I will admit, I have been somewhat of a harsh critic of Marvel’s most recent products film-wise. I haven’t really seen the TV offerings outside of “WandaVision,” so don’t even bother asking about those. In that same vein, I will also admit that I am one who has the tendency to fall into the pitfalls of nostalgia. I will shamelessly say that I’ve been caught in the web (get it?) of the latest offering from the crew headed by Jon Watts. Not to say that I’m the only one, seeing as I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of picking up a job at a movie theater just before this hit the silver screen. Sometimes I just have all the luck, don’t I?
Anyway, Spider-Man has had his secret identity revealed to the entire news-watching public by Mysterio, the villain of the last film. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has had a bit of stock in the fact that only a select few knew that he is Spider-Man, so this comes as a bit of a shock to Peter and MJ (Zendaya). Because of all the commotion surrounding his name, Peter, MJ and Ned (Jacob Batalon) have been declined to their dream school, MIT — that is until Peter gets the wise idea to make the whole world forget that he’s Spider-Man through his work friend, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Though, in a manner that would make Ash Williams blush, Peter finds a way to mess up the spell in a way that could have multi-dimensional ramifications. Everything seems normal until some familiar faces appear in the forms of Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) and Flint Marko (Thomas Hayden Church). Though they are not familiar to Peter, I’ll just say that the villains and the new heroes are a little more well-acquainted.
A big criticism of most Marvel films has been the quality (or lack thereof) of the antagonists in these films. This criticism, in some ways, is quite well-earned in my opinion. Not for this film. I would say that this cast of villains is the best we’ve seen in any Marvel film since “Avengers: Infinity War.” Yes, they’re that good. I just find it funny that instead of writing new characters, Marvel has quite literally ripped the villains from the other Spider-Man movies and placed them in this one. All that aside, I will also applaud the chemistry between all of our main stars here, even though it’s not exactly news to us that this cast is quite well-acquainted. I would go so far as to say that the combination between Peter, MJ and Ned could carry at least three more films on their lonesome. Maybe it’s the nostalgia goggles being slipped over my eyes, but I find little to complain about in the big picture.
I can see why this film has smashed box office records in the middle of a major pandemic, but I do hope that this film is a sign of trajectory and not just a blip on the radar. This film has earned some cautious optimism from my end, and I do hope to see more projects like this in the very near future. I would tell you to go and see it, but if you’re reading this, you’ve more than likely already seen it.