I’ve read a lot of rave reviews for this movie. And I’ve also read a lot of reviews talking about how great it is to see with a crowd. But my experience jibed with neither of these sentiments.
It was a packed house, to be sure. But a number of the people sitting nearby decided to pull their phones out multiple times during the show. Others felt it was fine to chat as if they were at home. And there were several very small children in the auditorium who clearly had trouble staying interested. One not far from us also had a loud and phlegmy cough that made me glad my family and I all kept our masks on (as many in the cinema did not).
So I have to wonder whether I would have enjoyed the movie more if it hadn’t been for all these distractions. It’s difficult to say. The first 45 minutes or so were actually pretty dull. No Way Home picks up where Far From Home left off—Spider-Man’s true identity has just been revealed to the world. But the tension of that moment fails to hold, and the situation itself seems to be handily dodged in favor of turning the story into a personal crisis when Peter and his friends fail to get into MIT. A crisis that, of course, takes on much larger proportions when Peter asks Dr. Strange to make people forget he’s Spider-Man so that colleges won’t reject his friends (because Peter is, naturally, too nice a guy to ask for a favor for himself).
Peter’s “nice guy” persona is tested throughout the rest of the movie as, because of his wanting to help his friends, things get worse instead of better. I won’t spoil anything except to say there are a number of cameos and a lot of nostalgia. In fact, that seems to be the point of the movie? The plot is really uninspired as a whole, and even the sets and effects feel cliche at this point. Like, they just borrowed the Inception set from Nolan, right? It’s not that impressive anymore.
I won’t say there weren’t good moments, but I actually found most of the movie pretty dull. A major death failed to move me in the least, but some smaller moments did. Still, there are so many characters crammed into this thing that no one really shines. Though the friendship between Ned and M.J. was nice to see.
Homecoming remains my favorite of this version of Spider-Man, largely due to Michael Keaton’s turn as Vulture. While it was fun to see old faces in this one, it somehow came up far short of the sum of all those parts. AND… The after-credit “scene”? Not a scene. Just a trailer for Multiverse of Madness. (But there is a mid-credit scene worth seeing.)
So… yeah. I’ll try watching this one again once it’s streaming and see if I feel any differently about it. But I have to wonder whether the distractions killed the movie for me OR… Was the movie just so boring that I was easily distracted?