The world’s most successful film of the past year is coming back to the cinema: “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. This time it lasts eleven minutes longer. But for whom is the new version worthwhile?
New York – Anyone who wants to keep track of all the superhero films in the Marvel Universe has long needed supernatural powers themselves. The review site “Rotten Tomatoes” comes up with a whopping 34 titles, a stately film marathon. It gets even more complicated when it comes to the teenage boy Peter Parker, who flies from house to house as “Spider-Man”.
Eight feature films have been released about him since 2002, but not all of them are part of the Marvel Universe. Only recently has he also been cavorting in the “Avengers” films, although the character most recently embodied by the British Tom Holland would no longer have needed such additional promotion since 2021 at the latest. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was a super hit that grossed $1.9 billion worldwide – number 1 in the annual charts and the sixth highest-grossing film in history without adjusting for inflation, writes “Box Office Mojo”.
After only nine months, a “More Fun Stuff Version” is coming to the cinemas, eleven minutes longer and, above all, the background to the characters and likeable silliness in the everyday scenes. That raises a crucial question: Is this just for fans, or is it worth getting back on Thursday for people who missed a few movies?
That’s what it’s about
The basic plot of the film, which is now 157 minutes long according to voluntary self-regulation, has remained the same: At the beginning, Peter Parker’s identity as the boy in the spider costume is revealed, and that doesn’t just bring him disadvantages. His two friends receive cancellations from their desired universities – who wants to have superheroes and villains disrupt campus operations? – and Peter ponders how to give them a second chance.
He turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to make the world forget who is behind Spider-Man. But the attempt goes wrong, a new multiverse opens up and not only villains from other universes come to visit Holland’s Spiderman world – suddenly there are also alternative Spider-Man versions of the earlier films, played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
The premise purrs along well, especially at the beginning and especially the first 40 minutes now offer loose laughs before some of the challenges from the villains get a bit random. It is not clear in each of the spectacular fight scenes under which conditions Parker and his friends have to defend themselves against the attacks, the excitement suffers. As is usually the case with Marvel, “Spider-Man” also has a problem with women, even if Zendaya and Marisa Tomei make the most of their roles.
And yet it gradually becomes clear why this film is such a hit: On the one hand, there is the fundamental strength of the character, after all, hardly any other Marvel hero offers as much identification as the average boy who lives in everyday high school life doubts and has to learn anew every time that a lot of power always means a lot of responsibility. But then there is also the special power of Tom Holland, who also carries emotional scenes believably and whose threesome interaction with the ex-Spider-Men is pure popcorn cinema gold.
Buy a ticket – yes or no?
The additional scenes that have now been edited help to keep the balance between humor, action and emotion even better, and so in the end it is clear that “No Way Home” is also worthwhile for those who last saw a Maguire “Spiderman”. There is still enough entertainment and slightly thought-provoking elements as a counterpoint to the action spectacle. Finally, the final lesson is as timeless as it is worth repeating: doing good is always worthwhile – even if no one sees who helped.
Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Version, USA 2022, 177 Min., FSK o.A., von Jon Watts, mit Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch dpa