Spider-Man: No Way Home Review
An epic conclusion to Sam Raimi's legacy
Honoring the legacy of Spiderman and its fans, ‘No Way Home’ is the type of comic-book film we haven’t seen in a long time.
This is my review of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ for the Federalist, Pls check out the original article here.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home‘ The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film is a mammoth, orbit-breaking success. "Spiderman: No Way Home," which premiered over the weekend, is both critically and financially the type of comic-book film we have not seen in a long time.
It is a fantastic film, honoring the legacy of the Spiderman franchise and its fans. It offers a positive message of quality entertainment and art, all made possible by the intrepid filmmaker Sam Raimi and 'No Way Home' director Jon Watts. This Spidey flick is a runaway success, and Hollywood should start asking why.
Gangbusters at the Box Office
The big question that the fan-hating media ask themselves is why this film is doing so well incredibly well both culturally and financially?
Critics are prone to tie "No Way Home's" success to COVID and a dull year in the world of blockbuster cinema. However, I contend that success is a reaction against everything that Hollywood has gotten wrong. Directors like Jon Watts and Sam Raimi is getting right. Moreover, the box office reflects it.
In its first night alone, "No Way Home" earned over $121 million, putting it in the top 10 sales of films this year. Then the film stormed through theaters over the weekend, earning $260 million, making it the second greatest opening weekend in movie history. The film has yet to come out to China and has already made $587 million globally. At this rate, it is in striking distance of dethroning "Avengers: End Game" as all-time movie king.
The joyous reaction from audience members is something amazing to watch. I have talked to comics fans and normies, both getting teary-eyed explaining watching this film. Reports are coming everywhere of packed houses. Even when I attended a late Tuesday night screening in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the place was packed with big burly, bearded men weeping and older baby boomers giving standing applause. Even midwestern moms and their kids got in on the act.
The Spidermen Returneth
To get a sense of why this film is so important to fans, you must know the complicated cinematic history of those who worked on past Spiderman films.
Sam Raimi, the former horror director of "The Evil Dead," created two lauded success stories featuring the affable yet humble Tobey Maguire as the masked web-crawler in the early 2000s. These are wonderful and timeless films. Nevertheless, despite the first two Spiderman films being critical and box office successes, executives at Sony thought they could do Spidey better for the third and subsequent films.
Notable at the time was their obsession with action figure sales and taking advantage of more recent radical '90s characters. Raimi wanted Sandman. They demanded Venom; thus, many script changes, complicated re-shoots, and multiple difficult locations.
Even though the third Spiderman film was a box office success, fans and the early internet felt tainted. Raimi was blamed even though Raimi's protestations to Sony executives had been ignored. Raimi intended to do two more films, but with Maguire still recovering from a grievous back injury and yet more meddling from Sony, he got burned and left the franchise and comic book for 13 years. And from listening to recent interviews with Raimi, he thought perhaps, forever.
Meanwhile, how did the Spider pretenders fare? Well what followed at Sony were two rather terrible Amazing Spiderman films featuring the okay Andrew Garfield in plots that were even too much melodrama for Spiderman fans. After the second film flopped, the franchise rebooted twice in four years.
A Turning Point for All Superhero Flicks
Thus entered Tom Holland with his take on the friendly neighborhood Spiderman in "Captain America: Civil War" and subsequent Avengers films. Holland would then get two films of his own, "Spiderman: Homecoming" and "Spiderman: Far From Home," which did well in theaters but to me always felt more like MCU after-school teen specials than their things.
For the third MCU Spiderman film, Disney and MCU bigwig Kevin Feige wanted to do something that would knock it out of the park. The phase four-ship had gotten off to a rocky start, and they needed to get this right.
Holland revealed that "No Way Home" relied on Raimi's style.
"I think what Jon Watts did really well is [what] he would call the 'Raimi Cam'," said Holland. "And he would do these really quick, smash push-ins on characters, which is something Sam Raimi, I suppose, was quite famous for. So, Jon definitely paid respect to the previous two movies."
Could this film be a turning point for mass-market American cinema? For the last ten years, mainstream Hollywood AAA productions have followed a formula of treating moviemaking like tricking a toddler into eating their vegetables.