I triple dog dare you not to enjoy “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a real crowd pleaser from director Jon Watts. With endearing characters, ideal casting, and massive-scale action (and an even bigger heart), this movie delivers tenfold. It is a celebration of why so many comic book fans love Peter Parker’s web slinging superhero.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is facing some rough times. His secret identity as a friendly neighborhood superhero has been revealed, and the entire world now knows that he is Spider-Man. This is causing great stress in his normal life, even putting his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) , girlfriend MJ (Zendaya), and his pals (Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau) at risk.
Thinking things would be better if nobody knew who he was, Peter enlists the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to restore his secret. Things go horribly wrong when a hole is torn in the multiverse, and the spell releases the most powerful villains (Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx) into the current universe. Peter must help (or fight) the bad guys to restore order and save the future.
With a plethora of cameos, Easter eggs, and surprises, the film gives an enthusiastic wink-and-a-nod to diehard Marvel fans. There’s just enough nostalgia to appease longtime Spider-Man aficionados, but not so much that it leaves casual viewers out in the cold. The multiverse, which can be a tricky concept to keep in line, actually makes sense here. The timelines add up, even under closer scrutiny.
The special effects are polished and the action sequences are a blast. Even more refreshing is that the performances are just as strong as the thrills, with solid turns from both the leads and the supporting cast. But as is the case with many superhero popcorn movies, the film suffers from its bloated runtime and puny script. I wish it had been shorter, with more substance.
Despite a few flaws, “Spider-Man: No way Home” is a funny, good-natured, action-packed superhero movie. It delivers what most audiences crave: a good time at the movies.