Different in not being related to the Christmas season or the space activities I cover.
If you've been a reader for a while, you know I like movies that aren't serious human drama. I had enough Shakespeare in school and enough real drama years ago. No typical, Hallmark-channel, romantic comedies, and not much in the way of dramas that don't involve sci fi, whether that means a super hero movie or some programmed super soldier like a Jason Bourne. As a general rule, I've liked comic book movies, although I've liked the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) more than the DC movies.
After the end of what was called Phase 3, Avengers: End Game, the MCU went more or less into a holding pattern, and part of that was due to the nightmare of the world shutting down through 2020. A couple of movies came out in 2019; Captain Marvel was needed as setup for End Game, and the second Spider-Man (Far From Home) included some references to End Game events.
The only movie they've released that I'm pretty sure marks Phase 4 is Eternals, which we saw a couple of months ago. I thought it was messy in having far too much detail in it, such that I kept thinking "what was that all about?" or "why are they telling us this?" You got the feeling they were setting up some epic story line but it was distracting. The only other movie we saw was Black Widow, and I don't think that fits in either Phase 3 or 4; it's set in the time between the events of Infinity War and End Game, so Phase 3, but it seemed it was there to introduce the actress, Florence Pugh, who's going to replace Scarlett Johansson in the MCU in Phase 4 (since her character is killed off in End Game).
With that setup, this past weekend was the opening of the latest Spider-man movie, No Way Home from the MCU - opening on Thursday (as usual). We went to see it yesterday, Tuesday, at a noon matinee. I had heard that this was a return to the lighthearted, fun movies we've come to expect from the MCU without any evident "woke" stuck in it. That was absolutely right.
I've said many times that I thought Thor: Ragnarok was my favorite MCU movie, for being just tons of lighthearted fun. Along with its combination of silliness with good characters and good onscreen "chemistry" between those characters. Ragnarok was unique in being a superhero movie where you heard people all around the theater laughing throughout the movie.
There was constant laughter in in No Way Home yesterday, too. It was easily the most upbeat, most entertaining Marvel movie since Thor: Ragnarok.
In the big picture, No Way Home is a setup for the next big movie they're working on, Dr. Strange in The Multiverse of Madness. The essence of the story starts off immediately after the events of Far From Home, in which Spider-Man unintentionally gets a bunch of innocent bystanders killed, and the bad guy in that movie reveals Spider-Man's secret identity to the world. The movie begins with Spider-Man and his small circle of close friends suddenly having their lives badly upset by the notoriety.
Desperate, he goes to Dr. Strange to ask him to change the timeline so that nobody knows he (Peter Parker) is Spider-Man. As Dr. Strange is working up his magic spell, Peter keeps saying he wants certain people to know him - that's OK. In the end, the spell ends up bringing every major villain from every other Spider-Man movie in the last 20 years, as well as the two actors who previously played Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield). They're all from different universes with different timelines and differences between the characters.
It's a wild romp, with this idea of a bunch of parallel universes. Laughter from the audience a lot of the time.
Since the two previous Spider-Man series never made it past three films and this is his third, I have to wonder if this is Tom Holland's last time in the role. He'd better watch it. He's 25 and looking more like an adult than an 18 year old kid, just out of high school.