Spider-Man: No Way Home Closes One Door and Opens Several Others
One Spider-Man Isn’t Enough to Pull Off this Feat
On the road to life, I watched a child do childish things but somewhere along the way, the child turned into a man and started doing manly things. If you had to sum up in one sentence what Spider-Man: No Way Home is about, this, perhaps, is just one. Spider-Man: No Way Home is more than just some superhero’s tale of fighting supervillains. It is a journey of one’s self who is thrown headfirst into adulthood and without a parachute. I had to watch this film twice to get the nuances in the telling and it was fruitful as it was ambitious.
Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up right away from Spider-Man: Far From Home. Spider-Man’s secret identity has been revealed to be Peter Parker Tom Holland) by Mysterio. But wasn’t that Peter’s fault for being careless when he willingly revealed it to Mysterio after being prompted to remove his mask from the Krull Nick Fury? Surely he could have said no but throughout Far From Home, Peter’s gullibility and naivete’ lead him to where we are now. Unfortunately, that gullibility and naivete’ will come at a cost for Peter in more ways than one.
The first 40 minutes of the film would be best to call it the childish side of Peter. He, along with Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya) is hauled in by the authorities and questioned about events leading up to the Mysterio maelstrom. We really don’t get to see the full consequences and ramifications of their involvement that would lend itself to taking desperate measures. But childish Peter hasn’t developed full cognitive frontal lobe brain connections and sought out other measures. Instead, he goes to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to institute a quick fix. I guess it’s nice to have a sorcerer in your hip pocket to fulfill your Make-A-Wish problems go away.
But Peter, in a selfish act, screws up the spell by talking and interrupting the casting of the spell and by not thinking through this spell and what it truly means by doing so. The spell goes horribly wrong but Peter dismisses it and goes about his day as if nothing is wrong. He takes Dr. Strange’s advice and goes to speak to the M.I.T. chairperson about getting his friends into M.I.T. and it works. But the lesson is too late for him to absorb as Doc Octopus (Alred Molina) materializes from the newly minted Multiverse. He is just one of several Spider villains that come to his world and create havoc.
But as each one of these supervillains appears, they are quickly rounded up and placed in a holding cell by Dr. Strange. But the trio still finds time to mock Doc Ock by making fun of his given name, Otto Octavius. For a person of Doc Ock’s standing and reputation, having children mock his name is childish and more so humiliating. Dr. Srange’s goal is to return the other-worlders back to their timeline and have their fate fulfilled which would mean their eventual demise. Peter, the man-child, disagrees with Dr. Strange and verbally protest. Dr. Strange insists that this is the only choice and starts manipulating the spell box with incantations. Peter, in Spider-Man mode, fights Dr. Strange for the spell box and prevails. You would then ask yourself, why does Peter’s position supersede Dr. Strange’s position, a person who has more life and world experience than your friendly costumed character? This is never broached. Instead, we see Peter pigheadedly forge ahead with his wishes after trapping Strange over grand Canyon. Has he not learned anything from his time with Tony Stark?
While Peter is attempting to rectify Octavius’s issues, Norman Osborne (Willem DaFoe) aka Green Goblin reverts to his alter-ego persona and goes on a destructive bent. It is at this junction that the road Spider-Man has been on takes a dark turn. In their attempt to escape the Green goblin’s rampage, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is mortally wounded. Up to this point, Peter’s life has been filled with frivolous and superficial wants and needs. Now for the first time in his life, he will experience the most personal of losses, a loss under the umbrella of violence, a loss that he perhaps had orchestrated but not with intent.
As Peter goes through the mourning phase for Aunt May, he gets an assist from two other Peter Parkers thanks to Ned after putting on Strange’s dual-ring that Peter managed to wrest from him at the Grand Canyon. Now there are three Peter Parkers in this universe. Peter Parker 2 (Toby McGuire) and Peter Parker 3 (Andrew Garfield) reintroduce themselves with the right touch of revisiting the characters but with a bit more nuance. Unlike Peter Parker 1 (Holland), you can feel the other’s life experiences especially with Peter Parker 2. Peter Parker 2 is a more traveled Spider-Man who has gone through a lot. His relationship with Mary Jane has had its ebb and flow as they have managed to stay together. Peter Parker 3 is a more reserved Spider-Man. Even though he has had some wins, he has dealt with the losses on a more personal level as he keeps his feelings at arm's length. We get to see how much his feelings are in reserve after he saves MJ from falling. The pain from losing Gwen still haunts him as it’s telegraphed all over his face when he asks MJ if she was okay? That was brilliant.
As each supervillain is reverted back to normal, Dr. Strange has returned trying to contain an ever-growing Multiverse, Peter 1 has finally come to the conclusion of what Strange had intended to do originally, have everyone forget who Peter Parker was. It’s a decision that will have major consequences on his life and he makes it. Gone are his high school days. Gone are his friendships. Gone are the Avengers collaborations. Gone are the memories shared with others. Gone are the loves in his life.
The book of Peter Parker is closed. There is a new book now, Chapter 1, a young man enters his new apartment to begin his new life while studying for his GED. He’s not sure of his job prospect but he remains hopeful that tomorrow with brings a new opportunity.
Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars