Spider-Man: No Way home

Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Jon Faverau, Thomas Haden Church, Jamie Fox, Rhys Ifans, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, JK Simmons, Benedict Wong, Tony Revelori, and Charlie Cox.

Directed By Jon Watts

Where I Watched It: Apple VOD (Purchase!)

English audio Description Available?: Yes

The Plot: Picking up after the events of Far From home, the world knows Peter Parker (Holland) is Spider-Man, which complicates his life, as well as those of his friends and family. in an effort to restore some balance, Peter turns to Dr Strange (Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that would make people forget that he is Spider-Man, but he wants certain people to remember, and in an effort to keep a few people around, he ends up messing with the spell in a way that draws people across the multiverse who know Peter Parker is Spider-Man, including a bunch of villains from the first two Spider-Men, as well as the Spider-Men themselves.

What Works: I have been really looking forward to this, and when I could get it on VOD, I of course bought it. I am such a fan, and such a nerd. I honestly would have watched this with or without audio description, because I’m just that big of a fan. And this did not disappoint.

It truly felt like a culmination of everything this version of Peter has been building toward, with epic battle sequences, high stakes, emotional core, and payoff. By focusing heavily on the characters we’ve come to know and love, so many story lines are wrapped up. I’d love to be able to really get into that, but that’s just too spoilery.

I do feel though, considering this has made a billion at the box office, that since I’m this late to the party, you know who gets pulled into this world, and it includes those other Spider-Men. By bringing them here, they really round out our current Peter, offering levels of experience and emotional guidance as he faces his toughest battles since Thanos snapped him out of existence.

There are so many great moments. From Tobey’s Peter making sure to call Andrew’s Peter “Amazing”, repeatedly, as an inside joke, to us finally getting with great power comes great responsibility, albeit from a different source than usual, and with devastating consequences.

Our Peter is just a kid, but in the duration of this film, he has a lot of growing up to do, which leaves him at the end, in a very different place than when he started. If we do get another Spider-man film, it will be very different. I wonder if Jon Watts will even return, or if they will grab a new director just to help reset the tone. The next wave of Peter will be far from that young kid Tony Stark recruited so many years ago.

I loved Homecoming, and I did think Far From Home was a step down from that, but this just came back with a fierce roar to be my favorite Spider-man film of all time. It really is that good. I can see what everyone has been saying. I could go more into specifics about a few more elements that I loved, but they are dripping with spoilers. So just watch it.

What Doesn’t Work: I suppose if I could make one change, it would be to include Kirsten Dunst, so we could have had that MJ vs MJ moment. There’s no reason for her to not cross over, as the spell would have fit her as well. I know it’s just one cameo too many.

Every time we have a Marvel spin off that’s centric around one character, I do always feel like I need to know where the hell everyone else is. There’s some serious shit going down, and the rest of the Avengers are just like… he’s got this. Just like they were with Far From Home. It’s the same with the Disney Plus series. It’s like Endgame happened, and now no one talks to each other anymore.

And with the introduction of a certain Netflix hero, we once again run into the problem of having these other New York based heroes passively watching their city get attacked. Is Jessica Jones just passed out drunk the whole film? I love this film, and I enjoy all the other Marvel films and series, but every time I always find myself asking… where the hell is everyone? The Eternals had all that crap happen, and not a single Avenger or Defender lifted a finger. What gives?

It’s starting to get a little silly that each movie is so epic in nature, with grand consequences, but all the other heroes are just like “let the world burn”.

The Blind Perspective: I’m not happy. This is some of the most inconsistent audio description I’ve come across. There are multiple times transitions are missed, and we are in a new location, and there’s no acknowledgement of that. Sometimes, there’s no reference even to where we might be. You get what you get from the dialogue, and that’s it.

Things happen, and there’s nothing in the AD. Toward the beginning of the film, Peter obviously sweeps MJ off and they web sling through the city, but the initial moment isn’t described. They’re already flying through the city for longer than they should have been without description.

Characters appear almost out of thin air, like some of the characters are having a conversation, and at some point, another character entered the room, but you get no entrance.

The Peter 2 and Peter 3 thing was so goddamn fucking confusing. When they started using it, I thought I had a grasp, then I realized I had it backward. For some reason, Holland was Peter 1, Maguire was Peter 2, and Garfield is Peter 3. This makes no sense on any fundamental level.

If we’re keeping Holland at #1 because this is his story and his franchise, then logically the next two Peter’s would be listed based on when they join the film. Garfield enters before Maguire, which should make him Peter 2, not 3. You can’t do chronological with Holland at #1, and Maguire at #2. That makes no sense. If it was reverse chronological, Garfield would still be #2, not 3.

having just watched The Adam Project last week that did a great job of finding a way to balance multiple versions of the same character, this film failed.

Is there audio description? yes. And sometimes, it describes things totally useful, and i was glad to have what I got. But in general, this was by far one of the weakest attempts I have seen at audio description. You gotta nail character entrances and exits, we can’t see that. you gotta handle transitions to completely different locations. We just moved across town, it’s even in a different time, so it’s up to the audio description to tell us at least where we are now, and if applicable, when. And find a better way of handling the identity crisis.

Final Thoughts: Despite sub par audio description, I still loved the hell out of this film. But like I said, I’m a fanboy. I’m proud of it, and not afraid to admit it. I would have watched this without an audio description track at all. I would have missed a few things, sure, but even with the track, i spent most of the movie trying to figure out what was going on because the description frequently dropped the ball.

Final Grade: A

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