8.5/10 The MCU has been on life support throughout Phase 4 as they’ve either had to retread older heroes or they introduced new ones that have completely failed to make an impact. Kevin Feige has prioritized woke, political correctness over telling good stories and the MCU has suffered for it. Yet in crawls my 12th most anticipated film of 2021 to save the day and give the fans some much needed enjoyment with no political agenda, just good, old fashioned fun. The absolute destruction of box office records is a testament to what happens when you provide a high quality film that isn’t pushing some divisive political agenda but instead gives audiences an emotional, action packed, surprising and satisfying film going experience. Before we get into why this is such a triumph, I will get the negatives out of the way first but keep in mind that these negatives are all rather minor and won’t take away from your enjoyment of the film. As seen from the trailer, Spider-Man has a battle with Dr. Strange in the mirror realm and the way Spider-Man is able to overcome being disadvantaged was pretty silly. Similarly, Dr. Strange casting his spell that gets messed up was also easily avoidable, even if it had to happen to kick the plot into motion. Electro returns from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” yet instead of the nerdy, scrawny guy with a comb over and a gap tooth, he is totally different now. While his noticeable change is even commented on, we are never told why this happened. Flash Thompson is also able to completely write, edit and publish an entire novel within days of learning who Spider-Man really is, which made for a funny joke but was completely unrealistic and not well thought out. Finally, the end credits begins with a cover of the “Schoolhouse Rock!” song “Three is a Magic Number” but it is a terrible cover and playing a different version or even the original would have been an improvement. Those minor but valid complaints aside, this is easily the best MCU film since…”Spider-Man: Far From Home” two years ago. I can’t get into certain specifics without including some mild spoilers so if you haven’t seen the film, feel free to check it out and come back here once you have. Much hype has been given to whether or not Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield come back as Spider-Man and thankfully, they do. I was scared they might only pop in for a brief cameo much like Jeff Goldblum in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” but luckily, they play an actual role and seeing the Spider-Men interact together was a ton of fun and felt natural. Garfield’s Spider-Man in particular gets an emotional and redeeming moment near the end that moved everyone in the theater with a heart. Seeing previous Spider-Man villains return with a twist wasn’t just a nostalgic ploy at fan service, it actually served the story and felt natural. The emotional stakes are high as Peter Parker has to decide between letting villains die or trying to cure them and let them live. This tough decision is made tougher by the fact that his loved ones are in danger. The action is well done, the script is fantastic, the pacing flies by despite the longer running time and out of all of the three Michael Giacchino scored films, this is easily his best score. Even Zendaya’s MJ, who has been rather annoying in previous films, feels like a fleshed out human character here who we actually like this time around. The film is able to balance real life high schooler problems (getting into college) with the threat of countless villains. Having older villains come back and seeing them interact with Spider-Man again felt extremely satisfying. The acting is fantastic and the visual effects are flawless. Films like this is what all MCU films should strive to be. Due to seeing so many films, I rarely watch the same film twice in theaters anymore but I couldn’t help thinking how much I wanted to rewatch this on the big screen while I was viewing this. In a dark and depressing world, this film was pure escapism that made me feel like an elementary schooler again who would watch Spider-Man cartoons after school every day. Director Jon Watts has grown to be a better director with each passing Spider-Man film he has made and I hope he sticks around for the next trilogy. With so many overhyped, Oscar bait films being overrated letdowns (“Don’t Look Up”, “Beflast”, “The Power of the Dog”), leave it to your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man to not only be a blast but dare I say, deserving of a Best Picture nomination now that there are ten nominees. Make sure this isn’t Spider-Man: Watch From Home and go see this on the biggest screen possible.

#SpiderManCubed / #UnhappyHogan / #HogansHeroes / #CastingIssues / #MayYouRestInPeace / #NotOnOttoPilot

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