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Spider-Man: No Way Home
by yo go re

Tom Holland was born June 1, 1996 and is 5'6½". Tom Hollander (Cutler Beckett from the second two Pirates of the Caribbean movies) was born August 25, 1967 and is 5'5". So mathematically, there must be a Welsh actor named Tom Hollandest, who was born November 12, 1938 and is 5'3½".

Spider-Man is Peter Parker! Our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is unmasked, no longer able to separate his life as a high-schooler from the high-stakes world of being a superhero.

No, Friendly Neighborhood is the other guy. Also, that bio has nothing at all to do with this specific figure. At the end of the movie (spoiler for something that came out two full years ago), Dr. Strange's spell finally worked to erase Peter Parker from everybody's memories - which, let's be honest, seems like an overstepping of the spell's original intention. Pete asked him to make everyone forget who Spider-Man really was, and his solution to that was "remove you from history"? Is there a blank spot in 12 years of school yearbooks, now? Would EDITH recognize him, or does magically adjusting everyone's memory affect computers, too? If it does, how does he have credit to get an apartment; if it doesn't, why does he have to take the GED? We demand specific quantification, movie!

We know, from Jonah's dick-pill-sales-pitch rant, that even at the end of his brand new day, the public still remembers that Spider-Man exists. Suggesting that Dr. Strange could have chosen to make everyone forget about Spider-Man instead of Peter Parker, but hey, he's never been the cleverest wizard. Anyway, that means Spidey still lived through all those events; he still fought in Germany, he still went to space, he still took a liesurely tour of Europe...so why does he need a new costume now? Stark still gave him nanotech, there shouldn't be anything stopping him from using it.

Anything other than a sense of taste, of course. Having seen how much better both The Spider House Rules and Thwip Thwip... Boom! looked in their suits compared to what he was wearing at the time, MCU-Pete knew he had to step up his game in the looks department. We've said before, the only way to possibly improve on Ditko's original design is to remove the armpit webs; with that done, there's nothing else to be done. So the black suit he had on under his nanites was fine, for an alternate universe costume, but this is finally the real thing.

The sculpt is quite good. He's proportioned like a small human being, since he's supposed to be a teenager (birthday's August 10th, movie takes place at Christmas, he's 18), and his suit has multiple textures: raised webs and spider-symbols, little nubblies on the red portions and a fine, fine pattern on the blue. Honestly, they could have exaggerated these a bit more, but that's true for all three Spideys. To really be true to the movie, though, the blue would need to be a lot lighter. And shinier. Peter really bought the brightest blue spandex Michaels had on the shelf.

The articulation is the same as the other two Spider-Men in this series: barbell head, pec hinges, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, hinged waist, balljointed hips mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. Considering we've gotten movie toys of this Spider-Man as recently as two years ago, this isn't as big a leap in movement as the others have seen. We still don't get any sort of shin swivels, because what Hasbro was trying to do was mimic a normal range of human motion - that's why the ab crunch goes farther forward than it does backward.

When Hasbro sold that movie three-pack, they took advantage of fans to do so. If you're one of the people who bought it, we're sorry Pulse made you believe that incomplete toys were the most you deserved. We think more highly of you than that. But even if you did buy that set, this Spider-Man wasn't part of it; this is the first chance for anyone to get this costume. That's what makes it extra weird the figure comes with three pairs of hands instead of just two; you'd think the reused molds would have more budgetary room for pack-ins. The hands we get are fists, splayed, or thwips. You know what we don't get, though? You know what we should have gotten? What we should have gotten with every Spidey in this series? POINTING HANDS! We want to do the meme, Hasbro! Think for a goddamn second!

And of course there's a head. Tobey Maguire was wonderful as nerdy Peter Parker, but less so as Spider-Man; Andrew Garfield was a top-notch Spider-Man, but too cool and charismatic for Peter Parker; it wasn't until Tom Holland that one actor absolutely nailed both halves of the character. This accessory looks very similar to the (good) Homecoming Peter Parker head, but it's not a reused sculpt - if nothing else, the hair is slightly different. They had the sense not to try to make him smile this time, which is already a win.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete & Pete brought a time-honored comicbook trope to the screen at last: making big, fundamental changes, but resetting everything back to the status quo by the end. MCU Spidey has a secret identity, he doesn't have a billionaire funding him... he's back to basics and ready to patrol his neighborhood. In a suit that actually looks like it belongs to him. It's good that Marvel is slowing down the pace of its releases, but we're excited to see where Spider-Man goes from here.

-- 01/22/24

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