No Way Home is an homage to the legend of the comic book character together with an emotional journey through the dramas of maturity

Up until now, the cinematic history of Spider-Man was one of the most innocuous of all Marvel characters. Unique, as it all began with spidey. Sam Raimi’s first film, which is about to turn twenty, is going to be one of the origins of the phenomenon. It even boasted an extraordinary sequel, which still today holds its own as one of the finest Super Hero movies of all time. Things then went a little pear-shaped with the third installment and change in lineup (Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire; Marc Webb come son for Raimi) to The Amazing Spider-Man. In theory the idea was good, more realism and drama, but which ran out of gas unexpectedly thanks to a run-of-the-mill second part which, despite many great moments, precipitated another change; rejuvenating the character to integrate him into the MCU (where his first appeared in the extravaganza Captain American: Civil War), with the role entrusted to a relative newbie (Tom Holland, splendid from day one) and creators avoiding further delving into his origins, which had already been explained ad nauseum. But with a substantive look at these two decades, it was easy to get the feeling that the person had been under construction rather than verified, as if the viewer were doomed to witness his redefinition and not merely his singular existence.

But here in No Way Home, everything comes full circle and if it manages to achieve this it’s down to the film being, firstly, a heartfelt homage to the legend of the character, picking up the past and the present, recollecting the facts and the implications, the trials and errors, and blending them all seamlessly into a story that, even though the odd nuance has been sacrificed along the way, works perfectly as a compendium (and resolution) of twenty years of cinematic history. Peter Parker and his alter ego have always been the perfect representation of the viewer and their numerous transformations, and this goes far beyond a change in actor or tone. No Way Home respects this idea, adapting the register to each character makeover, and dedicated to exploring the existence of a Super Hero who, more than anything, embodies the pain and loss implicit in the leap to maturity. And herein lies the film’s second great success: unlike its predecessors, this is essentially an emotional journey through the dramas of a teenager who is finally forced to take control of his life. A drama depicting the concept of ​​innocence, the loneliness of the Super Hero and the inability to deliver on all-encompassing good. There’s always something to lose, and evil is always lurking. The multiverse allows for wrapping up narratives that seemed impossible to put to rights, while also explaining masked crusader’s origins in his third solo film. A web as imperfect as the protagonist himself and as moving as his own evolution, packed with surprises, entertainment and plot-twists that wins audiences over in two and a half hours that’ll feel like a heartbeat. The good folk at Marvel not only manage to expand the tale through new movie titles, but even adventure to deliver the final brushstrokes to those that do not depend exclusively on them. Like it or love it, there’s no denying that nobody, ever before, has managed to pull off anything even remotely like this.

Pep Prieto. Journalist and writer. Series critic on ‘El Món a RAC1’ and for the program ‘Àrtic’ on Betevé. Author of the essay ‘Al filo del mañana’, about time-travelling cinema, and ‘Poder absoluto’, about cinema and politics.