Spider-Man: No Way Home — Review: Stunning & Not Woke
By, Al Scott & Joseph Hugh
Ever since Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man film was released in 2002 to massive critical and financial success, Spider-man has appeared in the theatres twelve times (counting Marvel’s Captain America Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame), and played by three, award-winning actors.
In the most recent of these appearances, Tom Holland plays a quirky (yet smart) high schooler (Peter Parker) who just wants to live a normal life, but because of his unique gifts and abilities, he keeps getting dragged away from his studies and his high school sweetheart (M.J. — played by Zendaya) and into the superhero business.
Peter Parker, of course, is accompanied by his best friend Ned (played by Jacob Batalon) who brings along some great humor as well as a shocking display of superhuman abilities for Marvel’s third (and possibly last) Sider-Man film.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is very similar two the first two of TomHolland’s Spider-Man films (Spider-Man: Homecoming & Spider-Man: Far from Home) in that it is largely concerned with his conflicting desire to “just be a normal kid” as well as to remain Spider-Man.
In many ways, the film will remind viewers of some of the earliest portrayals of Spider-Man by loosely basing the plot on ideas extracted from comics and early cartoons. And due to the producer’s likely effort to bring back some established and well-loved heroes and villains (sometimes in unexpected ways), No Way Home should please all fans of the Spider-Man tradition.
But without giving too much away, suffice it to say that this movie measures up when compared to some of Marvel’s greatest successes. Though loosely based on a traditional Spiderman story, the film is extremely original in its many plot twists and amazing character development.
Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home deserves its 4-star+ rating, but before continuing, there are a few things that are worth taking note of.
Explicit Content & Woke Narratives are (Mostly) Lacking
First off, before you get five minutes into the movie you there is a mildly inappropriate scene that includes some hidden & obvious explicit content. Though this does not come as a shock for those aware of the general Hollywood trend, it is no less inappropriate, and for some, may create a serious moral dilemma. Luckily, the scene stands alone and the rest of the film is mostly clean-cut.
As far as profanities go, there are a few, but they are mostly hinted at.
By far one of the most surprising things about No Way Home is its utter lack of woke ideology, virtue signaling, or even woke “hinting.” There is one scene where spiderman reassures a new fan of his (a former villain) that he was, ‘sure there was a black spiderman out there,’ but placed in context, this brief moment is more comic relief than anything else.
Many experts familiar with the issue contributed the film’s massive success (with expected earnings of over $200 million at box offices across North America) to this.
Moral Issues and the Christian Ethic
Probably the biggest win in the latest addition to the Marvel universe comes with the overall feeling that the main characters, namely the heroes, understand the difference between right and wrong. There is a much clearer standard of good presented in the movie than there is in many others, and that standard is also understood as good. And though many forms of objectivity and truth are missing, the heroes are the good guys — and that’s more than you can say for most modern-day “hero” movies.
- Notable: The well-known quote by Peter’s uncle, “With great power comes great responsibility.” is put to good use.
One final thought on the relationship between Peter Parker and M.J.: Simply stated, it is a little complicated, but mostly reflects the traditional Christian ethic. Some problems arise with a few overly-affectionate displays of love between the teenagers, devaluing the importance of marriage and long-term commitment, but nothing nefarious presented.
At the end of the day, if what you want when you go to see Spider-Man: No Way Home is a family-friendly superhero movie that has no shortage of action and excitement but also includes the deeper and more meaningful messages of tradition, loyalty, friendship, Heroism, and love, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall Critical Rating:
4.25 out of 5 for Plot, Theme, Setting, Character &
Character Development, Visual Effect, and Overall Appeal
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