I’ve already covered my favourite video game of 2021, my favourite comic book of 2021 and even my favourite tabletop game of 2021 – so now it’s time to check out my favourite film of 2021.
After a few years of living through a global pandemic, political unrest and general instability in many areas of life for so many people, the appetite for nostalgic, cinematic comfort food has surely never been higher. And that’s exactly what Spider-Man: No Way Home is – though it’s much more than that of course.
Marvel Studios hit the jackpot with this multiverse (and franchise) spanning behemoth, giving us a story that brings together all of the live action Spider-Men and most of their villains too – without skimping on the heart, humour or genuinely thrilling action. It pulls the old MCU trick of redeeming underwhelming previous movies too – just as films such as Avengers: Endgame improve the standing of Thor: The Dark World and WandaVision makes Avengers: Age of Ultron much more essential than it ever felt before, for example, Spider-Man: No Way Home adds an extra layer of appeal to misfires like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 and Sony’s previous attempt to kickstart a Spider-Man cinematic universe, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
It’s a genuine love letter for long-term fans – and it works an awful lot better than you’d expect it to, thanks to Marvel having such a great handle on their universe and characters at this point. It’s not like Marvel can’t make underwhelming films of course – see Eternals or Black Widow for the most recent examples of films that, while well made, don’t quite hit the mark – but when they get it right, they really do knock it out of the park.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is hardly high art – and you can already sense pretentious hipsters sharpening their knives in preparation to take it apart – but it’s a hugely satisfying and well made piece of entertainment that feels exactly like a Marvel comic book crossover. It made me laugh, it made me cry and though it’s hardly a life-changing experience, it’s just what the Doctor ordered.
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