What has made Peter Parker an enduring hero for the last sixty years is that he could be us. He is someone who has great highs and really low low, but strives to do right because that’s the way he was raised. As Peter he is bullied for being shy and withdrawn, for being smart, for not being popular. As Spider-Man, he is belittled, picked on, subjugated to immense criticism and faces impossible odds with regularity.
We root for him because he rarely gives up, always comes back for more, and always tries to make things right. When Peter’s (Tom Holland) secret identity was revealed in Spider-Man: Far from Home we knew this was going to be a new set of obstacles. Spider-Man: No Way Home opens with the world adjusting to the idea that this high school student is a super-hero or menace. We see its impact on him, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and his friends. The hunched shoulders as he strides in the school hallways shows just how much he hates this.
So, of course, he tries to make it right. And as we know from the comics, the Parker Luck will make sure it’s not an easy solution. From there, the movie, out now from Sony Home Entertainment, things grow increasingly complicated.
On the one hand, this is Peter’s journey, a possible final act for Holland as the webhead, and he makes a tough matter worse and in trying to fix it, things grow chaotic. There will be a price to pay for asking Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to make the world forget the secret. It first comes in the form of villains drawn from across the multiverse, which to these characters, is a new concept to reckon with. It then comes in the form of a tragic death. And finally, a novel sacrifice to restore the status quo. In this regard, the film is near-perfect in tracing his journey, and Holland sells it with every frame.
On the other hand, this builds on the worlds-shattering events from WandaVision and sets up May’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and as a chapter of Phase Four, it opens up an entirely new front to be explored in subsequent films and television series. We even get Easter egg hints at future Sony-produced films such as the now-shooting Kraven the Hunter.
Screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers manage to service both requirements for the Marvel juggernaut without making things feel bloated. With Jon Watts back for the third installment
, his sure hand maintains order, making certain everyone has their moment or two, starting with Ned (Jacob Batalon), who is shown to have mystic potential, and MJ (Zendaya), who has come to embrace her boyfriend’s weird life.
What’s especially pleasing is how human the villains feel, and watching Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Elektro (Jamie Foxx), the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) interact with one another and the teens is a pleasure.
Willem Dafoe’s tortured Harry Obsborn/Green Goblin was also a fine wild card in the mix.
And if super-villains are brought from the multiverse to Peter’s world
, so too can there be allies in the form of other Spider-Man, somewhat older (Tobey Maguire) and wiser (Andrew Garfield). The three interacting is a delight and we can sense the unique qualities each brought to their webbed roles. Nicely, each of them deals with leftover issues from their film series so you get triple closure for the price of one.
Should Holland never don the suit again, we are left satisfied. But, we’re also ready for the next chapter.
The movie is streaming or available on disc in the usual combo packs. The 1080p Blu-ray transfer is near-perfect, all the textures and colors pop nicely, either in the shadows, night, or daylight. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is equal to the visuals making this quite worth seeing on a home screen.
The disc boasts quite a bit of Special Features, some taking a victory lap after three films, others exploring the large cast of characters. Interestingly, there are no deleted scenes. We do the following: Bloopers & Gag Reel (4:01); Action Choreography Across the Multiverse (6:25); A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland (6:16); Realities Collide, Spiders Unite (8:09); Graduation Day (7:07); Enter Strange (5:04); Weaving Jon Watts’ Web (7:18); Alternate Reality Easter Eggs (4:41); A Multiverse of Miscreants (6:38); A Meeting of the Spiders – Heroes Panel (7:23); The Sinister Summit – Villains Panel (8:44); The Daily Bugle clips (4:15); Stunt Scene Pre-Vis (3:35); and Theatrical Marketing Materials: Tom & Jacob Lie Detector (1:58), Tom’s Press Tour (1:03), and Georgia Promo (1:15).