Maguire’s lead turn adds consistent melodramatic cheese right from his opening voiceover (“Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart”) to his last one (“This is my gift, my curse”) but it feels authentic to the awkward, angsty, coming-of-age teen experience and works well with the other campy comic-book elements (Dafoe and Simmons leap off the page with their performances). Fun action and quirky humour (“up, up, and away web!”) top things off.
Swings a bit carelessly through some key plot points (neither Peter’s desperation nor Dr. Strange’s willingness are convincing enough to justify the initial spell; see also the miraculously fast cure development and the vague magical repair at the end), but it’s an enormously enjoyable ride (the action and humour are top-notch) with a refreshing redemptive angle and uniquely poignant character work for the titular hero (the metaverse is used to its fullest emotional and comedic potential here).