A belated review of Spider-Man No Way Home

Poster for Spider-Man No Way Home

Spoilers contained for a movie out since December.

Spider-Man No Way Home may not have saved cinema but it made life easier for theater owners and generated enjoyment for theatergoers. The third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie has generated almost $1.9 billion in global box office.

During the COVID-19 pandemic that seemed impossible. But it happened anyway.

COVID prevented the blog from actually seeing the movie until this weekend. It’s understandable how the film made such an impact.

It combines typical comic book action with emotion, high stakes and tragedy. In the end, it also emphasizes personal sacrifice in an era marked by selfishness.

Being a comic book-based movie, Spider-Man No Way Home embraces the notion of a “multiverse,” or multiple dimensions. Holland eventually meets up with his predecessors as Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

Imagine, if you will, a James Bond movie in the 1980s where the Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore versions of Bond meet up.

That would have produced an emotional high. Bond, of course, isn’t intended for a “multiverse” presentation.

Spider-Man No Way Home isn’t perfect. The action sequences go on too long (a typical hazard of comic book films). But that’s mostly a quibble. The film has a lot of emotion. GRADE: A.

Spider-Man 3.0 gets blessing from critics

Spider-Man: Homecoming poster

Spider-Man: Homecoming had its premiere this week and received a lot of positive reviews, including a score of more than 90 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

This is the third version of biggest character in Marvel Comics. Tom Holland, 21, is taking over from the likes of Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

However, this is the first Spidey movie that’s officially part of the Marvel film universe after Marvel and Sony Pictures (which produced five Spider-Man movies from 2002 to 2014) cut a deal. Marvel produced the latest Spidey epic while Sony released it.

Well, here’s a (non-spoiler) sampling of reviews ahead of the official July 7 release.

JONATHAN L. FISCHER, SLATE: “Spider-Man: Homecoming is both a homecoming for the character as well as a movie in which Spider-Man literally goes to homecoming—a fitting re-introduction and an endearingly goofy teen flick.”

PETER TRAVERS, ROLLING STONE: “News Flash: Tom Holland is the best movie Spider-Man ever. He finds the kid inside the famous red onesie and brings out the kid in even the most hardened filmgoer….Spider-Man: Homecoming feels fresh off the drawing board, as if he was a character with the dew still on him.”

SCOTT MENDELSON, FORBES.COM: “(T)he film doesn’t work. Why not?  Because in a desire to highlight his youth and inexperience, the film turns Peter Parker into a dangerously incompetent would-be superhero.”

BRIAN TRUITT, USA TODAY: “(Tom) Holland not only looks the part of a 15-year-old but portrays the needed vulnerability, immaturity and jocularity of his comic-book counterpart that was sorely missed in previous movie incarnations.”

SCOTT MENZEL, WE LOVE FILM: “The attempt to recreate what made John Hughes films so great felt incredibly forced. It was so obvious that the writers were doing it that there was nothing clever about it.”

About that Spider-Man: Homecoming poster…

Newest Spider-Man Homecoming poster

So the new Spider-Man: Homecoming poster is out and the reaction is….underwhelming.

Truth be told, the era of the classic movie poster passed away a long time ago, with spectacular illustrations (like THIS ONE for You Only Live Twice) phased out in favor of Photoshop efforts.

But Spider-Man: Homecoming spurred more of a reaction. Websites such as The Verge and Movie Pilot critiqued it and found it wanting.

Why so much attention to a movie poster?

Well, Spider-Man has an unusual movie history. It tooks years for Marvel’s No. 1 hero to reach the screen.

None of the five films released by Sony Pictures has done poorly at the box office, although the third Toby Maguire movie in 2007 and the second Andrew Garfield effort in 2014 absorbed some lumps from critics and fans.

Sony reached a deal with Marvel Studios where the latter would take over the heavy lifting and put the character in its universe of film superheroes. Thus, Spider-Man 3.0 (Tom Holland) debuted in last year’s Captain America: Civil War.

Now the first movie with Spidey 3.0 as the lead character is a little more than a month away. But the poster is generating some concerns including:

Is this a Spider-Man movie or an Iron Man movie? Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark has the biggest image of a human without a helmet or mask.

The largest single image is Spider-Man (which seems especially modeled after artist John Romita Sr.’s version from the comics). But Holland’s Peter Parker, while in the center, is definitely smaller than Downey/Stark.

Downey put Marvel-produced movies on the map with 2008’s Iron Man. He’s still around and it remains to be seen how Marvel’s films will perform once he’s put away his repulsor rays. So it makes sense from a marketing standpoint. Still, this is supposed to be Spidey’s show.

There seems to be a lot of clutter: You’ve got six people, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Vulture, the New York skyline and a lot of lights.

All of this may turn out to be noise. Marvel Studios has had so many hits, the urge to find weaknesses is understandable.

While we’re at it, here’s a new trailer. It appears, at least for a time, Peter wears a Spidey suit unlike any he ever had in the comics.