Watching Spider-Man: No Way Home As An Uninterested Dad

On Wednesday, December 15, I took two of my kids to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home. I took them as a Dad who had never actually watched any of the other Spider-Man movies. Or any of the Avengers stuff. Or any Marvel films. Yeah…

Obviously, the first thing I did after booking the tickets was nip over to IMDb to check the runtime…Two and a half frickin’ hours! Oh shit.

My back is in its mid-forties and is not keen on prolonged bouts of sitting in the same chair. And my head was less keen to do that whilst watching what I was certain would be a heroes-by-numbers film whose story I had seen done countless times before in other genres. Other genres I liked.

And so, I nestled into place alongside my giddy kids, dipped into my snacks, slurped the Pepsi Max and waited for 150 minutes to idle by.

The lights dipped, the expectant crowd hushed, and the movie began. And within moments I was utterly goddamned transfixed!

Spider-Man: No Way Home blew my tiny, unappreciative mind to smithereens. It shattered my pre-held doubt and scorn for the genre into a thousand and one tiny pieces. It changed the whole fabric of time and space as I sat gawping at the huge screen whilst two and a half hours evaporated in an instant. It was pretty good. Like, really fuckin’ pretty good!

I came in not knowing the previous plotlines and relationships, so I suppose you might think a lot of the details would have passed me by. But no, the jokes landed, the tender moments tugged my heartstrings, and when the audience around me began whooping and cheering in rapturous celebration, I felt it too. It was like that moment when the Grinch finally gets a heart. I was getting my Marvel wings and it felt weird.

This was unexpected.

The actual film itself in terms of story and action moves at a beautiful pace. The action is awe-inspiring and dropped my jaw like Tyson Fury had just told me I was sitting in his seat. It is a thrilling ride where shots of pure adrenaline are broken by moments of heartfelt friendship. It dips into themes of love and loss, family and the bonds that tie us, sacrifice and redemption, and it does so without ever laying it on too thick.

Where some films would have gone overly sentimental, Spider-Man: No Way Home avoids it. Instead, it opts for finding a beautiful balance between sentiment and humour. Viewer reaction feels natural, and the audience is never herded from one emotional room to another in a way that ultimately does little but dilute the emotion.

However, this is not so much a review of the film as it is a brief explanation of how it felt watching it as what amounts to a newb in the Marvel world.

And it felt good. No, it felt wonderful.

I left the cinema intoxicated and high on the spirit of Spidey. I felt like a kid again.

At no point during the evening had I pondered how far through we were, and what was left before I could make tracks. At no point had I yawned. At no point had I coughed…but that is another story in this time we find ourselves. But also, very importantly and offering no bigger testament to the pull of this magnificent film, at no point did I finish my snacks and Pepsi! I had popped them to the side and forgotten they existed. Now that is unheard of.

Well played Spider-Man. Well played.

Neil Bason
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Neil Bason

Lag-blaming, coin-collecting, medic-calling, leaderboard-propping, rage-quitting, dice-rolling, card-playing, table-flipping, joystick-waggling game nerd. Pleased to meet you.

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