With Spidey sense and spoiler warnings tingling, Kraig Taylor-Bryant watched Spider-Man: No Way Home...
“With great power, comes great responsibility” a quote we Spider-Fans are all familiar with and some, perhaps, are tired of hearing. Nonetheless, it's debatably the most important quote to sum up Spider-Man and his alter ego, the teenage Peter Parker, who must accept the weight of his decision to be a superhero. The famous quote is also relatable to anyone involved in this new Spidey trilogy; the Director, Jon Watts, the people at the top, Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige, even the audience, given the weight of the Spider-Man legacy.
Therefore, in the spirit of responsibility, if it’s not already clear, I will be going into bigger spoilers for the movie now, so please click away now if you would prefer to be relatively spoiler-free...
Still here? Right, before I go any further, I want to remove any misconceptions about ‘where I might be going’ with this article. You might have heard about Disney attempting to put the film up for a best picture nomination at the Oscars and I feel as if I have to make it clear that, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I don’t think it’s got what it takes to be ‘Oscar worthy’. Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, legacy.
Legacy seems to be the most important theme of this trilogy, I think it’s a shame that it had lean so hard on the Tony Stark legacy for its first two instalments, but I guess it still offers variety to seeing Uncle Ben die for the umpteenth time. Luckily Jon Watts is clearly some form of Spidey fanatic because not only does he throw all the Spider-Man nostalgia at the screen for this joyride, but he does just enough to add more to each of the characters, without it feeling forced.
From beginning to end, as we often see with all Spider-people, there is a struggle between being a hero and living an ordinary life, I was honestly surprised when I thought back to this Spider-Man’s character progression and how he’s changed by the end of the third movie. In this first two movies he fights for a normal life, with Ned and MJ and in the beginning of the third movie, he can only think about the three of them planning for college, but naturally we have to come back to that line about responsibility, as Spider-Man. By the end of No Way Home, I was surprised that the J.J Jameson story on Spider-Man’s identity would be the catalyst for this Spider-Man’s arc.
What Peter Parker says in the No Way Home trailer about ‘feeling normal for the first time in a long time’, when he revealed his identity to MJ, proves to be very important later in the film. Upon making the decision to have Doctor Strange force a spell on the world, to make them forget Peter Parker exists, he’s presented with the chance to reveal his Identity to MJ again at the end of the film, but chooses not to, making it clear in the scene that he chooses the safety of his friends over having a normal life.
It’s clear that part of what led to Peter making that decision, was the Green Goblin killing his Aunt May, which whilst Marvel doesn’t tend to kill many characters, there seemed to be an understanding that Peter hadn’t yet gotten his on screen “great responsibility” moment (or at least one as powerful as Peter losing his uncle), and losing his aunt was certainly a “wake up call” on the dangers of involving people close to him.
On the subject of the Green Goblin though, another controversial decision was the one to have the Norman Osborne destroy his original mask early in the film. Personally, I think it was a brave and understandable decision, because whilst it certainly plays well for nostalgia I can’t help but think of some kind of Power Rangers villain when I look back on it. It also makes all the difference that we can see more of Willem Dafoe’s performance as both Osborne and the goblin, which is especially important when this film has to balance his screen time with so many others.
Nonetheless I think we can all agree that the way Norman was utilised to help Aunt May and Peter realise that the villains had good intentions to begin with, was done very effectively. It sort of comes back to when the Aunt May from the Rami trilogy said, “Spider Man doesn’t kill people”, so in that way this Aunt May’s optimism really shone through.
Initially I was beginning to think that this trilogy was going to suffer for its dependence on mentor figures, throughout the three movies. Then I thought, this is Marvel, how do we know it’s just going to be a trilogy for this version of Spider-Man? The ending certainly gives us enough for it to be a satisfying ending, but in true Marvel fashion it leaves the door open, and so it should, because similar to Tony Stark or Steve Rogers, this trilogy felt like a slow character progression and even an origin story, across three movies. Personally, I hope that this will only help us care more about Tom Holland's Spider-Man, though for me there is a risk, as I felt somewhat exhausted by the overuse of Iron Man towards the end of phase 3.
It certainly sounds like I enjoyed the film, right? Well yes I did, they hit all the nostalgia points, it’s certainly a fun watch, whilst balancing the action fairly well with most of the emotional moments, and I don't think you'd want to miss this spectacle. However, I have to nit-pick and say the story was somewhat basic. Similar to Endgame (and many other Marvel films), it’s too occupied in being an audience event rather than a well-paced and developed story. Don’t get me wrong, it's paced well enough for what it is, I just don’t think what it is, is a developed story worthy of the Best Picture Oscar.
Follow Kraig on Twitter @Kraigandhismac
Images - Sony/Marvel