Like people who prefer to listen to music on CD, or still subscribe to cable TV, people who buy movies on DVD often feel like they’re an afterthought or second class citizens. Which may not be the intent, but it’s hard not to sigh loudly when one of your favorite band’s new album is only available digitally, one of your favorite shows has a new installment only available on a streaming service, or your favorite movie of the last year is released on home video, but the DVD version has fewer extras than the Blu-ray and 4K editions.
Which is where standard definition fans of Spider-Man: No Way Home find themselves: sighing hard. While the Blu-ray and 4K editions come almost fully-loaded, the DVD has just two of the sixteen available extras.
But while it may not be fair, for people considering buying Spider-Man: No Way Home on DVD — especially if they only want it for the movie — this isn’t a bad way to watch Spidey’s new adventure, all things considered.
For those who didn’t see it in theaters,
Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up right where Spider-Man: Far From Home ended: With Mysterio outing Peter Parker as Spider-Man, and laying the blame for the crimes he committed in the previous movie right at Spidey’s feet. In an attempt to rectify the situation, our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler does what anyone would do: He asks his local wizard to mess with the fabric of reality. But wait, hang on, don’t mess with M.J.’s memories. Or Ned’s. Dang it, now you’ve done it; the barriers between our world and parallel ones in the multiverse have been weakened. And here come the bad guys.
As you can probably guess if you’ve seen any Marvel movie since Captain America: Civil War (save for Eternals), Spider-Man: No Way Home is an exciting, clever, smartly written action movie that just as easily could’ve been called Avengers…something. The Avengers In The Multiverse Of Madness — that has a nice ring to it. And it would explain why the aforementioned wizard is Dr. Strange, and why his and Peter’s co-stars include Strange’s pal Wong, Happy Hogan, and some super people I won’t mention.
That said, Spider-Man: No Way Home does do right by some of the super people I’d rather not mention: the aforementioned bad guys. (Suffice it to say, the rest of this paragraph and the one that follows come with a SPOILER warning for people who managed to not have this movie’s secrets spoiled.) While Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of the Green Goblin is as solid as it was in Spider-Man, Alfred Molina does an even better job of bringing Doctor Octopus to life than he did in Spider-Man 2, and the same can be said of Jamie Foxx’s take on Electro, which didn’t work in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but does here.
As for the super heroes who aren’t bad guys, like Dafoe and Malina, Andrew Garfield is still a rock solid Spidey, while Tobey Maguire, who always felt off when he put on the onesie, works much better here, in part because — like Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, uh, Ford in Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull — Maguire doesn’t try to pretend to be as young as he was when he first donned the suit.
(End of spoilers)
As good as the returning players are, though,
the real stars of Spider-Man: No Way Home are the current Spidey and his pals. Tom Holland remains the best Spider-Man by far, and he’s clearly met his match in Zendaya (M.J.), Jacob Batalon (Ned), and Marisa Tomei (Aunt May).
In fact, one of the many highlights of Spider-Man: No Way Home come when M.J. and Ned have to work together, and in service of Spider-Man’s quest, but without the titular superboy at their side.
All of which puts Spider-Man: No Way Home on par with the previous Spidey movies, Homecoming and Far From Home, and the best Marvel movies: Iron Man, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and Captain Marvel.
As for how Spider-Man: No Way Home looks and sounds on the DVD, well, not as bad as you might expect. Especially if most of your experience watching standard definition stuff on a high definition TV is limited to when you accidentally DVR Rick & Morty from the wrong version of Cartoon Network. Sure, the image isn’t as sharp as it would be in HD, but it is clear and not at all fuzzy. And the sound is even better, especially if you have a home theater that supports surround sound.
More importantly, the Spider-Man: No Way Home DVD presents the movie with the original letterbox dimensions, not full-screen, pan & scan, windowboxed, or pillarboxed.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, the DVD version of Spider-Man: No Way Home is rather lacking when it comes to the extras. Unlike the 4K and Blu-ray editions, the DVD only has 2 of the 7 behind-the-scenes featurettes (it’s missing “Action Choreography Across The Multiverse,” “A Multiverse Of Miscreants,” “Enter Strange,” “Realities Collide, Spiders Unite,” and “Weaving Jon Watt’s Web”); neither of the two roundtable panels (“The Sinister Summit, Villains Panel with Dafoe, Molina, and Foxx” or “A Meeting Of The Spiders, Heroes Panel”); none of the “Stories From The Daily Bugle,” whatever those may be, or any of the “Stunt Scenes Previsualizations” featurettes for the “Apartment Fight” or the “Shield Fight.”
Though what they did include…
on the Spider-Man: No Way Home DVD — “A Spectacular Spider-Journey With Tom Holland” and “Graduation Day” — are good.
In the former, Holland, his No Way co-stars, and the filmmakers talk about his time as Spidey, with footage from both Holland’s auditions and the set of the new movie.
Then, in the latter, Holland, Zendaya, Batalon, and Tony Revolori (who played Flash Thompson), discuss working on all three Spider-Man movies, and what it, and No Way Home, mean to them personally and professionally.
Neither of which will shock you, of course — they’re making-of featurettes on an officially released Sony product, after all — but they do provide interesting insights into the stars of the movie.
Though why they didn’t include something about the actual making of the movie — or even the main conceit of the film, the multiverse aspects — is beyond me.
It’s also beyond me why, with all the extras they did include, the 4K and Blu-ray versions of Spider-Man: No Way Home are apparently incomplete as well. For starters, they don’t have any kind of running commentary. Not being able to hear Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon wax philosophic while Cumberbatch verbally shakes his head at these damn kids is just tragic; as is not being able to hear the same from Holland and two of his other co-stars I promised not to spoil.
And none of the versions — not the 4K, Blu-ray, or DVD — have the movie’s trailers, which is especially annoying given that it does have the ones for some unrelated movies. Though they do have some that are relevant as well; specifically, Morbius, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Holland’s Uncharted movie.
DVD is not the best way to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home if you can help it. And for people who do prefer this format, or have no choice, this DVD should’ve been much better. But if you’re just getting this DVD for the movie — the excellent movie — and maybe one more chance to hang out with Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon until the inevitable fourth film (Spider-Man: Home For The Holidays? Spider-Man: Home Alone? I got a million of them), the DVD of Spider-Man: No Way Home is a solid way to enjoy this exciting, engaging, and hopefully not spoiled superhero action flick.