Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
December 16, 2021 5:38 PM - Subscribe

With Spider-Man's identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Directed by: Jon Watts
Written by: Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
posted by Brandon Blatcher (109 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
First comment spoiler free review: The film is a bit chaotic during the first third or so as it finds its footing. But hang in there, that time is spent setting up much of the rest of the movie. Once everything gels, things turn out amazingly well as Peter struggles against some of his biggest challenge ever.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:40 PM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


There was some real excitement at the reveals in my theater.

Overall I liked it, but it felt like the MCU really wanted to reboot Spider-Man after painting themselves into a corner with the Stark tech legacy and all that.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:58 PM on December 16, 2021 [5 favorites]


They have managed to retroactively fit happy endings on other movies made by other studios years earlier; such is the power of the Mouse.

Likewise an appreciative audience for the reveals where I was, including the first one, which was the most pleasantly surprising to me. If there was anything that let me down it was that the “they” in “they’re coming through” remained vague and undefined.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


I saw Rhino as one of the spider friends in the multiverse and other people apparently identified a guy with a spear (Kraven), Scorpion, and possibly black cat from silhouette. I expect we'll get a lot of easter eggs once everyone can pause and zoom and rewind in 4k at home.
posted by fomhar at 8:37 PM on December 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


I saw Endgame on opening night here in Edinburgh and the audience was happy but not especially vocal during the portals bit. But on the day after opening night for this movie, half the theatre cheered when Andrew and Tobey appeared. Spidey is just on a completely different level than the recent MCU cast!

Also pleased that my audience laughed at the "I'm something of a scientist myself" meme.
posted by adrianhon at 2:18 AM on December 17, 2021 [8 favorites]


Lots of gasps at the reveals in my theater too. My only complaint was that they never did the meme. (You know the one.) The credits song cracked me up. I also laughed a bit at the mid-credits scene but then couldn’t figure out how that particular character was affected by the spell. I didn’t see their last movie so I checked Wikipedia, which mentions Spider-Man at the very end. Still, it doesn’t quite make sense to me…
posted by web-goddess at 5:47 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


couldn’t figure out how that particular character

I thought it great that he was drawn in by the spell and just never interacted with the main plot at all; his whole connection to this multiverse-twisting magic was limited to a separate little world of post-credits scenes in two different movies.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:13 AM on December 17, 2021 [4 favorites]


I expect we'll get a lot of easter eggs once everyone can pause and zoom and rewind in 4k at home.

I’m sure within a few days Erik Voss is going to let me know what I am missing in there.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:14 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


they never did the meme.

They did do it, but they tried to be subtle and not lampshade it.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:22 AM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]


The credits song cracked me up.

That was "The Magic Number" by DeLa Soul off their classic album 3 Feet and Rising. Buy the whole thing, it's fantastic.

I didn’t see their last movie so I checked Wikipedia, which mentions Spider-Man at the very end. Still, it doesn’t quite make sense to me…

That was Venom, who is a combo of the human Eddy Brock and the alien Symbiote. Basically, the Symbiote (or a piece of it) is now in the same universe as Spider-Tom, which could be a lot of fun.

My favorite aspect of this movie was that it was hopeful, despite some very dark moments and I didn't realize how badly I needed that in a movie these days.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 AM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]


rewind in 4k at home

Greetings from Florida where our movie theaters are still ravaged by the virus (now with omicron!) with state laws preventing any mitigation. Do we know yet when the movie will be on disc or streaming? My wife and I are bitter-angry that politics and stubbornness are preventing us from safely seeing this in the theater. Same for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:59 AM on December 17, 2021


During the credit scene for Venom 2: Let There Be Child Appropriate Levels of Carnage, the symbiote explains that it has memories from all symbiotes, not just in this universe but in other universes as well. Presumably another Venom learned Spider-Man's identity, then this one remembers it enough to get pulled in.


New Sony titles hit Netflix approximately 18 months after leaving theaters, and it’s unclear how long No Way Home will stay there before heading to Disney’s streaming service.
posted by fomhar at 7:02 AM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]


Do we know yet when the movie will be on disc or streaming?

Disney got flamed for the simultaneous (if you coughed up the extra) release of Black Widow to Disney+. I believe the straightforward releases of Black Widow and subsequently Shang-Chi were 45 days after their theatrical openings.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:09 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


I didn’t see their last movie so I checked Wikipedia, which mentions Spider-Man at the very end. Still, it doesn’t quite make sense to me…

The post-credits scene in his own movie (which came out after we had seen trailers for this Spider-Man one and knew about the premise) had Brock suddenly shifting into a different world and seeing Tom Holland Spider-Man unmasked on TV. Here in the mid-credits scene he presumably gets sent back to the Sonyverse, never having interacted with the main plot of the movie.

It does bring up a bit of causality, though: Brock himself had never even heard of Spider-Man, so it’s not like he should have been caught up by the spell. Presumably it is Venom, fused with him, who was caught and Brock just dragged along haplessly.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:17 AM on December 17, 2021


For the two most recent Sony releases:
  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage was released in theaters on Oct 1, and became available to purchase on online services for $20 on Nov 23, 54 days later. It became available to rent some time after that, although the exact date isn't clear to me.
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released in theaters on Nov 19, and is still not available on online services, 30 days later.

posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the Venom info! I did see the first one but not the recent Carnage sequel. The bit about Venom having knowledge from other universes is the piece I was missing, when I couldn’t figure out why Eddie got sucked in by the spell.
posted by web-goddess at 10:07 AM on December 17, 2021


I haven’t seen the Venom sequel myself either, but I had heard about the post credits scene so I sought it out the way you do .
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2021


I keep seeing Amy Pascal on press junkets for No Way Home, and all I can think about is how much she looks like Liv Octavius from Spider-Verse.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2021


Mentally, I keep coming back to Spider-Toby and how he seemed to be a bit older and wiser, the dead of the group. His calm steady gaze as he prevented Spider-Tom from killing Norman Osborne spoke volumes.

We never saw Uncle Ben in Spider-Tom's universe, correct? Or much of anything about his early days?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:30 PM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]


Correct, I don't think his name is ever even mentioned.

Great seeing Tobey and Andrew Spideys again, but the cameo I'm most pumped about was Pete's "very good lawyer" Mr. Murdock!
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:40 PM on December 17, 2021 [11 favorites]


Went with three generations of the family and we all loved it. The first third of the movie was funnier than expected, with the half-expected cameo still surprising by coming way earlier in the movie than I was looking for it. I am a very good lawyer was an instant classic bit.

The second third was all action and magic and made me eager for the next Doctor Strange movie. It was also still unexpectedly funny at times, and each new character reveal was more interesting than it should have been.

The final third was tragedy and drama with some fun action pieces and genuinely moving moments. Losing Aunt May should have felt like fridging, but loss and guilt have always been defining aspects of the character, and as the multiple versions of Peter made clear, it wasn't always the women in his life that he loses.

The biggest surprise for me was how much time they really spent developing the relationship between the three Peters. It was fun, it was funny, it was way more touching than it had any right to be, and the action sequences with the three of them was a blast.

Can't wait to see it again. Would really like to watch the second post-credits scene with a remote control in hand, though. Like with the multiverse characters being pulled through in the movie proper, I got the sense in the Doctor Strange movie setup teaser that there were just too many Easter eggs flashing by for me to catch the half of them.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:38 PM on December 17, 2021 [7 favorites]


We never saw Uncle Ben in Spider-Tom's universe, correct? Or much of anything about his early days?

Ish. Uncle Ben is mentioned once, I think, and the bag Peter is carrying in Far From Home(?) had Ben’ initials on it. And there was a post hoc decision by Feige that canonically the little masked kid Tony saves at the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2 is a prepubescent Peter Parker.

And the reason why MCU Peter has a less detailed origin story is because we had seen that twice already in the fifteen years before Homecoming came out.

It seems few superhero movies since 1989 have been able to resist devoting the first third of the runtime to an origin story, no matter how well the audience knows it already.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:11 PM on December 17, 2021 [4 favorites]


I just don't understand how a person can be over age 7 and have a face like Tom Holland's, where he can look like such an incredibly vulnerable, sweet little muffin child. I hope Holland can find other ways to use his face so he can do other kinds of roles, but it's just astonishing.

This may be the first time I enjoyed Tobey Maguire in anything, there were good bits in his movies but I always thought him a little offputting. I never saw the Garfield movies, but I shall now think of him as Tall, Hot n' Twitchy Spider-Man.

There was a LOT of screen time with the three of them crying. A lot! It was kind of cool, in a, Hey, Anger is Not the Only Emotion Men Get to Have sense. They were a fun buddy team. The bit where all three were whooping and slinging together was cute and joyful. Spider-Bros!

I am glad Marisa Tomei got to utter that line and can now go do other projects, hopefully.

The end credits! I love that song, now I love this version of that song.

It makes sense that Sweet Muffin Child Spider-Man wanted to heal all the sad disturbed villains.

Mid/Post Credits scenes:
Don't really care about Eddie Brock but fine.

WANDA! AMERICA CHAVEZ! Please inject into my veins thank you.
posted by emjaybee at 9:53 PM on December 17, 2021 [12 favorites]


It's flat out greedy to want another morsel of fan service after this gorge, but I kept holding out hope we'd get a scene of Kirsten Dunst giving one of these many villains the classic "MJ with a baseball bat" treatment.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:08 PM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]


The character of Aunt May was deeply satisfying and moving in this movie. With her as Peter's guiding influence, it was his destiny to become Spider-Man. She did nothing but help and care in active way, it was who she was. So when faced with super natural threats, she did the only thing she could, help her "son," no matter the threats, to do the right thing. It made her death all the more painful, in all the best narrative ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:46 PM on December 17, 2021 [5 favorites]


I was not expecting that to be so emotional.

I was also not expecting the fairly young crowd at the theater to be that damn enthusiastic about returning heroes and villains from two franchises and very nearly twenty years ago. But they were! And even though I knew it was coming, I yelled when Doc Ock first appeared.

We never get all this without Sam Raimi, so, thank you, Sam, for ripping off enough of your Darkman shots to make the very first Spiderman also the first really decently good modern superhero film.

(I would also say that this movie showed a serious DC Timmverse influence. In the JLU animated world, most of the major supervillains are crazed with some kind of loss or damage, and there's always the yearning to fix them. I think it's fair to say that some of the villains here got major rewriting to be in need of "cure" rather than, I don't know, repentance.)
posted by praemunire at 12:38 AM on December 18, 2021 [9 favorites]


(Also, Peter's guiding influence always dies, and frankly it was more satisfying to have May die living out her principles than the way Ben went.)
posted by praemunire at 12:38 AM on December 18, 2021 [6 favorites]


May definitely got the best death, agreed. And though I snark, I was a little teary.
posted by emjaybee at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2021 [1 favorite]


Although Ben is little mentioned in the MCU, I suppose the standard trope of Ben dying due to the unforeseen consequences of Peter’s actions is transferred now to May: killed by Norman Osborn, who arrives via Peter’s botching of the spell.

Norman’s own story (when he is himself and not the Goblin) is kind of tragic; he mentions going to his house and finding someone else living there, and of course he mentions his son, seemingly nonexistent now (although that does raise the question of why Harry didn’t turn up as well. Of course, superhero movies get wobbly the more villains they pack in, so let us now praise Jon Watts for getting five active villains (and three Spiders-Man) into one movie and having it still work.

It pairs nicely with the most recent Hawkeye, where see the experience of being dusted from the point of view for someone who was gone for five years. I hope the MCU continues to give us the occasional ground-level view of people living through extraordinary events.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2021 [7 favorites]


Peter’s botching of the spell.

Can I just say, I'm Team MJ on this: Strange botched the spell.
posted by praemunire at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2021 [19 favorites]


I think it is a metaphor for anyone doing tricky work — coding, graphic design, baking — who is interrupted four times by the client to add last-minute adjustments and provisos.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:28 PM on December 18, 2021 [26 favorites]


Seen it twice now. It’s spectacular. It really makes for a satisfying wrap-up for the “Home” trilogy and also does a great job of paying tribute to the previous versions of the franchise. I suppose it’s incorrigibly fan-servicey, but as a fan I gotta say I’m happy to be serviced.

I think it also really highlights an aspect of Peter Parker’s character that I think has always made him one of the most relatable heroes ever, namely: his guilt/self-loathing about the effect he has on the people he cares about.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2021 [5 favorites]


I think it is a metaphor for anyone doing tricky work — coding, graphic design, baking — who is interrupted four times by the client to add last-minute adjustments and provisos.

Management of client expectations is part of the job!
posted by praemunire at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2021 [13 favorites]


When you’re already in the process of doing a spell to affect the whole world might not be the time to try to deal with client notes.

After more reflection, I am more curious than ever about how characters in the larger MCU will be affected by this imperceptible Parker-shaped hole in their lives. If you asked, say, Rhodey* about the airport battle, would he recall that Tony brought along some young guy but never mentioned his name? If Strange reflects on being abducted by Thanos’ minions, would he recall being introduced to Spider-Man but not the unmasked bit?

And with the spell pulling in everyone who knows Peter Parker’s identity, regardless of some (Norman, Otto) being dead, does this mean that offscreen a confused George Stacy was wandering around New York for a few days?

*I went to add a second name here but, well, Tony, Nat, Vision, T’Challa... team Tony does not have a whole lot of people left, less than ten years later.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:07 PM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]


For someone who was a freaking surgeon, Strange is extremely lax when it comes to spell hygiene. He just starts whipping up shit that can crack the universe open on a whim. Maybe ask more questions, Doc.
posted by emjaybee at 6:23 PM on December 18, 2021 [22 favorites]


"When you’re already in the process of doing a spell to affect the whole world might not be the time to try to deal with client notes."

Which is why perhaps you might discuss the full implications of casting a world-altering spell with said client before launching into the spell, particularly when you have great expertise and the client is clearly inexperienced and there's no hurry. I mean, typical of Strange to decide to do something and then just launch into it without bothering to explain it, but the spellcaster's the one with the responsibility here.
posted by praemunire at 9:02 PM on December 18, 2021 [23 favorites]


Yeah, careful planning is not Strange’s style.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:48 AM on December 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


No wonder he got demoted.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:37 AM on December 19, 2021 [3 favorites]


Who wouldn't vote for Wong over Strange, really?
posted by praemunire at 8:01 AM on December 19, 2021 [25 favorites]


I think one of the reasons I'm okay with the way May went is that she went like an idealized New Yorker--keenly aware of all the work and commitment that goes into looking after our dense little world, and unwilling to back down from a righteous fight.
posted by praemunire at 8:09 AM on December 19, 2021 [9 favorites]


they never did the meme.

When MJ calls out Peter in the lab they all point at themselves and each other
posted by maxsparber at 1:19 PM on December 19, 2021 [9 favorites]


This movie moved along surprisingly deftly for as overstuffed as it was. All the fanservice moments didn't seem to bog it down very much. I didn't see any of the "Amazing" movies, but I can't imagine that Garfield got as much of an audience response before this as he did just by showing up here. "I'm a really good lawyer!" surprised a laugh out of me.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:00 PM on December 19, 2021 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking about the mid credit scene. Eddie Brock/Venom was in the third Tobey Maguire movie. I wonder if Tom Hardy-Venom was pulled in because, as mentioned above, the symbiote knew about Peter Parker because there was a Venom in Tobey-verse?
posted by fiercekitten at 7:39 PM on December 19, 2021


typical of Strange to decide to do something and then just launch into it without bothering to explain it

Neurosurgeons, amirite?

Excellent movie, rounded out the "Home" trilogy well. I hadn't seen the Spider-Andrew movies, so those characters were a bit of a surprise to me.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:10 PM on December 19, 2021


Far better than I expected it to be; was worried it would be unwieldy or have too much fan service.

Had hoped, since the first trailer, that the appearance of Doc Ock and Osborne would also mean an appearance of the other Spidermen; actually found the three together quite moving along with amusing. The interesting thing is that it effectively reboots MCU Spiderman, if they want to use that - he's a kid on his own in New York with no ties to anyone, though I guess the Avengers should remember him helping out (since people know there is a Spiderman), just not who he is. That said, I would expect at some point for the magic to come undone enough for Peter to be part of whatever world ending threat emerges for the next ensemble movie.

Was also hoping for Dunst to appear.
posted by nubs at 9:08 PM on December 19, 2021


After more reflection, I am more curious than ever about how characters in the larger MCU will be affected by this imperceptible Parker-shaped hole in their lives.

The best way that I would explain it is some sort of reverse Mandela effect: you don't remember something that did happen, to the point that you sort of photoshop them out of the picture, or in places where Spider-Man was doing stuff, he's got the full mask on in your memories. If you think that you remember a certain event in your past really well, but then you look at pictures and there's someone there who you absolutely don't remember being a part of it, you get it. (I have college classes that I got As in that I remember nothing about or from. Granted, I graduated 35 years ago, but still.) So, yeah, he was at Berlin, but no one remembers the part where his mask is partly off. The Vulture doesn't remember Peter taking his daughter to the prom, it was just some random teenager, and some of the stuff around his fight with Spidey seems fuzzy now. The interesting thing about that to me is wondering if Peter even has a social security number now; the bit at the end where he has a GED study book makes me think that he doesn't. (For the spell to work, it has to affect physical records--especially all the stuff that came out after JJJ revealed his secret ID--which means that there are a lot of newspapers with completely different content in the MCU now.) He doesn't seem to have any access to Stark tech now--hence his new cloth costume--and I'm also guessing that he's persona non grata with the surviving Avengers if he's a possible murderer.

Something else that occurred to me, thinking about the movie and its treatment of the legacy villains: there's a real pushback against the "mentally ill = evil" mindset behind a bunch of Spidey's rogues' gallery. (Paul Giamatti's Rhino, who AFAIK was just a mercenary in a funky battle suit, didn't make the cut for the guest appearances.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:11 PM on December 20, 2021 [4 favorites]


Overall, I loved it. A lot.

I am unhappy about May getting fridged--let's call it what it is--BUT, she went out on her own terms, driving the scenario as much as anyone else, clearly not a damsel, etc. I'm unhappy because Marisa Tomei is wonderful in that role. I also have to acknowledge the whole thing was really well-done. As for splitting up the others... I'm okay with it as long as Zendaya continues as MJ and we see MJ & Peter together again at some point soon.

The rest was wonderful. I was SO FUCKING HAPPY to see Matt. The Spider-Guys were all great. This movie signaled a break from the money, the Starkification stuff, and the lethality of the MCU, which I think were all important. I'm not gonna ignore the May stuff and Peter & MJ are an OTP for me, but god damn this movie is great.

Also, Dear Stephen: You were the adult in the room. Also, you're a doctor, and you don't bother talking out the procedure with the patient before you start cutting? Don't blame Peter. You carry way more of any blame here than he does.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:15 PM on December 20, 2021 [9 favorites]


I haven't seen the movie yet, so I'm just going by Halloween Jack's comments here, but the stuff he describes about magicking away people's knowledge of Spidey's secret identity and the changes to the physical world it implies sounds very similar to the premise for Marvel's current Devil's Reign event over in the comics.

This is a Daredevil mini-series pulling in many of the company's other characters. It's written by Chip Zdarsy, by far the best writer DD's had in recent years. Here's the premise:

A little while ago (I think under a different writer), DD's identity was revealed to the world at large, that revelation eventually being maigicked away by some alien children's mind manipulation. This convenient - and some what hand-wavey - retcon wasn't presented as sorcery, but it might as well have been.

Devil's Reign begins when the Kingpin (who's now mayor of New York) discovers evidence that he once knew DD's secret identity, but realises his memory has been tampered with to remove that knowledge. His secret paper records containing DD's real name now appear blank to him. Knowing his mind's been casually violated in this way makes the Kingpin VERY ANGRY, and prompts him to declare war on all NYC's super-heroes.

We don't know how any of this is going to play out yet because this series has only just started. I think the apparant echoes with the SM:NWH are just a big co-incidence, but they seemed worth mentioning all the same.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:26 AM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'm so happy that I found a late showing in an almost-empty theater and got to see it before I heard about any of the surprises. I went in thinking that maybe Garfield might have a small cameo, and even after he showed up I was still surprised to see Maguire too. It's kind of astonishing Marvel was able to keep such a significant involvement from those two a secret. And wow did I love seeing the Three Peters Parker doing science together to save their worst enemies. What a great plot.

The moment when Peter rescues Octavius from Robot Arms Hell was worth the ticket price all by itself.

I think they avoided most of what is bad about "fridging" a character with Aunt May. Her death is a direct result of her own heroic actions and decisions. Peter is about to zap Osborn back to his appointment with the pointy end of a Goblin Glider but May says, "No. We are gonna help this guy." May volunteers in some kind of shelter. She knows that trying to help strangers can be dangerous. But she accepts that risk and brings Osborn and the others into her home. Peter feels a desire for vengeance, but most of what he does is following her instructions and finishing the work that she started. The story cares about what she wanted, not just how Peter feels.

And wow is this the kind of superhero story that I want. I want a Superman who sees a dire situation, looks the villain in the eye, and--rather than something like "I'll get you for that"--says, "Nobody dies today."
posted by straight at 2:33 AM on December 21, 2021 [17 favorites]


I thought putting an entire teaser trailer for the next Dr. Strange movie after the credits seemed kind of cheap, more like a commercial than a post-credits scene. Just showing a bit of his conversation with Wanda would have been plenty.
posted by straight at 2:43 AM on December 21, 2021 [7 favorites]


My wife noted figured maybe they went with a full trailer for Doc Strange this time because they already have the whole movie in the can, which usually isn't the situation for Marvel releases. I am left wondering if they're going to chain all these movies together directly like this going forward, or if it's just a natural connection and not an ongoing thing (I hope it's not).

The fact that "make everyone forget" is just a spell Strange & Wong have in the toolbox is one of those things that has a ton of giant implications, but probably isn't meant to be deeply considered. Then again, I figured we were supposed to go with "hahaha Tony made an unaccountable orbital drone army, lolz," but that seems to have at least been given a nod as something Not Fucking Okay in this movie. I was very pleased when Matt Murdock was basically like, "Peter, you're probably okay, Happy, you're probably fucked." So maybe I'm wrong and we'll revisit the implications of that scale of sorcery.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:20 AM on December 21, 2021


The fact that "make everyone forget" is just a spell Strange & Wong have in the toolbox is one of those things that has a ton of giant implications,

An ambitious step would be to include the audience in those affected. In two years, we learn that the Fantastic Four and the X-Men have been the MCU since 2010, have collectively been at the centre of five movies, and played pivotal roles in Civil War but in 2015 the Ancient One did the same spell and everyone, including us, has forgotten them entirely.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:52 AM on December 21, 2021 [11 favorites]


It's kind of astonishing Marvel was able to keep such a significant involvement from those two a secret

Part of the reason I want to see it again is to pay closer attention to the opening credits and see if I missed them.
posted by nubs at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2021


Other things I loved:

Peter beating magic with math.

How the movie gets us to look down our noses with Strange and laugh at Ned and his grandma's silly delusions about magic in the family. We're talking about real magic here, kid. And then we get schooled with Stephen for thinking Filipino grandmas are just comic relief.

That even in a movie this crowded, they managed to have all five antagonists show up at the final battle for discernibly different reasons.
posted by straight at 12:09 PM on December 21, 2021 [10 favorites]


My kids haven't seen any of the pre-MCU Spider-Man movies and I really torn about whether I should try to get them to watch any before seeing this. Part of me just wants to bring them thinking, "This is what it was like to pick up a comic book off the grocery store rack when I was a kid. All the stuff I didn't know made it better, not worse."
posted by straight at 12:10 PM on December 21, 2021


I just wish Peter had been able to better represent Aunt May when he faced the Goblin. When Osborn tries to make it all about the two of them--"You killed her, Peter!"--he should have said, "No, I was going to kill you. May saved your life and that's how you thanked her."

Also, that moment where Toby gets stabbed in the back landed like such a tired cliche. I think they were trying to make fun of the trope with his, "It's okay, I've been stabbed before," but the punch line came too late and for too many minutes it just felt cheap and lazy.
posted by straight at 1:21 PM on December 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


My kids haven't seen any of the pre-MCU Spider-Man movies and I really torn about whether I should try to get them to watch any before seeing this.

Or maybe try this solution?
posted by Paul Slade at 11:29 PM on December 21, 2021 [1 favorite]


Believe it or not, this was the first live-action Spider-Man movie I've seen. (At least in toto. I've caught brief segments of a couple of the Maguire movies. And I have seen Civil War/Doctor Strange/Infinity War/Endgame.) And I can report that it holds up just fine for someone who hasn't seen any of the previous ones. I enjoyed it quite a lot, especially the relationship between the three Spider-Men. Having Spider-Garfield save MJ, after he couldn't save Gwen ("my MJ") in his own universe, was poignant even without having seen the Garfield movies.

The scene where they're all sharing the people that they lost did seem a bit reminiscent - perhaps overly so - of a similar scene in Spider-Verse, but perhaps there's no way around that.

so let us now praise Jon Watts for getting five active villains (and three Spiders-Man) into one movie and having it still work.

Yes!!! And I say that as someone who was critical of Batman Returns for feeling too crowded with three villains (only two of them super-).

Other random thoughts:
- Ned: future sorceror? I would watch that.
- Max disappointed that Spider-Garfield isn't Black. Then adding "there must be a Black Spider-Man out there somewhere." I like that that's teasing, or at least a nod to, the possibility of a Miles Morales Spider-Man in the MCU, which I would be all for.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:07 AM on December 22, 2021 [11 favorites]


I would love, love, love to see Miles in the MCU, but's they're gonna have to work awfully hard to top what's been done for that character over on the Sony Animation side of things. I wonder if it would even be viable to try it without damaging the detente between Disney and Sony regarding Spider-Man and his associated stable of characters.
posted by Ipsifendus at 6:59 AM on December 22, 2021 [3 favorites]


so let us now praise Jon Watts for getting five active villains (and three Spiders-Man) into one movie and having it still work.

To be fair, Sandman and the Lizard weren't doing much. Though Lizard had personality and that can make one stand out more than they actually are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


Also I have to say, I really appreciated seeing some variety of powers and origins to the villains instead of the same old tired af "fighting a dark mirror" thing the MCU leans on so goddamn hard.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:18 AM on December 22, 2021 [6 favorites]


instead of the same old tired af "fighting a dark mirror" thing the MCU leans on so goddamn hard.

Obligatory ProZD skit link.
posted by praemunire at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2021 [4 favorites]


I have never seen the Andrew Spiderman movies. But I've seen the Tobey and Tom ones and I love the fact that J Jonah Jameson is played by JK Simmons in both universes. Hell, I choose to believe that he's JJJ in the Andrew-verse as well but he's just not in the movies.

I see JKS' JJJ as a creature that exists outside of normal space and time, kind of a Spidey Universe Tom Bombadil. I was hoping for some sort of recognition or payoff of JJJ's spanning the multiverse, but no. My fan theory continues to be just that.

Otherwise I enjoyed it. I'm not a huge fan of Doctor Strange (who caused the whole mess, I agree with MJ) and it was kind of cluttered with plot, but I had a good time.
posted by Gray Duck at 2:08 PM on December 22, 2021 [5 favorites]


The MCU JJJ is good for laughs, but I deeply appreciated the complex old-boomer-crank-with-surprising-integrity JJJ from the first films (and the comics). I was kinda hoping we'd get multiple JJJs so we could have the OG JJJ get Alex-Jones-JJJ's face to say "Yeah I hate Spider-Man, too, but you DOXXED A FUCKING TEENAGER?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:26 PM on December 22, 2021 [9 favorites]


The villains were all great.
posted by fomhar at 4:25 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


The Sandman doesn't really need to do anything- it's sand: it's coarse and rough and it gets everywhere
posted by nubs at 4:31 PM on December 22, 2021 [6 favorites]


One of the reason having five villains works is that we get basically a one-sentence summary of the origin story for each villain. We don't get a full origin story for each villain, and we don't need one.

That said, when Sandman said "I fell into a particle accelerator," a voice in the back of my head said "shouldn't that make you Dr. Manhattan?"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:36 PM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


OMG, now I wish they'd found a way to work in the "Spideys pointing at each other" meme, but it was instead a scene with three JJJ's angrily accusingly pointing at each other.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 5:50 PM on December 22, 2021 [3 favorites]




Finally watched this! Held off because of my expectations of opening weekend crowds in pandemic times plus the ongoing natural disaster here, but also my deeply held dislike for the MCU!Spidey movies which are highly competent and enjoyable but I hated how much he became tied to Stark. And ta-da, soft reboot! Maybe his next adventure he'd actually fight a villain that isn't mad at Tony or borrowed from the multiverse. One can hold out hope, especially with how well Jon Watts held it together - i think he's the only solo Spidey director who's managed to beat the by-now inevitable bloated sequel that's stuffed full with villains problem, though he's helped by the fact he doesn't have to do any setup at all.

In any case, somewhere out there Sam and Bucky have some vague recollections about that annoying Spider kid they fought one time in Berlin but not that he's from Queens. Steve is not available for comment.
posted by cendawanita at 2:50 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]


Thanks to my general apathy regarding keeping up with the MCU (and my brother's insistence on seeing it ASAP while visiting during the holidays) I got to experience this in about the best way possible: watching Homecoming and Far From Home for the first time during the day, and then seeing No Way Home at the theater that night. I'd heard a few rumors about old favorites returning, but was expecting a quick cameo and not an entire third act. Definitely my favorite of the three.

One thing I didn't like was the logical inconsistency of the ending. Why did Strange's spell erase everyone's memory of Peter Parker's existence, and not simply the fact that he was Spider-man, like it was originally supposed to? What would it have done with May had she survived -- would she have forgotten she had a nephew? How did it deal with physical evidence, like Flash's book? And if it brought the other Parkers in-universe because they knew "Peter Parker exists and is Spider-man", does them returning mean they forget who they are?

Felt kind of the same way about the impossibly realistic, on-the-fly "holograms" in Far From Home -- at least this was a one-off plot hole instead of being rubbed in your face every few minutes.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:28 PM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]


The impression I got from the movie was that the further out of control the spell got, the more Strange's options were curtailed until "delete Peter entirely" was the only one left.
posted by straight at 5:01 PM on December 25, 2021 [3 favorites]


I understand the desire for both the studio(s) and the fans to see a live-action Spider-Man movie where all of the previous cinematic Spider-Men got a chance to interact with each other. But quite honestly, this movie's entire premise was already explored better, and fresher, and with more heart than in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Where that film was forward-looking, with the introduction of an entirely new Spider-Man, and even including various Spider-characters unknown to most audiences, this one was stuck mournfully looking into the past, at venerable old box office draws from the IP portfolio characters we all know and love. Spider-meh.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:56 AM on December 26, 2021 [6 favorites]


I mean, you say “the characters we all know and love” with irony, but this is the MCU approach: building on what the audience already knows. A significant reason The Avengers worked to the degree it did is that most of the main characters have already had a movie or two to establish their character and backstory. The strengths of this movie are just that: if you are a 30-year-old fan of comic book movies, Tobey!Peter has been around since your childhood.

I thought Into the Spider-Verse was an entirely decent piece of work, but I haven’t been a regular comics reader since sometime in the last millennium. Most of the variants there were basically new characters to me. How much do I care about the motivations and fate of Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir? Not that much, to be honest.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:43 AM on December 26, 2021 [3 favorites]


I understand the appeal, but I just find it strange that they’ve decided to make two multiversal films dedicated to evaluating Spider-Man’s legacy in the span of three years. Spidey has always been a very localized, personal hero so it’s funny to involve him in cosmic stakes. It used to be, as in the Tobey era which might as well be the Bronze Age of superhero movie cinema, you have an origin story, then a darker more higher-stakes one where the hero maybe abandons their mission, then a third one where the franchise falls apart. Now it’s all about forcing some sort of cosmic level issue that causes a franchise to crossover with itself. Interestingly, we’ve recently seen this happen with both WandaVision and Loki, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also explored different iterations of the same iconic hero.

I’m not saying this is particularly bad, maybe it’s the natural cosmic level fallout from the MCU to handle the aftermath of the Infinity War, I’m just amused it’s happening over and over again (and Spider-Verse isn’t even in the same continuity or studio as this one). I’ve noticed the MCU, for all of its Disney-crafted robotic perfection, also repeating itself before by having Winter Soldier be a movie where Captain America is on the run from the U.S. government be followed by Civil War, another movie where he’s on the run from the U.S. government. (Though perhaps of the politics of our era, it was and is unthinkable to have a straightforward movie where Steve Rogers is just working for any government’s mandate.)

I do think as far as examinations of Spider-Man’s legacy went though, this one brought the fan service but a lot of the ground it treaded was already explored in the previous one, which was a more subtle and clever film that this one.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:00 AM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


It was fanservice, in the sense of "these Spider-Men and villains were handled poorly in their versions, let's redress some of that/hit the nostalgia buttons while also setting up the next Spider-Man movie where Peter really is a dude struggling to get by."

But it was satisfying, and excited the audience for what comes next for this version of Peter. It's a pretty neat bit of plotting, honestly.
posted by emjaybee at 10:51 AM on December 26, 2021 [3 favorites]


I loved Into the Spider-verse, but it was obviously aimed at a younger audience than No Way Home. I mean, I'd show a ten-year-old Spider-verse, not so sure about NWH. Why not enjoy both?
posted by praemunire at 2:32 PM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


It’s just weird that they applied the “multiverse troubles causes hero to re-examine own legacy with the benefit of alternate selves” to the same iconic hero in the span of three years. Like I said, it’s like when they made two successive Captain America movies that featured Captain on the run from his own government while figuring out what’s up with Bucky. Just weirdly repetitive use of plot ideas.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:45 PM on December 26, 2021


It's Sony more than MCU on that point. There's no dead horse they won't beat, no creative decision they won't walk back. Into The Spider-verse being such a hit only made certain story beats in this one inevitable, imo.
posted by cendawanita at 5:39 PM on December 26, 2021


The point of multiverse stories (going back to Flash of Two Worlds) is sort of like the point of Avengers. It's fun to take characters from two (or more) different stories and make another story about what it would be like if they met.

Spider-Man gets all the multiverse stories because he's the only Marvel hero popular enough to have had enough distinct iterations that there would be any point to putting two Spider-Mans together.

It's also how you get do a version of the Spider-Man legend (or myth) with an African-American kid in the Peter Parker role. Spider-Verse makes a convincing case that it's awesome to have lots of different versions of Spider-Man, and that the essence of Spider-Man is not that he's a white boy.

X-Men is the closest other example from Marvel and there they used time travel and different timelines so fans could get Jackman's Wolverine in a movie with Fassbender's Magneto and Lawrence's Mystique, or have Stewart's Xavier meet McAvoy's.
posted by straight at 10:12 PM on December 26, 2021 [1 favorite]


And I think it's silly to label any element of a story that builds on a previous story "fan service." It's not "fan service" for Chapter 21 of a story to provide a satisfying resolution to something that happened in Chapter 3. That's just good storytelling. (And most authors will admit that sometimes they get to Chapter 21 and think of a resolution that they hadn't imagined when they wrote Chapter 3.)
posted by straight at 10:18 PM on December 26, 2021 [7 favorites]


Like I said, it’s like when they made two successive Captain America movies that featured Captain on the run from his own government while figuring out what’s up with Bucky. Just weirdly repetitive use of plot ideas.

You’re talking about the same plot that bridges two movies, one of which is a direct sequel to the other.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:53 AM on December 27, 2021 [6 favorites]


the stuff he describes about magicking away people's knowledge of Spidey's secret identity and the changes to the physical world it implies sounds very similar to the premise for Marvel's current Devil's Reign event over in the comics....I think the apparant echoes with the SM:NWH are just a big co-incidence, but they seemed worth mentioning all the same.
Paul Slade

This movie is a very loose adaptation of the universally-reviled Spider-Man storylines "One More Day" (2007) and "One Moment in Time" (2010), though this handles the ideas infinitely better.

I really enjoyed this movie, but I felt like the Wong thing created an unnecessary problem that they just glossed over. Namely: where the hell was Wong in all this? They said he's the new Sorcerer Supreme, his job is to protect the world against magical threats, but he doesn't show up when reality is literally tearing apart at the seams? I know he said he didn't want to be involved, but his absence makes him seem either incompetent or apathetic. But him showing up would have been a deus ex machina because he's way above any of the villains in this movie in terms of power. So why set up him in this movie at all? I know it's just to set the table for the next Strange movie, but it's a weird, jarring problem in this story.
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:33 AM on December 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


Wong could be off in another dimension fighting another battle.

Or maybe the spell's consequences are only apparent to the caster until the five minutes at the end when reality starts visibly breaking. Wong, wherever he is, sees the crisis and immediately starts trying (in vain) to cast spells to counter it rather than taking time to figure out where the crux of it all is and showing up at the Statue of Liberty.
posted by straight at 10:17 AM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]


Namely: where the hell was Wong in all this? They said he's the new Sorcerer Supreme, his job is to protect the world against magical threats, but he doesn't show up when reality is literally tearing apart at the seams?

That last Sorcerer Supreme let half the universe die so that eventually the side of good would win (and bring everyone back). What we've seen of Wong lately is that he's busy portaling around, meeting and gathering up people for...something. So don't call it a plot hole just yet!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:32 AM on December 27, 2021 [3 favorites]


Wong could be off in another dimension fighting another battle.

So don't call it a plot hole just yet!

The problem is they specifically introduced Wong and set him up in this film, then he just...disappears. The movie itself creates this problem. We can just make up some excuse for why all the other Avengers/heroes don't help, they're not in this movie at all. I don't think a single hero other than Strange is even mentioned by name, and that's clearly intentional to make this a completely Spider-Man focused film.

Wong is not only in the movie, he's introduced as the new most powerful wizard on Earth, he's specifically consulted about the plan and reluctantly agrees to let it happen, and then...leaves and never checks up on what happened?

I feel like it was a big mistake to have that scene with Wong. It should have been a post-credit thing, or have it happen in the next movie. Strange badly botching this spell and its consequences could even be the reason why he gets demoted.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:31 AM on December 27, 2021


Not sure how general audiences would respond to this, but one possible fix for this Wong issue would be to take a technique right out of the comics and indicate which story he was off to join when he exited this movie with a text caption on screen. "Where is Wong off to? Check out MORBIUS to find out!" - I feel like those awkward "[character] WILL RETURN" lines of text in the credits are already trying to serve this same function.

This assumes, of course, that the creators of this film knew where Wong was going to be for the events that would unfold, and that Marvel Studios is as comfortable as Marvel Comics in admitting is that this larger story is not intended to ever end.
posted by EatTheWeek at 5:05 PM on December 27, 2021


Good grief. The Spider-Man writers must be tearing their hair out.

"Okay so Spider-Man leaves Strange in the mirror dimension, but what about Wong? Wouldn't he be around and paying attention to all this?"

"We'll have a scene at the beginning where he goes through a portal and says he's going to be off doing something else so the viewers will know he's not around for the rest of the movie."

Viewers: "Where was Wong?"
posted by straight at 5:43 PM on December 27, 2021 [4 favorites]


Yes, they added that in, but the point is that it was a stupid explanation and a mistake to include that at all:

"Hey Wong, you're the new Sorcerer Supreme, right?"

"Yep, that's me, the world's #1 wizard in charge of protecting the world from dangerous reality-destroying magical threats."

"So we're going to be trying to this spell that's very dangerous and might potentially destroy reality."

"Well, okay. I, Wong, who as we just established is the new Sorcerer Supreme and therefore am directly in charge of protecting Earth from things like this, don't have to think about this any further. I'm off!"

::later::

"Oh no, this turned out to be a dangerous reality-destroying magical threat! If only there were someone who's job it is to stop this that was explicitly identified earlier!"

Why set up Wong as the guy who's job is literally to stop exactly this and then just have him wander off? Why introduce him in the beginning at all if he's just going to disappear and play no part in the story? Why have to establish that he's off somewhere else and not just keep him out of the movie and establish that later?
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:18 PM on December 27, 2021


Did you guys not watch Shang-Chi, Wong was in China fixing an underground cage match
posted by Apocryphon at 9:56 AM on December 28, 2021 [14 favorites]


Now it’s all about forcing some sort of cosmic level issue that causes a franchise to crossover with itself. Interestingly, we’ve recently seen this happen with both WandaVision and Loki, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also explored different iterations of the same iconic hero.

As well as, in a slightly more conventional way, Black Widow and Hawkeye. I think The Eternals and Shang-Chi avoided this. And as far as I can remember, What If... ? also steered clear of it (a little odd, as it might have the best claim to doing such a story) but it looks like the Dark!Strange from there reappears in the next Dr. Strange movie.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:30 AM on December 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


I loved this. Considering the sheer volume of fan service, the fact that this film managed to hold together so well is incredible. The plotting is just very tight, and moves along in a way that feels logical.

I also actually felt the emotional beats of this film. The death of aunt May really landed for me as I didnt really expect it. And hey, they said the line, and it really worked! Other good beats; Parker silently deciding that he didnt want to inflict more pain on MJ. Whether this was the right decision or not (and I imagine sequels will interrogate it) it felt very much a Peter Parker thing to do.


And I loooved the three spidermen. The fact that they were immediately so collegiate. I never got into the Garfield films, but I loved him here, and having Macguire as the old wise man of the group was just lovely.

The villains were all having a whale of a time here, and their different approaches felt very true to them.

I avoided the cinema over Christmas, but just had to see this, and am very glad I did.

Now I have an 8 year old son, and I clearly will need to watch all the spiderman films with him to get him ready for this one....
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:17 AM on January 3 [5 favorites]


It finally came out here, and of all the movies I've seen since it's seemed safe enough to give it a try (though that's probably ending soon), Spider-Man was easily the best. I enjoyed it immensely, and it just gave me a warm happy glow that lasted for long after the end credits.

I'd never seen much of the Garfield movies, as they just seemed like Sony making sure to keep the IP, and everything I'd heard was terrible, but I liked what he brought. At first, I thought he was a little excessively manic, but later it became kind of clear that he was just trying to hold in all of the trauma he'd gone through. His line about "I stopped pulling my punches" felt earned. I really enjoyed Maguire as well, with his outright mournfulness, and how the movie worked to not only help the villains, but also Garfield and Maguire's Peter, too.

With as much fanservice in the film, it's kind of stunning that nothing felt excessive, nothing felt too much. I remember feeling a little sad that all we were getting of Sandman was the CG sort of mess that he always was, but when Maguire manages to cure him, and Thomas Haden Church is there again, it felt somehow whole. Molina was amazing, I really liked his wonder at the world, but also his immense regret. Dafoe doing his insane/normal thing was great. Seriously, it's just kind of all "it was great" stuff. The "I'm something of a scientist myself" callback, as well as the Spiders-man/Spider-men using SCIENCE! to win the battle (as well as the villains, before Electro said nope, assisting and working together for a common goal). It was nice to see, and honestly, I'd really appreciate it if this film marks a tonal shift away from the murder happy MCU we've had so far. In the comics, killing has always been a bright line, almost an absurd one, that heroes cannot pass, even heroes with ostensibly murder-y powers (like, say, Havoc, who shoots plasma from his body). That's what made characters like the Punisher, or Wolverine, and so on, stand out, and not in a good way. What use is the Punisher in a universe where Iron Man is a killer? This movie, and the various streaming shows (Falcon & Winter Soldier, Hawkeye in particular) seem like they could be a turning point, and honestly, I'd appreciate that. I am happy to see a shift back to Spider-Man as a New York hero, with Peter Parker broke and studying for his GED (I thought that was an interesting, solid choice, one that felt like it hit me in the gut a bit). I'd like to see him dealing with Kingpin, with Daredevil, and just trying to get through life, rather than punching Thanos in space.

The only thing(s) I would have liked that the movie didn't have: I'd have liked just the smallest interaction between Maguire and Simmons' Jonah Jameson. Just something, for fun. That, and, as Holland is walking into the donut shop, Kirsten Dunst is buying a donut from Zendaya. I would've sqeeed.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:27 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I've not seen the film yet, but I'm glad to see it getting so much love - all the Spider-Man films of the last few years have been so enjoyable, and it's nice to have something to look forward to. Having grown up finding out about films from reading the fulsome plot descriptions in the Monthly Film Bulletin, I'm not really worried about spoilers (to me what happens is a lot less important than how it's done).

In the spirit of which: Could one suggest that the problem with fanservice isn't it in itself but that it's something that's very easy to do badly, lazily or cynically, so that's how it's usually done. But done well, there's no reason it shouldn't be as much of a joy as anything else done well. Perhaps more, as it represents the consummation of a number of inchoate desires of various audience members.
posted by Grangousier at 4:07 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


this was a very fun calorie-dense chunk of fanservice that works for me because I'm one of those people who still thinks Spider-Man 2 is the best superhero movie ever made

weirdly though that means the emotional beats that landed hardest for me in the final act were all related to the Sony Spider-men, even Garfield's having not seen his movies. Ock and Tobey being happy to see each other; Sandman's sole motivation being seeing his daughter again; Garfield barely able to keep it together after catching MJ. it is definitely somewhat of that same energy that endgame exploits where the sheer weight of history gives very minor beats a lot more power than they're earning on their own. hats off to all the actors, too, reprising their roles both for goofy meme references and for serious, relatively earned capstones to their previous narratives.

and aunt may's death hits hard, and is well executed, and I still think that Holland does the best job of capturing the awkward teenager spirit of Peter out of all the actors (though Tobey's a very close second), and I appreciate that the mechanics of the movie's actual plot hinge around "can we please try to scale back spider-man to being a local hero and maybe poke some fun at the weird legacy of this IP while we're at it"

but like most MCU stuff to me at this point it has a bit of a hollow ring by the end. either because of jokes that feel too cheap or easy (e.g. MCU Peter and friends making fun of Otto Octavius's name, while standing in the basement of the house of Steven Strange?) or beats that are pure meaningless fanservice. like, the extended "how does the web come out of there" gag is funny in the lab and initially funny when they revisit it at the statue of liberty but it suddenly feels like a shaggy improv bit from like a judd apatow bit, where it's clear that the actors having fun has suddenly become more important than whether you're invested in the stakes. I am so extremely tired of MCU's Whedon-lite lampshades-are-ipso-facto-funny style of witty banter. the "villains are bad because they have evil superpowers" creates weird implications for the plots of the movies where those people came from, but it's pretty clear we don't care about that here so OK.

in general the movie juggles a lot of tonal shifts and it doesn't really hide the seams well, and the final resolution is so goofy and stupid that it only even "works" because Dr. Strange is deus-ex-machina-level magic.

so I enjoyed it, but it has not cured me of my general exhaustion with the ongoing churn of the MCU machine.
posted by Kybard at 1:26 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I feel like I hammered on the sense of humor too much when my actual feeling is that this was an impressively well executed mess of an idea, and while I enjoyed the absurdity of its existence it certainly does not change my mind about the self-annihilating trajectory of our few and omnipresent media juggernauts
posted by Kybard at 1:27 PM on February 21


e.g. MCU Peter and friends making fun of Otto Octavius's name, while standing in the basement of the house of Steven Strange?

Perhaps you have forgotten Peter's initial reaction to being introduced to said Dr. Strange?
posted by praemunire at 3:14 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Ctrl-f "Dani Rojas"

What the fuck guys
posted by ominous_paws at 3:17 PM on February 22 [7 favorites]


it is definitely somewhat of that same energy that endgame exploits where the sheer weight of history gives very minor beats a lot more power than they're earning on their own.

I don't think of that as an exploit so much as using the strengths of serial fiction. One of the main points of "Marvel Movies" (as opposed to a single movie about a superhero) is just what you said, you can give meaning and payoffs with minor beats that you wouldn't have room to set up in a single movie. You can do that well or poorly. I think it was mostly done well here, with not much that was merely something for the audience to say, "I get that reference!" Like Electro wishing there were a black Spider-Man seems a lot deeper than just nudging the audience to remember that Into the Spider-Verse exists.

the "villains are bad because they have evil superpowers" creates weird implications for the plots of the movies where those people came from,

I thought the movie was surprisingly more nuanced than that, with five villains showing up at the climactic battle for five different reasons. The original movies made it pretty explicit that Goblin and Doc Ock had been driven insane by their powers, and they get cured. But for Electro and Lizard, it's more like disarming them so the fights they return to will be over before they get killed (I don't think Lizard dies in his movie, but they might have saved Gwen Stacy's dad).

Sandman was always making choices about how to use his powers. He'd chosen not to commit crimes anymore. Presumably he'd like to be human again to have a normal relationship with his daughter, but he's not willing to wait around for that and risk missing the chance to get back to her.

Dr. Connors might choose to turn himself back into a lizard ("I don't want to cure cancer, I want to turn people into dinosaurs.") But he's at least got the opportunity to reconsider that plan. Electro would like to be a normal-looking man with electric superpowers, but he'd rather be a normal man than the kind of electric ghost he'd been in his world. He wasn't "cured" of being bad so much as his scheme was foiled and he seemed resigned to that.
posted by straight at 3:41 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


I have watched all of the other Spider-Man movies at some point so all of the characters brought back memories, although it was all quite some time ago so the memories were more than a bit fuzzy. I really loved that "our" Spider-Man aka Spider-Man 2 wanted to save everyone so that they wouldn't have to return to die, and used his, and later team Spider-Man's, science skills to do so. Fine in the end it had to devolve into a bunch of punching but at least the intention was there to talk and science it out first.

I think Far From Home was a more enjoyable movie, but the Spider-therapy/closure moments were so good that emotionally No Way Home had more resonance and makes this a better movie. Andrew Garfield being able to save MJ in the way that he couldn't save Gwen was huge. It doesn't take that hurt away or make it better but it gives Spider-Man 3 something when he goes back to his universe.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:45 AM on March 7


Ctrl-f "Dani Rojas"

What the fuck guys


He’s not even credited on IMDB! Justice for Cristo Fernández.

Finally saw this and it was as good as I was hoping! Heartbreaking with the loss of Aunt May, and everyone’s memories of Peter, plus him deciding not to remind MJ of who he was. It was definitely a cop out just to show the trailer for the Dr Strange movie as an an end credit.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:43 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Spider-Man: Oh man, what the heck is this weird-looking place?

Doctor Strange: We've gone out of bounds. Now, for this next bit, I'm going to need silence from the audience because I'm listening for a sound cue.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:46 PM on March 13


Watched this via Prime this weekend. (Yes, Bezos is bad.)

Overall, my whole family really enjoyed it and I did not expect to feel so much emotion during it.

As a Hero's Journey film it definitely fits the beats. Perhaps because I just saw The Batman, I was engaged, appreciative, and frustrated all together at the choice Parker had to make both to save the world, and the one he makes with MJ at the end of the movie to leave her alone. It all works but it's hard for me right now not to get a little toxic masculinity at it - why is it that the hero must always walk alone?

As far as the memory hole, I noticed with Happy Peter said he knew Aunt May "through Spider-Man," so I guess the Avengers could theoretically remember him fighting alongside them, just not that he's Parker. That does open up a weird hole with Stark in particular, but hey, he's dead.

Spidey has always been a very localized, personal hero so it’s funny to involve him in cosmic stakes.

I feel like this movie potentially resolves that. If Nick Fury doesn't remember that he has to go get Peter Parker to take on the Avengers mantle, and also it looks like Peter didn't get any of the Stark tech from his suit at the end of the movie (also unclear on how this works but) then Spider-Man can just go back to being the friendly neighbourhood mystery guy. At least until whatever Wanda and Dr. Strange are about to do happens.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:02 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Oh gosh, this was so much better than Far From Home. It’s like the writers jettisoned all the ponderous MCU backstory and focused on the human one that we saw in the Sam Raimi trilogy. Really well done.

The complete memory wipe of Peter Parker, it reminded me of Hermione’s spell in the last Harry Potter movie, Obliviate, and her likeness disappearing from the photos in her parents house. His apartment at the end was a re-creation of Tobey McGuire’s when he worked as a photographer for the Daily Bugle.

Absolute favorite line: “they shot an episode of The Equalizer here in the ‘80s”
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:46 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I only just realized this was available to rent on Prime, and just finished it. I was spoiled for a lot of things, which I expected given that I was so late to things, but what I assumed would be brief cameos turned out to be so much more. I was surprised at how emotional I got, given that I haven’t watched all the previous iterations, and those I did weren’t really important to me.
I did read a lot of the comics as a kid though. And I have a weird fondness for Doc Ock, because one of those comics was him and Aunt May getting sweet on each other. Molina was so good, and so was Defoe. I didn’t see the movies with the other villains, but gli could catch their stories very quickly.

It was really pretty great, and I need to watch it again.
posted by PussKillian at 7:46 PM on April 30


The credits song cracked me up.

Me, I flipped out early on when Peter and MJ are flying through the city after his secret is suddenly out, and - "holy shit is that I Zimbra? Omigod IT IS!"

I have no idea who the genius was who decided to use a 20-year-old Talking Heads song with dada lyrics in a Spiderman movie but somehow it works.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:04 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


43-year old. I know, that happens to me, too.
posted by Grangousier at 1:12 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Andrew Garfield catching MJ might be the most Marvel Comics thing the MCU has done to date. A good comic takes a thing that happened in some dumb (or even terrible) comic years ago written by somebody else and pays it off, making the current story better and creating rose-colored glasses for the earlier one. That's how the Marvel Universe really gets its hooks into you.

Stan Lee deliberately and explicitly turned superhero stories into soap operas. And now the MCU is almost getting big enough where, like the comics, nobody has seen every single story. When used well it can make the characters seem almost like historical persons. There's all this backstory that is actually there if you wanted to find and read it, and you're never sure if the current storyteller is "making something up" or referring back to something that "actually happened."
posted by straight at 9:14 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I feel like this movie potentially resolves that. If Nick Fury doesn't remember that he has to go get Peter Parker to take on the Avengers mantle, and also it looks like Peter didn't get any of the Stark tech from his suit at the end of the movie (also unclear on how this works but) then Spider-Man can just go back to being the friendly neighbourhood mystery guy.

That's an excellent point! The ending did a soft reboot for the character, which was a necessary evil imo. Tom Holland Spidey was always saddled with Stark's legacy and super-tech from the get go, now he gets the chance to be his own kid and be a hero at the local level.

I loved Into the Spider-verse, but it was obviously aimed at a younger audience than No Way Home.

In the sense that this film is dependent upon older viewers having the nostalgic fuzzies for a couple decades' worth of different Spider-Men, sure. But nothing in this movie is more mature or adult than Into the Spider-Verse, which gave us a fresh origin story for Spider-Man (the most over-adapted superhero character besides Batman), and was deft and sophisticated in its handling of multiuniverses.

Why not enjoy both?

I thought that was better and actually brought new ideas and concepts to the table. This one was fine for what it was, and a necessary film to both close up a trilogy and give audiences a chance to see the live-action Spider-Men hang out and stuff before they're too old and require digital de-aging. But other than that, it just feels to me like more slick Marvel-Disney gloss that is a perfectly engineered emotion-eliciting machine, but lacks true heart or pluck.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:23 AM on May 17


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