By Courtney Cheek (IG: @COURTCHEEK)
Courtney Cheek attended the Dallas, TX press screening of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME for BOF and check out what she had to say right after seeing the film. The full review follows the video.
SYNOPSIS: For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. When he enlists Doctor Strange’s help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in their world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse.
I went into this film fairly skeptical if I was going to have the best fully available cinematic experience due to how many spoilers have been running rampant across the internet. Although I’ve done my best to avoid said spoilers, it’s obviously extremely challenging given how much “we know” about this film. That being said, I wanted to keep my expectations low, so that I wasn’t disappointed.
I was not disappointed.
The film starts with a pre-film message from cast members pleading with moviegoers to avoid sharing spoilers so others can enjoy the film. To honor that plea (and because I hope to be cast in the MCU in my career), I’m going to keep this spoiler-free.
Right out of the gate, this film picks ups right where Far From Home leaves off. Peter’s (Tom Holland) world is turned upside down when Mysterio reveals his identity to the world and everything changes for Peter and those around him. Peter finds himself devastated for his friends and loved ones, and decides to go to Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you can guess what happens next. Peter pleads with Strange for help, reluctantly, a caution-ridden Strange decides to use a spell to erase the memories of those affected by the reveal. Things go sideways, resulting in various characters from other worlds begin popping up. There are some unique challenges, as Peter and Strange attempt to clean up the mess. The action in this film is exactly what we have come to know and love from the MCU – high flying, hand to hand combat with a purpose. The story does a good job of keeping a good pace. There wasn’t a point that I felt bored or pulled out of it.
The cast that we love surrounding Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is what makes this movie work. Benedict Cumberbatch is outstanding, contrasting Holland’s emotionally conflicted teenager with his logical and sometimes impassive wizard. Zendaya is absolutely fabulous as MJ, and I am a firm believer it is one of the best castings made within the MCU (and there have been many fantastic castings)! BOF Contributor, JoAnne Hyde said it best, “I believe she could read the tax code aloud and you’d still be mesmerized!” I completely agree. Jacob Batalon as Ned is the perfect depiction of friendship and humor. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May remains the guardian and guide for Peter, always encouraging him to as we have come to love. And who doesn’t love seeing Jon Favreau return as Happy Hogan?! As always, Happy is a wonderful addition, providing great moments throughout the film.
The moments between the characters are by far the most compelling since Avengers: End Game or WandaVision. The connection and chemistry between this cast are probably some of the best we’ve seen (and will most likely only continue to improve and pull on our heartstrings). Further proving that Marvel knows what they are doing and this isn’t “just another superhero movie”. I’ll say it again, the performances are absolutely magical. These small moments as my favorite part of the film and what I still think about hours later.
If you have read any of the press surrounding this movie or looked at the red-carpet photos, you know there are arrivals of villains that have appeared in other Spider-Man films. As I promised, I’m going to keep this spoiler-free. All I will say is that there are some really fantastic nods to characters and events throughout the MCU, as well as Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s Spider-Man stories throughout the film.
I was not disappointed by this film. However, if you’ve been targeted by spoilers, I will encourage you to, in the words of Elsa, “Let it go.” I promise you’ll enjoy the film far more. Whether you are a casual moviegoer, a die-hard MCU, or a comic book fan, there is something in this film for everyone. – Courtney Cheek