The Pitch: It’s very very hard to make specific references to much of what happens in Spider-Man: No Way Home without spoilers. But at one point, while discussing the memory spell that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has agreed to perform for Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Peter voices his concern over his beloved MJ (Zendaya) forgetting that he’s Spider-Man.
Doctor Strange then points out that if MJ is only Peter’s girlfriend because he’s Spider-Man, then what does that say about their relationship? It’s perhaps the smartest thing Doctor Strange says in the entire movie, and evaluating No Way Home leads to a similar dilemma.
What director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have done with this film is an unprecedented piece of corporate-produced art. But attempting to write about it without blowing some of the bigger reveals highlights this question: Separated from the most exciting/controversial/unexpected moments in play, and without the element of surprise, does No Way Home hold up as a good story well told? The answer is yes to a degree…but it could have gone further.
Bring Me Pictures of Spider-Man! If you haven’t recently seen Holland’s previous Spider-Man outing, Far From Home, you might want to go revisit it, as the action of No Way Home picks pretty much immediately after the surprise outing of Peter as Spidey by J. Jonah Jamison (J.K. Simmons, whose new interpretation of the character veers immediately into full-tilt Alex Jones territory here).