Film Review – SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021)

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021, USA/Iceland, 148m, 12) ***½
Action, Adventure
dist. Columbia Pictures; pr co. Columbia Pictures / Pascal Pictures / Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE); d. Jon Watts; w. Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko); pr. Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal; ph. Mauro Fiore (Colour | 2.39:1); m. Michael Giacchino; ed. Leigh Folsom Boyd, Jeffrey Ford; pd. Darren Gilford; ad. David Scott.
cast: Tom Holland (Peter Parker / Spider-Man), Zendaya (MJ), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan), Jamie Foxx (Max Dillon / Electro), Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn / Green Goblin), Alfred Molina (Dr. Otto Octavius / Doc Ock), Benedict Wong (Wong), Tony Revolori (Flash Thompson), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker / Spider-Man), Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker / Spider-Man), Angourie Rice (Betty Brant), Arian Moayed (Agent Cleary), Paula Newsome (MIT Assistant Vice Chancellor), Hannibal Buress (Coach Wilson), Martin Starr (Mr. Harrington), Haroon Khan (Apprentice), J.B. Smoove (Mr. Dell).
Entertaining, if self-indulgent, third outing for Holland as our favourite web-slinger. Picking up where SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME left off with Spider-Man’s identity revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) 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. Watts directs the action with pace but does not neglect attention to character as Holland comes to examine more closely the pros and cons of being a super-hero. The dialogue is witty and ironic without becoming overly annoying. The action scenes are often spectacular, aggressive, and technically superbly realised with expert use of CGI. It’s good to see old villains returning and there are other surprises along the way too. Fans will lap it up, but casual audiences may get left behind.