Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

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.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director: Jon Watts

Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Stan Lee

Actors: Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland

Release Year: 2021

Read more about on IMDb.

Evie Totty | December 17, 2021
Where do I begin??

Even though this is a spoiler discussion, I'm still not wanting to post any, haha.

Matthew Preston | December 17, 2021
For real, Evie! I can start by saying that I did expect an amazing ode to fans, but what I didn't expect was the absolute heartfelt emotional ride along with it. Seriously, not a dry eye in the house. Grown men blubbering in their seats. I left the theater feeling emotionally exhausted, but so very energized.

Evie Totty | December 18, 2021
For real!

Cheers when we saw Cox. Then again when Garfield and McGuire showed up.

Foxx hamming it up. Molina and Dafoe doing what they do best...

When Mae said Uncle Ben's line, I gasped and thought "omg, they're gonna kill her".

When Garfield caught MJ - the look on his face... My heart broke.

J.K. Simmons as JJJ... Oh man... Oh and TheDailyBugle.net exists (natch)...

Evie Totty | December 18, 2021
But here's a thought: this is the best live-action Spider-Man to date.

But is it better than Into the Spider-Verse?

I want to say: "Yes" - but I'm fresh off this movie. BUT - as I explained in my review, this movie had almost no wasted screen time (if at all - I have tix to see again tomorrow).

The minor villains (Conners & Sandman) were each given enough material so it didn't seem like they were there "because they could".

We even finally got to see Holland's Peter do genious things instead of reference "classic movies".

At this point, I'm having to ask myself if this is the best MCU film, moving ahead of Winter Soldier...

And finally - I'm just thrilled to be thrilled about a movie I've seen. I'd have to literally sit down and think about what I've seen in the past two years or more.

And Shang-Chi is really good - but not "tell EVERYONE that they have to see this movie" good.

Scott Hardie | December 23, 2021
Plenty of cheers in my theater too, to the point of missing a few lines of dialogue. To paraphrase a Japanese amusement park, I was cheering inside my heart.

As soon as Aunt May said that Peter has a gift, I knew she was done. Kiss of death right there for a Parker family member. Similarly, Peter 2 getting impaled: Kelly and I joked on the drive home about how often characters die by Goblin Glider in these movies. In real life, there's about a 0.00001% chance of being killed by a flying platform, but in any given Spider-Man movie, you have something like a 30% chance.

It's been two years and I still have no damn clue why Mysterio leaked Peter Parker's identity to the world. He had no motivation or purpose, and did not seem to be anywhere near that evil. It felt tacked on just to have a stinger at the end, because it was. Now that an entire sequel is built on that moment, I'm even more frustrated by it.

Also confusing to me: If these villains entered this world because they know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, what is Jamie Foxx's Electro doing here? He didn't find out Spidey's secret identity in his film. In fact, this one even alludes to that with its clever joke about how he thought Spidey would be Black under the mask. That said, I'm really glad to see him here, partly because Foxx is so likable and partly because this revision did some work to fix the character. He still had shades of the pathetic delusions that characterized him before, but he felt more (forgive me) grounded in reality and plausible.

In fact, all of the returning characters got improvements, with the arguable exception of Flint Marko whose personality seemed (forgive me again) sanded down to fit a smaller role. The Jekyll-and-Hyde madness that makes Norman Osborn simultaneously tragic and terrifying in the comics really worked here, with Dafoe selling the character's menace in a way that Sam Raimi's more PG-oriented films couldn't do. (Man, as tired as I am of Green Goblin, this makes me want to see Dafoe do an R-rated take on the character.) Octavius got some redemption, Connors got some dignity, and both Maguire and Garfield got to tie up some loose ends and pass the torch and celebrate their beloved works. What a way to use the characters with purpose, and not just toss them into fight scenes because the studio has had a hard-on to make a Sinister Six movie for years. (Speaking of which, once I heard about multiple returning villains, I anticipated the Sinister Six like I'm sure many fans did, but I'm glad that this movie never really went there. Rather than fighting all of his enemies at once, the idea of Peter showing generosity and decency to them by trying to save them from their doomed fates is not just a clever meta touch; it's a very meaningful choice for the character, a quintessentially Peter Parker choice, and I think a much better and smarter direction for the story to go than more punchy-punchy.)

I'm so relieved that Venom's cameo was restricted to two minutes, because that's about how much of Venom I wanted to see here. After the cheap and gimmicky stinger at the end of Let There Be Carnage, which was slipshod even by Sony's standards -- the alien is in constant mental contact with all other symbiotes in the universe? and it can teleport itself and its host to other Earths in the multiverse at will? you can't just make up fantastical new powers out of the blue, Sony -- I was worried that Venom fan-service would trample all over this film. I'd have been fine with the character getting more screen time if he got the same dignified reappraisal that other villains got, but in lieu of that, a quick joking cameo at the end felt about right. (And as a Ted Lasso fan, I was tickled to see Cristo Fernández tending bar in the same scene.)

As for Daredevil's cameo, there wasn't much to it beyond the nice catch, but symbolically it means a lot for the past and (I hope) future of the MCU. The Netflix shows are years overdue for integration into the larger MCU, and their cancellation took that crossover from "increasingly unlikely" to "impossible," and yet now it seems like anything is possible again. Jessica Jones remains my favorite MCU title of all, and I liked most of the rest of the Netflix content (pretty much everything but Danny Rand and the endless Hand storyline), so I'm thrilled that the Defenders' adventures aren't forgotten and will continue. If Sony is going to continue playing Marvel Team-Up with each Spidey film, they could do worse than to suit up Daredevil for the fourth.

I'm trying not to spoil Hawkeye, so let's vaguely say that in episode 5 one character refers to wanting to see "the new and improved Statue of Liberty," and in episode 6 there's a battle that tears up a New York landmark, the same (intact) landmark that Spidey swings past in this film. This raises a few questions: 1) What is the timeline here? Did the gun battle, which was said to occur on Christmas Eve, happen after the Spidey film? If so, wouldn't the destruction of the Statue of Liberty have been all over the news? I don't really care; I'm just treating this as a thought exercise. 2) Did the big gunfight happen a block from Peter's apartment without him lifting a finger to help? 3) Have two unrelated MCU productions ever had this much synergistic integration in simultaneous release before? Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only other example that I can think of.

Evie, to answer your specific questions: I don't know if this is the best Spider-Man to date -- it's in a very close contest with 2 and Homecoming -- but yeah, it's definitely better than Into the Spider-Verse. Personally, I'd recommend Shang-Chi before this since it's more accessible to non-fans whereas this depends on a great deal of prior movie-going, but they're both really good.

Scott Hardie | January 2, 2022
In the diner scene at the end, where MJ and Ned don't recognize Peter: Was the old man sitting at the end of the counter (past Ned, towards the left edge of the frame) a cameo? He was positioned and photographed more visibly than a typical extra, yet he had no lines, and his age makes me suspect that it's a retired Marvel writer or artist getting a silent cameo in the wake of Stan Lee's passing. Maybe it was just my imagination. (Separately, the movie winked at Stan Lee with a taxi license plate reading 1228, his birthday.)

I read online that there were blink-and-miss-it multiverse cameos by Darkman, Robocop, Kick-Ass, and the Nic Cage version of Ghost Rider. I assume that these were in the rifts in the sky opened by Dr. Strange, and that the "cameos" were just amorphous blobs in those characters' shapes, about as recognizable as Spongebob macaroni. But if they were more clear than that, I'd really like to know, and to see screenshots of them.

Scott Hardie | February 1, 2022
The tiniest of nitpicks here: The street in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum looks nothing like it did in Avengers: Infinity War, when Stark, Banner, Strange, and Wong went outside to meet the Black Order. I grew up on the comics, so I'm accustomed to details like this changing from issue to issue and artist to artist, but I still couldn't help but notice this very minor inconsistency.

Matthew Preston | February 1, 2022
Good catch! And speaking of which, was it ever explained why Peter is able to control his body after being pushed out? Spidey-Sense (AKA Peter-Tingle)?

Scott Hardie | February 1, 2022
I don't think it was explained. I assumed that the spider-sense automatically dodged when Strange tried to grab the magic box, and Astral Peter was not in control of it.

Matthew Preston | February 2, 2022
The more I think about it, this is another example of Sony changing things for their own amusement within the MCU. It was a humorous moment, but it does potentially have precedence/implications for other Astral projections to be able to do the same thing in future movies.

Wow, I just got realized this is a very specific and highly unlikely scenario. I am such a geek. You can practically hear me saying "ackchyually..."

Scott Hardie | February 2, 2022
You're not saying anything that I wasn't thinking. :-) I'm more worried that dodging via spider-sense is now automatic and doesn't involve a conscious choice on Peter's part, which is another potential Pandora's box that will probably never come up again.

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