(CNN) — After a long period of anticipation, a variety of teasing and alleged leaks, “Spider-Man: No Way Home“It lives up to the hype, delivering the kind of cheeky big-screen fun that theaters have been waiting for.
Energetically balancing a dizzying array of pieces, Marvel’s latest installment (via Sony) seems destined to do what only a spider can – that is, draw large numbers of fans into its web.
Perhaps most importantly, this third installment in the series (again directed by Jon Watts) is extremely fun, while also providing enough regressions to the character’s history on the big screen to qualify as a graduate course on the subject. The more armed with that knowledge they get, the more viewers are sure to enjoy themselves, but the movie has been structured carefully enough that two decades of watching Spider-Man isn’t necessarily a prerequisite.
So begins “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
He picks up where the previous movie, “Far From Home,” left off with the revelation of poor Peter Parker (Tom Holland), which has thrown his life into total chaos. That includes a manhunt by J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) of the Daily Bugle, whose campaign routine was enhanced to identify with the digital age.
Marvel is understandably vigilant for potential spoilers, but enough has been made public to say for sure that the plot is about complications associated with the multiverse and a wandering spell cast by Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whom a desperate Peter has turned for help.
Strange can’t hide his irritation, but as he points out, despite everything Peter has been through, he’s “just a kid.”
If ever a movie better defined the adage “Be careful what you wish for,” this is it, as Strange’s apparent solution unleashes dire consequences and threats.
There is always a certain degree of clutter when one ventures into areas like time travel or alternate universes, but “No Way Home” largely overcomes it, sprinkling enough wit and warmth to disguise the inconsistencies.
The film also cleverly builds on its predecessors, with more mature relationships between Peter, MJ (zendaya) and his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) as their worries shift from high school to enrolling for college, an already stressful time made worse by Peter’s elevation to a level of scrutiny normally reserved for the British royalty.
Holland has grown up with the role too, and Sony was certainly smart in negotiating the 2015 deal that allowed Marvel’s Kevin Feige to put his creative stamp on the franchise, enriching the character in ways that go far beyond his association with the Avengers. .
Frankly, the constant chatter about spoilers and those obsessed with unearthing them (a particularly bizarre quadrant of the fan universe) will be up for debate very soon, prompting exhaustive scrutiny of every detail in the film. After all, Jameson isn’t the only one to capitalize on Spider-Man as a reliable conductor of web traffic.
However, what is already evident is that this film was conceived to savor and enjoy. And in what has already become an increasingly elusive phenomenon, which will include screams and exclamations from fans in theaters, where “Spider-Man” will first reveal his secrets and then, most likely, show off his legs.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” opens in US theaters on December 17. It has a rating of PG-13.
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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’: this is our review