Smart Movie Review: ‘No Way Home’ plays on nostalgia

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

By Ian Omar Smart | Guest Columnist

Currently playing at the B&B theater at the Vicksburg Mall, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” uses nostalgia for this character’s history on the big screen that does very little to explore the ideas that made Spider-Man such an enduring creation.

“No Way Home” re-appropriates villains of past films by flattening out the most compelling of the bunch and eliminating all sense of their inner life. The cast (which includes Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Malina, Jamie Foxx and many more) is excellent, bringing charisma to characters that are barely written beyond their function to the plot.

No character beyond Spider-Man has any sense of want or need.  They exist as references and mannerisms that owe any character depth to actor interpretation.

Despite its 148-minute run-time, this movie’s narrative feels mechanical; created solely to present things the audience recognizes. Even its emotional beats ring hollow due to the paper-thin characterization and haphazard heel-turns.

Beyond the hollow characters, this movie lacks any aesthetic personality. The majority of “No Way Home” looks made-for-Disney+ and not the big screen (which, unfortunately, lies in stark contrast to the gorgeous environments in “Eternals”).

The movie’s ending resets the character, making his previous three stories completely inconsequential, and sets up the fourth installment as the Spider-Man movie that most fans (well, I at least) wanted from the start.

If you’ve already seen this movie, I hope you enjoyed it. If you haven’t, I don’t recommend it.  Stay home or go see “The Matrix: Resurrections.”

Ian Omar Smart is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University with a degree in architecture. When he’s not drawing buildings, he’s probably at the movies. Smart can be contacted at isiansmart@gmail.com.