Spider-Man is arguably the most popular superhero on the planet currently. His unique powers combined with the themes that the character deals with makes him a hero that audiences can identify with. This is evident with the large flood of moviegoers who travelled (and will continue to travel) to multiple movie theatres to watch the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Spider-Man: No Way Home, even during a global pandemic. The movie is currently a smash hit in the box office, earning a total of more than 1 billion dollars domestically and internationally combined. Many comic-book and movie fans have dubbed it an amazing blend of nostalgia and action, while simultaneously being called one of the better Spider-Man films. Does it live up to the massive hype? Let’s find out.
NOTE: This will be a major attempt at a spoiler-free review for this movie. (Keyword: attempt)
In terms of the overall story, characters, and themes, No Way Home exceeds the previous Spider-Man films in the MCU. To recap, Spider-Man: Homecoming was a great refresher of the character after the collapse of the previous Spider-Man series starring actor Andrew Garfield. The film showed the smaller battles that Spider-Man had to face and helped Peter Parker (Spider-Man’s real name) pay more attention to the local crimes in his area rather than trying to become the next Avenger. It is also a very funny movie for the entire runtime. Spider-Man: Far From Home, while having some great action scenes and acting, did not seem to develop the character of Peter as well as Homecoming. At times, it felt like a below-average Disney Channel movie in some scenes.
In No Way Home, the story picks up quite well from Far From Home’s post-credit scene of Spider-Man’s identity being revealed and being framed for the events in Far From Home by the previous villain, Mysterio. However, the beginning of this movie can be a hit or miss depending on who one asks. One could make the argument that the reason Peter meets with the superhero Doctor Strange later in the film to fix his identity crisis is due to a surprisingly weak reason. Even though it still felt a little bit too light-hearted in certain scenes of the first act, the first half still has some good moments showing Peter’s struggle with everyone knowing who he is and how it is affecting the people he cares about.
However, once Peter meets with Doctor Strange by the end of the first act of the film, the movie begins to gradually get better and better. The introduction of the several villains from previous Spider-Man franchises will give everyone that good, nostalgic feeling. Most notably, the two best villains who do an incredible job are Willem Dafoe as the sinister Green Goblin and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus. They both portray their characters well and it feels as if they were pulled right from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and inserted seamlessly into the current Marvel universe. More notably, Willem Dafoe was arguably the best actor in the film and truly was more frightening in this movie compared to the very first Spider-Man film as the Green Goblin. Every scene with him felt extremely tense. One can say that he has even solidified himself as the best villain the MCU has shown on the big screen, surpassing even the mad titan known as Thanos.
There are a lot of fun and exciting action sequences that may have been shown a bit through the trailers. Many of the battles will keep the audience off their seats.
In addition, Spider-Man also goes through a difficult conflict that he must overcome to save the day. He must make a choice on whether he should let the villains from other Spider-Man films die in their own world or find another way to save them. It is an obstacle that is similar to what the character has had to deal with in his other comic-book stories. There are plenty of emotional moments throughout the film that will tug the viewer’s heart and potentially make the audience cry. And Tom Holland, the actor who plays Spider-Man in this film, sells every heart-wrenching scene that he is in. It has (by a long shot) the largest stakes of any of the MCU Spider-Man films. Not to mention, there are a lot of surprises that the audience will definitely enjoy.
Most importantly, by the end of the film, it feels as if Peter has matured as an individual after all of the films he has appeared in. It seems as if he ends the movie symbolizing who the true character of Peter Parker is, which has been lacking in the MCU before this movie. To the critics who do not find the Tom Holland films to be comic-accurate, there is a great chance that they will be more than satisfied as to what will come in the near future. Not to mention, the mid-credit scene of the film gives a wonderful sneak peek as to what the next Spider-Man story will be in a future movie.
This review may have felt a little dry in what the movie provides, but the movie is really like a gigantic Christmas present. The movie itself needs to be fully watched to open the gift and see all the glory at face value. By the end of this film, one will grin from ear to ear and come out feeling they have experienced the greatest thing known to human life. That may feel like an exaggeration to say, but if you have seen the film, that feeling is inevitable.
Overall, this is one of the better MCU experiences to come out of this franchise and the nostalgic feeling combined with the strong emotional moments and action sequences make this movie a blast to watch. Go check it out if you have the chance. And ensure to stay safe during this pandemic as well since the theatres will be packed at your local movie theatre.
Spider-Man: No Way Home Box Office Total
“Spider-man: No way home,” Box Office Mojo. [Online]. Available: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt10872600/. [Accessed: 29-Jan-2022].
Green Goblin Image
Green Goblin holding a pumpkin bomb. Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios, 2021.
Spider-Man holding Captain America’s shield. Variety.
Doctor Strange Image
Doctor Strange. Fandom.