The Geopolitical Virtue of Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home. (Sony Pictures)
The Marvel character’s latest film just outgrossed a work of Chinese propaganda. There’s more to this than you might think.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE F or much of 2021, the highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office was not a Hollywood production. It was The Battle at Lake Changjin, a big-budget, Hollywood-aping Chinese blockbuster flatteringly depicting the actions of Chinese soldiers against Americans during the Korean War. Produced by several Chinese-government departments, the film has become the most successful in China’s history. And because of the Covid-era travails of American studios seduced by streaming and of movie theaters still struggling to bring audiences back, the Chinese propaganda film had dominated the worldwide box office.

Until last week, when Spider-Man: No Way Home, the latest entry in

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