.

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And if you're not intimately acquainted with two decades of previous Spider-Man films? If you're here for simply a well-oiled and entertaining Marvel (and Sony) flick, you won't be disappointed. You might not fully appreciate the scale of what's essentially the live-action equivalent of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, aka the best (or second-best) Spider-Man movie ever. But you'll be treated to likeable heroes with relatable character development; slick, dynamic actions scenes; weird, wacky humor; high stakes; powerful emotional punches; and at least one incredible one-liner, delivered by Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) of all people.

Basically, this is the Tom Holland Spider-Man movie that feels most like the previous Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield installments. Director Jon Watts deals with real consequences, a darker tone in general and a recognizable New York setting (with a few Marvel Cinematic Universe touches). In other words, the third Holland entry truly makes up for the filler that was Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Marvel/Sony

The basic premise sees Peter Parker deal with the fallout of events right at the end of Far From Home. His secret identity is known to the public, combined with the small (fabricated) detail that he murdered Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Now, with a savage media after him, fronted by the glorious (but underused) J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), Peter must adjust to a difficult existence chased into the uncomfortable spotlight of the public eye.

If you gathered this plot point from the record-breaking trailer, you could argue it isn't reason enough to warrant Peter's next decision: going to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and requesting the sorcerer cast a spell that reverses everything back to normal. This idea begins as sweet hijinks in keeping with the John Hughes-influenced high school fun 'n' games of Holland's first two outings. But what follows is a surprising, expectations-toying spectacle with a deeper thematic heft.

Electro, Sandman and The Lizard.

Marvel/Sony

Marvel advertised the inclusion of returning villains, including the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) and The Lizard (Rhys Ifans). Maybe this was to warn you to study up on their backstories. Only one or two lines are provided to explain why each villain reacts in they way they do to a storyline that plunges them in a different universe.

Doctor Octopus.

Marvel/Sony

The standouts are the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. Thanks to Marvel's digital de-aging technology, Dafoe and Molina mostly look like they did nearly two decades ago when they appeared in Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy -- mostly, because sometimes it looks like an Instagram beauty filter has been placed strategically over certain parts of the screen.

The visual effects in general have been parceled out and tapered down, so that we don't have to sift through the effects-heavy murk-storm of Far From Home. The action scenes, featuring hand-to-hand combat, feel more practical and visceral. Grittier, sweatier, bloodier. A first-person perspective straps you in for a dizzying ride with Spider-Man swinging from A to B. Small details, such as Peter using his webs to grab things around Aunt May's apartment, add welcome charm and color. This time, Peter also exercises his Spidey senses, so that the often-joked-about "Peter tingle" is now a real asset -- one that we can finally feel too, via sound effects and a close-up on Holland's face.

A sequence with Doctor Strange is not only trippy and eye-popping, but it gives Peter a chance to use his other superpower: his brain. Holland's iteration, while younger than the previous two, rarely has the opportunities to utilize this less-flashy asset. A scientific prodigy in the comics, Holland's on-screen version verged on being painted as a frustratingly naive and gullible athlete. But this time around, he fares much better (though Spidey's trademark quips, apart from one scene with Doc Ock, are still sorely lacking).

Holland also gets to showcase his dramatic acting talents, more than just his effortless likability. The darker, PG-rated material pushes Holland to burning, emotional places. His eyes flicker with the difficult moral decisions nagging Peter. Special mentions go to Zendaya and Jacob Batalon (Peter's best friend, Ned). MJ has much more to do this time around, despite playing Peter's girlfriend and inevitably finding herself falling from a tall building in the third act. MJ is even gifted a thread of character growth. But be warned, such gifts can so quickly be taken away (sigh).

The camera work is slicker, the dialogue is snappier and the inner turmoil of our hero churns nicely along. A Russo Brothers influence can almost be felt ushering Holland's third Spider-Man escapade into new, weightier territory. If the character is to become the next Tony Stark, this is the way to etch a few more scars into a more interesting hero's facade. 

In other words, if you came for the biggest movie of the year, you'll definitely leave satisfied.

Review: A Spidey Sense Overdose In 'No Way Home'

Spider-Man movies have come in such flurries over the last two decades that you could almost tell time by them

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Spider-Man movies have come in such flurries over the last two decades that you could almost tell time by them. Who needs the long centuries of the Triassic, Jurassic and the Cretaceous, when, in the span of just one generation you can have the Tobey epoch, the Garfield era and the Tomozoic?

The franchise's constant (and contractual) regenerative velocity has by now become a familiar punchline. But in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the distinct, if cluttered, time zones of Marvel's webslinger overlap and collide in ways that are often entertaining and likely to be satisfying to fans, even if they still lack quite the Spidey sense tingle they're designed to provide an overdose of. This movie is like two Spider-Man jabs and a booster all in one. In its retrospective sweep and supergroup construction, “No Way Home” is Spidey's own “Endgame."

That also means it comes with plenty of twists that, if you don't want spoiled, you really ought to see the movie before reading reviews like this one. The clever reveals and appearances of “No Way Home” are so much a part of its fabric that's it's difficult to consider the movie without referencing some of them. In a message before the film, Jamie Foxx (who played the villain Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) warns of revealing spoilers before it's pointed out that he, himself, is a spoiler.

Jon Watts' “No Way Home” begins as its two previous installments, also directed by Watts, did: with the breezy high-school vibe that has characterized Tom Holland's reign as Spider-Man. It's been a chapter defined by Holland's wholesome charm. He's a pleasant, if somewhat vanilla Spider-Man, who has sometimes seemed most suited to the role offscreen, as student to Robert Downey Jr. And in his genial, goofy media appearances. But Holland's earnest, easy manner has also lightened the sometimes heavy load of Marvel movies, and his mostly winning albeit easily forgotten Spider-Man films have been refreshingly unencumbered by the larger franchise's exposition-leaden, interconnected apparatus.

“No Way Home” picks up precisely where 2019's “Far From Home” left off: Outside New York's Penn Station, where Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio revealed Peter Parker's identity just before perishing. The new notoriety brings news helicopters hovering over Peter's apartment and disrupts his previously clandestine relationship with girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon). They are on the cusp of getting into MIT (Paula Newsome is especially good as a college admissions officer), but Mysterio has made Peter a divisive figure. Our stay in Midtown High School, where Peter is mobbed, is brief — too brief, considering the teaching staff includes JB Smoove, Hannibal Buress and Martin Starr.

Wanting his old anonymity back, Peter turns to Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange, who summons an amnesia spell that goes awry. Instead of wiping the memory of those who know Spider-Man's secret, it conjures villains from Spider-mans past, opening portals between parallel universes — which in this case means between movies. Electro, Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Lizard (Rhys Ifans) tumble forth like dazed travelers who took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

By opening pathways of connection between the Spider-Man films, “No Way Home” binds together a much-remade fictional universe with a new spirit of cohesion and a warm bath of fan service. If we are stepping between movies, it's tempting to want some of the portals to lead into other films — to Cumberbatch's character in “The Power of the Dog” or Andrew Garfield in “Tick, Tick ... Boom!” Or better yet, Dafoe's mad wickie in “The Lighthouse." Now that would be meta.

Really, it was the Chris Miller and Phil Lord-produced “Into the Spider-verse” that opened this gateway by riffing metaphysically with the webslinger. “No Way Home” adopts some of that comic energy but doesn't have the same whip-smart, freewheeling uninhibitedness. If “Spider-verse” was about how anyone can be Spider-Man, “No Way Home” is a more authorized Spider-Man compendium; its tone leans more operatic than antic. Still, Watts has a human touch that can be lacking in superhero films, and nearly all of the actors who appear in “No Way Home” come across as individuals despite the high-concept narrative.

It also offers a more direct compare and contrast between our three Spider-Men, each a variant of the same theme. The Sam Raimi films, with Tobey Maguire — or at least the first two — are still top of the class. But while Garfield's pair of movies are probably the easiest to dismiss, it's his appearance here that's the most potent. Not because he's at home as Spider-Man but because he isn't. Now seven years older and doing some of the best work of his life, a more mature Garfield exudes something that doesn't enter into this ever-recycling, short-term-memory franchise — that there is life after Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a Columbia Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. Running time: 150 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

T-Mobile Subscribers Can Get Spider-Man: No Way Home Tickets For $4

We are now just hours away from the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Marvel fans have been waiting all year for this moment, and on Thursday, they will finally learn everything there is to know about the multiverse. But unlike Black Widow, the new Spider-Man won’t be streaming on release day. If you want to see it, you will have to buy a ticket. Tickets aren’t cheap though, especially in big cities, and you might be looking to save up for the holidays. But what if you could snag a ticket for just $4? That’s what T-Mobile and Atom are offering for No Way Home as part of T-Mobile Tuesdays.

Don't Miss: Tuesday’s deals: $179 AirPods Pro, $20 Philips Sonicare toothbrush, KN95 masks made in USA, more

Today's Top Deals

If you’re a T-Mobile or Sprint subscriber, the first step is to download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app from the App Store or Google Play. It’s free, and it gives you access to a bunch of free stuff.

Once you have the app on your phone, create or log in to your T-Mobile account. Check the available freebies under the home tab. You should see the following freebies in the app this Tuesday:

  • $4 Atom Movie Ticket to Spider-Man: No Way Home

  • Wendy’s Restaurant: Any Breakfast Sandwich

  • 1-Month Marvel Unlimited Subscription

  • Click on ‘Save’ next to the offers you want to take advantage of, then head to the ‘My Stuff’ tab. From there, you’ll be able to redeem the offer to buy your $4 ticket through Atom. Seating might be hard to come by, but it’s going to be hard to beat a $4 seat if you can find one.

    We actually had the chance to see the movie earlier this week at a press screening. Here is an excerpt from our spoiler-free review of Spider-Man: No Way Home:

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    It would be a big understatement to say that No Way Home shatters the fourth wall. Those frequently make for some of the movie’s best, funniest, and most exciting moments. They also threaten to throw off the delicate balance of what is in many ways one of Marvel’s darkest stories. Even with Endgame in the rearview, there are moments in this movie that will leave audiences devastated. Of course, Marvel has a knack for knowing when to knock you down and when to pick you up again. Most times, No Way Home strikes that balance well. Others, not so much, and I could see the spell breaking for less-than-diehard fans. You really have to buy in to franchise-spanning fiction for it all to land.

    Spider-Man: No Way Home finally comes to theaters on December 17th, 2021. Early screenings begin on Thursday afternoon, so get your tickets soon to avoid being spoiled.

    See the original version of this article on BGR.Com

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