‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ 4K UHD Review

by Erik Amaya

For fans of physical media, Spider-Man: No Way Home hits shelves today with a full bells-and-whistles 4K UHD Blu-ray release. Back when we saw the film in theaters, we felt it had the sense of the impossible being made manifest. Does this still hold up to be true? Let’s take a look and find out.

For those who somehow have missed the film, it sees Spider-Man (Tom Holland) attempting to undo his outing at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home by asking Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to magic it all away. But when Peter interferes with the spell, it brings people who know his identity from across the Multiverse into the prime Marvel Cinematic Universe. All and all, the film still pulls off its key magic trick — the returning guest stars from the Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man films cycles do not feel like cheap gimmicks. Most get pretty interesting extensions of their original stories and even the one who gets the short-shrift, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) still gets a couple of fun moments. But when you consider just how many people (and their stories) are crammed into a film that is still mainly serving the ongoing character development of Holland’s Spider-Man, that fact it holds together at all is miraculous.

We will say one key thing for the movie in its second viewing, though, its 148-minute runtime is a little more obvious as you know all the film’s twists and turns. Peter’s panic when May (Marissa Tomei) calls to tell him one of the interdimensional villains showed up at F.E.A.S.T. has less impact, for example. Also, the crisis which opens the film — Spider-Man being accused of the attack on London’s Tower Bridge at the end of the previous movie — feels more flimsy as it is literally hand-waved away by the first special guest star. Also, we’ll be honest, MJ’s (Zendaya) delay in pushing the button after watching the news report about the villain attacking Spider-Man comes off more strained — and that’s considering how swiftly that scene switches to Ned’s (Jacob Batalon) power up and the introduction of some very special guest characters. But as we said before, it is hard to point at anything in the film that could be easily cut. Peter needs to spend as much time with the villains as he does to set up a number of plot points and create the necessary impact when he and his others selves discuss the famous “great responsibility” line. And every moment of them bonding is essential.

See also any moment when Peter, MJ, and Ned work together. That youthful energy makes this Spider-Man film cycle so much fun to watch and we’re glad it didn’t get lost in the fray of villains and heroes. Of course, we freely admit mileage may very as there is always the valid criticisms like Peter’s access to technology and his affiliation with Tony Stark. Nevertheless, we think the film continues to entertain and still present something which should, on its face, be impossible: uniting the three cinematic Spider-Men in a satisfying way that also makes you wish the other two could continue their own stories back in their home realities.

Indeed, the best of the 4K UHD release’s special features revels in that unique selling point. Both “A Meeting of the Spiders” and “The Sinister Summit” feature actors from the previous Spider-Man series in a round-table interview. “A Meeting of the Spiders” features Holland, Toby Maguire, and Andrew Garfield in a brief, but entertaining featurette as the actors share their anticipation in working together (it was seemingly shot the day Maguire and Garfield first arrived on set) and discuss things only actors whose played Spider-Man can known, like the best way to shimmy into the costume. If anything, we wish it were longer as the trio seem to be genuinely bonding in this strange interview situation. The same could be said for “The Sinister Summit,” which sees Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, and Jamie Foxx talking about their returns as Norman Osborn, Doc Ock, and Electro. The trio get into the weeds of playing a villain and each allows the other to offer some intriguing insights into their Marvel careers. They’re also willing to make fun of each other which is why we wish it was also a slightly longer. The more off-the-cuff moments suggest a pretty fun afternoon.

Other special feature include seven behind-the-scenes featurettes; the most interesting of the lot is “Graduation Day,” in which director Jon Watts reveals he saw the three “Home” movies as a year of Peter’s high school life with No Way Home serving as his senior year. Another one centered on Watts, “Weaving Jon Watt’s Web,” almost feels like a pitch reel for his eventual post as director of Marvel Studios’s Fantastic Four film. Viewed that way, though, it may give you some hype for that film, which is on its way. The others all have varying levels of pre-release hype to them — even the ones discussing Maguire and Garfield — but are entertaining enough. As is the blooper reel which features one little glimpse of a deleted scene featuring Happy (Jon Favreau) and Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) meeting with Damage Control. That leads us to the one complaint we have with the bonus material: there are no deleted scenes despite this moment with Happy, and a scene in which Spider-Man foils a robbery, appearing in some way shape or form across the bloopers and other featurettes. Cox’s presence in the other scene with Happy and Damage Control may be tough to release due to obscure contract stipulations, but the foiled robbery feels tailor made for the sort of sequence Sony loves to put on its home video releases. But again, there may be contractual reasons to hold back that material.

Despite that complaint, the stronger featurettes and the film itself make for an essential addition to the home video shelf alongside its MCU predecessors.

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