Spiderman: No Way Home review – Blockbuster finds endless ways to reinvent itself and keep us entertained
SPIDERMAN: NO WAY HOME148mins
JUST imagine a universe where there are multiple versions of everyone.
Somewhere out in the infinite cosmos you’d find a Labour leader with charisma, a once-married Katie Price behind bars and a James Corden who isn’t annoying.
Tom Holland’s third Spider-Man film takes the notion of the multiverse, first explored in outstanding animated flick Into The Spider-Verse, and leaps with it.
At the end of the previous film, Peter Parker was outed as Spider-Man, which presents a whole raft of headaches in this one.
The vigilante asks his old pal Dr Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, to mess with the cosmic timeline so that no one remembers the face behind the mask.
The horrible consequence of this rash action is that a host of baddies from other universes are invited to his version of New York.
If you are not following this, don’t worry. I also struggled at times with the complicated plot that occasionally threatens to implode under the weight of its ambitions.
The two-and-a-half- hour film is a bit slow when Parker wrestles with such cosmic decisions as whether to help the “misunderstood” bad guys or not.
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Fortunately, No Way Home is a blockbuster which offsets any moralising with big dollops of humour.
The jokes, which to get, you may need to have seen the other films, had me laughing out loud.
There is also chemistry between Holland and Zendaya, who plays his plain-speaking love interest MJ.
You’ll also discover a star-studded cast having a lot of fun.
That includes Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, the brilliant Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus and Jamie Foxx back as Electro.
There are also many crowd-pleasing surprises which I can’t mention without spoiling the movie.
Whatever universe you are from, Spider-Man is a comic book adventure that seems to find endless ways to reinvent itself and keep us entertained.
THE LOST DAUGHTER
NOT since Chucky has a doll been as scary as it is in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut film.
This is the story of Leda (Olivia Colman), an academic who takes a solo holiday in Greece.
She finds a good spot on a secluded beach and settles in. But soon her peace is disturbed by a brash American family, who take over the tranquillity with vulgar speed boats and bad behaviour.
One of the calmer members of this crew is Nina (Dakota Johnson) whose small daughter’s beloved doll goes missing.
A frantic search soon becomes eerie and strangely terrifying. The film slowly unveils who Leda is by showing her as a young mother (played by Jessie Buckley), feeling suffocated by juggling her two children, husband and studies.
Buckley plays young Leda remarkably, mirroring Colman’s mannerisms and speech patterns. All three of the female leads are mesmerising, with Johnson spikey and unnerving, and Colman both pitiful and cunning.
There’s a lot to take in on this multi-layered story and the characters are often unlikeable, but it’s so lively and troubling that you just can’t look away.
THE TENDER BAR
DIRECTED by George Clooney, this sepia-tinged, coming-of-age drama is unhurried and uneventful – but not unenjoyable.
It has been adapted from the 2005 memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer JR Moehringer, who is played here by Daniel Ranieri as a child growing up in 1970s Long Island, New York, and then as an adult by Tye Sheridan.
His radio DJ dad is absent and an alcoholic and it falls to his Uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) to provide a male role model.
From Charlie’s bar The Dickens, young JR is encouraged to read books, apply for Yale and follow his dreams of being a writer.
As boy becomes man, JR secures his Ivy League scholarship, has his heart broken by Sidney (Brianna Middleton), secures a job at the New York Times in an attempt to win her back and gradually finds his path.
The pace is consistently slow, at times veering towards lacklustre, nothing untoward happens and there are few dramatic spikes in this gentle tale.
But its journey will resonate with many, as the nostalgia dial is turned up high – and the performances and 1970s soundtrack are pleasing.
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