A website of real drama characters and fan service

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is at its best and worst when it reminds of other movies. Not only does he adopt a lot, many Dialogue lines from Raimi’s films, it also delves into the trippy visuals of “Doctor Strange,” giving its (admittedly still flat and uneven) aesthetic a touch of excitement. There is a childish joy to see Molina repeating the most famous lines of her character (“the power of the sun … in my hand”) but also a crass sadness to see this line so separated from its context that it plays. like a satire. “No Way Home” can’t help but poke fun at the heightened drama of Raimi’s films, with your usual simple lines about “real names” of people and “beware of toxic vats you fall into”. But despite the smugness inherited from his MCU brethren, there is an appalling sincerity to Dutchman Peter Parker who continues to charm and shine more in the face of outsized villains like Dafoe’s Green Goblin. Dafoe slips into the role as if he’s never left, wielding the same lopsided smile and wide staring eyes, falling right into that creepy goblin voice he adopted for the dark side of Norman Osborn. It’s no surprise that Dafoe is the villain who runs away with the film and becomes the main driver of Peter’s conflict.

And yet, despite its flaws, despite the blatant nature of fan service, it works. As awkwardly executed as it can be, fan service doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, especially when it serves a larger thematic purpose: to fight against the legacy of Spider-Man. Multiversal villains are doomed to die at the hands of Spider-Man, Peter Parker learns. Everywhere Spider-Man goes, “death and destruction follow,” claims J. Jonah Jameson. Later, Peter must come to terms with and face his legacy in a way that plays on nostalgia for the last two “Spider-Man” series, while actually serving the character of Peter. It’s a happy marriage of fan service and character writing that ultimately works – despite the jokes and overly long riffs between some characters.

If you punch too many holes in the narrative, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” begins to unravel. But if you take it at face value, it’s a sweet, soulful swing from a “Spider-Man” movie that (mostly) manages to land.

/ Movie rating: 7 out of 10

About Victoria Rothstein

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