This is not a spoiler alert. There are three Spider-Men in the latest installment, “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

But knowing how they interact (and why they’re even in the picture) is what makes the movie so fun.

Showing the downsides of stardom, director Jon Watts lets everyone know that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) really is Spider-Man. Ever since tabloid reporter J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) called him a public enemy, he’s not safe anywhere. Friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), try to protect him, but it’s a game for everyone. Cell phones rise wherever it appears; We ask MJ outright if she wears her “baby spiders”. To find some sort of solution, Peter goes to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and asks him what his options might be. He has a solution, but that’s not what the teenager wants to hear.

Worse still, one of Spider-Man’s villains is back in play, once again threatening New York City.

While divulging anything more would be a violation of certain codes, the situation does get more intense, and yes, Watts finds a way to weave past stories into this one.

People also read…

Does it pay to know Spider-Man lore? Definitively. Does it spoil the movie? Not the least. These big emotional moments, in fact, would play out no matter what. Credit Holland, who is so good at covering a range of emotions that you can’t imagine anyone else in the role. And yet, “No Way Home” borrows a page from “Into the Spider-Verse” and makes everything possible.

Marisa Tomei returns as Peter’s Aunt May, and even in a handful of scenes, she leaves an impression. All those people who said she didn’t deserve the Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny” have to apologize. Role after role, she continues to prove that she is one of the most reliable actresses around. She and Holland get a scene that ranks among the best of the year. He and Zendaya get second place.

While more villains than you can count check in, “No Way Home” isn’t nearly as heavy as the Avengers two-part finale. It has similar beats, but it doesn’t have to worry about giving everyone the same screen time. It’s the Spider-Man movie and, yes, it delivers – no matter how those webshooters are cooked up.

Once Strange has provided the keys to the return of order, all that remains is to test them in the locks. Watts makes sure there’s plenty of humor, but it clearly shows how Holland can go from an enthusiastic kid to a full-fledged superhero. He’s a great actor – a really great actor – who should be able to step into a lot of more serious roles.

Keeping the Spidey suit, however, wouldn’t be bad. He brings more personality to the role than anyone before him and has the weight of his time with the Avengers to give him strength.

Because Watts juggles a lot of balls (you’ll see when the baddies start to appear), there’s not much time for these standard effects shots. Instead, it lets the characters explain themselves and answer questions that have been brewing for years.

When die-hard fans finally see this, they’ll have to talk about it, especially since it fixes plot holes better than Aunt May did at her sewing machine.