2021 (April 12, 2022)
Columbia/Pascal Pictures/Marvel Studios (Sony Pictures)
- Movie/Program Grade: HAS
- VideoGrade: HAS
- AudioGrade: HAS
- Grade Extras: B-
[Editor’s Note: It’s difficult to write a spoiler-free review of this film, though a sincere effort has been made to keep the revelations to a minimum.]
At the conclusion of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the sinister Mysterio was defeated but the secret identity of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) was revealed to the world. so as No Way Home begins, not only has this unmasking ruined Peter’s life, it’s made things difficult for besties MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) as well. When the fallout culminates in all three of them being denied admission to MIT—the college of their dreams—Peter realizes he’s unwittingly stolen his friends’ future by mother association. So he pays a visit to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), hoping that there’s a magical spell that can make everyone forget who he is once more. But when the spell goes sideways and ruptures the multiverse, dangerous villains from other realities begin to appear, including Doc Ock and the Green Goblin. And as the chaos quickly ensues, it soon becomes clear that Peter, Strange, Ned, and MJ will need a lot more than magic to set things right again.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a remarkably good movie. Part of this is due to the efforts of Jon Watts, who returns to the director’s chair to complete his MCU trilogy. It certainly helps his cause that the Spider-Man character is so relatable. And much can surely be attributed to cast members Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon, who shine here as brightly as ever. Yet this is such an efficient screenplay that Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers deserve some recognition too. Though planned for a while, using the multiverse to bring characters from Sony’s previous Marvel films into the MCU is clever indeed, especially as it means adding the likes of Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, and others to a strong ensemble that already includes Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Benedict Wong, and Charlie Cox (reprising his role as Matt Murdock from the Netflix TV series). But to do this in a way that allows Holland’s Peter Parker the chance to grow, and give so many other characters emotional closure in the process—all without sidelining MJ and Ned—that’s a real storytelling coup.
No Way Home was captured digitally by cinematographer Mauro Fiore (Avatar, The Kingdom, Infinity) in the ARRIRAW codec (at 4.5K) using Arri Alexa LF and Mini FL cameras with Panavision Panaspeed lenses, and it was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate framed at 2.39:1 for its wide theatrical release (and 1.90:1 for IMAX release ). Per usual with MCU titles on disc, Sony and Marvel’s Ultra HD includes the 2.39:1 framing only. The good news is that the higher resolution capture makes a significant difference in the quality of the final image, 2K DI aside—better pixels in = better pixels out. What’s more, the film is graded for high dynamic range with both Dolby Vision and HDR10 options available on the disc. The 4K image is crisp-looking and cleanly detailed, with lots of subtle texturing visible. The grade leans toward high contrast, offering bold highlights and deep blacks, yet enhances visible detail on both ends. Colors are nuanced and well-saturated, though it should be noted that the MCU films have seldom looked truly vibrant. All in all, this is a very nice 4K image, though one can’t help wishing that the IMAX framing had been included.
Primary audio on the 4K disc is available in English Dolby Atmos format. The mix is big, wide, and atmospheric, with plenty of bluster, robust low end, and smooth panning and movement all around the soundstage. The overhead channels kick in often to complete the immersion and to lend a bit of lift and energy to web-swinging and action set pieces. Dialogue is clean and discernible. Michael Giacchino’s efficient score—which, given the nature of the film, references thematic cues from Danny Elfman, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer—is presented in excellent fidelity. Additional sound options include English and French Audio Descriptive Service, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, and French, Spanish, and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital. Optional subtitles are available in English, English SDH, Cantonese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai.
Sony’s 4K disc includes no extras, but the package adds a Blu-ray Disc carrying the film in 1080p HD, along with the following special features:
- Bloopers & Gag Reels (HD – 4:01)
- Action Choreography Across the Multiverse (HD – 6:25)
- A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland (HD – 6:16)
- Realities Collide, Spiders Unite (HD – 8:09)
- Graduation Day (HD – 7:07)
- Enter Strange (HD – 5:04)
- Weaving Jon Watts’ Web (HD – 7:18)
- Alternate Reality Easter Eggs (HD – 4:41)
- A Multiverse of Miscreants (HD – 6:38)
- A Meeting of the Spiders – Heroes Panel (HD – 7:23)
- The Sinister Summit – Villains Panel (HD – 8:44)
- The Daily Bugle: Spider-Menace Strikes Again (HD – 1:15)
- The Daily Bugle: Web of Lies (HD – 1:18)
- The Daily Bugle: Spider Sycophant (HD – 1:41)
- Stunt Scene Pre-Vis: Apartment Fight (HD – 1:46)
- Stunt Scene Pre-Vis: Shield Fight (HD – 1:49)
- Theatrical Marketing Materials
- Tom & Jacob Lie Detector (HD – 1:58)
- Tom’s Press Tour (HD – 1:03)
- Georgia Promo (HD – 1:15)
It looks like more content than it actually is (the totally running time is about 80 minutes), but the good news is that much of what you get here is quite good. You get to see lots of behind-the-scenes interaction between the film’s established and crossover cast members. The film’s director weighs in with key insights, as do Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. You get to see Pre-Vis for key sequences too, as well as additional Daily Bugle videoclips. There are also segments on the stunts, the Easter eggs, and the process of bringing actors from Sony’s previous Marvel films back to the big screen. What you won’t find here here are deleted scenes, audio commentary, or even a trailer for this film. But you do get previews for other Sony titles, including Uncharted, Morbius, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Ghostbusters: Afterlifeand Alex Rider: Season 2. A sneak peek for Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plays at the end of the film’s credits. And of course, you get a Digital Copy code on a paper insert.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is effective, entertaining, and full of heart. Not only does it turbo-charge Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and provide a fitting conclusion to Holland’s time in the Spider-suit (if indeed he chooses not to return), it serves as a satisfying coda to the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb incarnations of the “Spider-Verse” too. Any way you slice it, this is just damn good filmmaking… and a bit of pop culture genius. Recommended.
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