This piece does not contain spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
I've never considered myself a Marvel fan, always held a neutral ground. Maybe it has to do with one of my favourite filmmakers, Martin Scorsese's comment on Marvel movies or maybe I just wish to keep it a secret. But one thing I can concur for sure is that I've always enjoyed watching Marvel movies, right from my childhood when Spiderman movies played on the Disney channel. Watching it on the big screen for the very first time, felt so great – in a theater full of Marvel fans, I couldn't control my emotions when my childhood villains showed up on the 4DX screen and the entire crowd went bananas!
This final instalment in Tom Holland's Spider-Man series is set in a New York where the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is no longer friendly or a masked vigilante. The identity of Peter Parker is revealed and a lot of unnecessary attention is focused on him. To get rid of these prying eyes, Peter goes to Dr. Strange and he casts a spell to make everyone forget about the identity reveal. But the spell backfires and certain unwelcome strangers come to greet Peter Parker. What follows afterwards is a series of chaotic and destructive encounters, all of them culminating into a final showdown that puts the lives of Peter's loved ones in danger and ends with a heartbreak he wasn't prepared for.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a tribute to all the legendary villains of the comic books. In an attempt to honor them, it presents them with an opportunity to live in a future they never had. In doing so, it gifts us a golden chance to relive our childhood. Being the final instalment, the movie had to do something so unique that it wouldn't only be remembered but also talked about for years to come and that's exactly what it did. The film isn't just restricted to heroes fighting villains, it goes beyond that. It is about the greed that keeps on increasing with power. It is about the morality of doing right things, a curse kind people are doomed with. As one of the villains said, "Everything you do has consequences," and that's exactly right. But, I think, more than that, every good thing you do has severe consequences. For doing good to others, you have to take upon yourself their bad. It's a price superheroes have to pay, the price of losing a loved one, the price of giving up on a good life, and the price of always being alone. As Uncle Ben said in the very beginning, "With great power, comes great responsibilities."
Being a Spider-Man is a dream and a nightmare at the same time. You wield power beyond your control that makes you feel special. You enjoy the power when it helps you find your true love. You love it when it gives you a purpose to live for. But you despise it when it turns the very people you are trying to save against you. You hate it when your loved ones are in danger because of you. And you want to get rid of it when it takes away your closest person. In the end, when you are left all alone with no one to share your pain with, you wonder if people even need to be saved? You kill hundreds of people while trying to save millions. It still makes you a killer as much as it makes you a saviour. But choosing to be a superhero is also learning to make difficult decisions. As a kid, I didn't realise that. But as I watched it on the screen for the first time, I understood what it meant to be Spider-Man. And maybe, that's why he will remain my favourite Marvel superhero.
I've never had an issue in particular with Marvel movies. Maybe sometimes they are technically incorrect or shot poorly or something isn't right, but one thing they always have had in common is entertainment. If we go by Vidya Balan's definition of cinema, Marvel is the most entertaining cinema there is. However, I do miss the times when I would watch movies for the pure joy of it. Only after I started writing about movies in detail, did I start criticising small things. But Marvel movies make me forget that there is more to cinema than just flamboyant visuals, slow motion action scenes and 5 people saving the world. Maybe that's exactly why I have a soft spot for Marvel movies. They act as time machines that transport me back to the child I was, sitting in front of a small Onida TV, munching on my biscuits and enjoying each scene playing on the small screen without ever trying to decipher the meaning behind it! I entered the cinema hall on neutral grounds but when my first time with Marvel cinema in a houseful theater came to an end, I was with a clear mind about where I stood. Sorry Martin Scorsese, but I've become a fan!