Spider-Man: No Way Home Review: Spectacular, Sensational, And Amazing
In many ways, Spider-Man: No Way Home is more ambitious than Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and that’s saying something. It’s not just the sheer number of characters, it’s how this film pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a new and exciting direction. No Way Home blurs some pretty important lines, and in so doing, gives fans of the character and of the greater universe so much goodness to behold.
This review will be spoiler-free. Nothing will be discussed that hasn’t been seen in the trailers, and if I’m ambiguous, there is a reason for it. I want you, the reader, to enjoy the film as much as I did — and all of the surprises, of which there are many, should bring you the same joy I got from it.
At its heart, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the story of three high school friends trying to get into the same college. It’s true. Peter Parker (Tom Holland), MJ (Zendaya), and Ned (Jacob Batalon) have been close friends and confidants, as the latter two know Peter’s secret: he’s Spider-Man. But thank to the events in Spider-Man: Far From Home, now the rest of the world knows that too. The film opens with Parker and Co. dealing with that bombshell dropped by J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons), and now their lives are irreparably changed.
Because of the notoriety, the trio are having trouble moving on with their lives — and that includes getting into MIT together. When they are denied — primarily because of Peter’s “side gig” — Peter goes to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to give him and his friends a second chance by casting a spell to make the world forget he is Spider-Man. Strange reluctantly agrees, and things go…awry.
Midcasting, Peter asks that MJ, Ned, and Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) not forget, which causes a wrinkle that tears the fabric of time and space, allowing anyone who has ever known that Peter Parker is Spider-Man to cross over into the MCU world and chaos ensues.
The Spider-Man villains from at least four different films appear, including Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), all wanting to kill Spider-Man, and now Spidey and his amazing friends must work to find a way to send these characters home.
If that’s the story of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the theme of the film is certainly second chances. Peter seeks a second chance to get into college. The villains all seek a second chance — at first — to kill Spidey, and later, to be better people now that they are alive again. There are plenty of other examples of second chances, but we’ll leave those for now.
Director Jon Watts finds a way to juggle such a large cast with so many spiraling stories, and yet everyone still gets their time to shine. Molina and Dafoe, particularly, get to add to the legacies of their initial performances of the characters, and Foxx and Church get additional time to expand their roles as well. But as good as they are, Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon match them with acting intensity. The ensemble, as a whole, makes the Eternals seem even more irrelevant than before.
The script by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, who also penned the first two Spider-Man: Home films, brings everything full circle. In fact, Spider-Man: No Way Home ends what turns out to be the MCU Spider-Man’s origin story. A long, six film (including Captain America: Civil War and the Avengers films) origin story, and at no time did we see a spider bite a teenager, proving that it can be done. Filmmakers can leave certain things implied without sacrificing the greater story.
The Spider-Man: Home trilogy wraps up the origin of this version of Peter Parker, and in the end, the character is forever changed. And the audience knows that the rules can be broken for the greater story, and that’s where Spider-Man: No Way Home flexes its greater ambitions, giving certain characters the denouement they never got in previous films. That’s what makes this film so special.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a Marvel Cinematic Universe film made by Sony as part of the partnership between the studios, but this is certainly an MCU film and yet it still leaves Spider-Man’s almost 20-year film legacy intact. It was a heady task and Watts and his team deliver completely. Maybe I’ll come back in a few weeks with some deeper analysis of the events of this film. I want to give fans a chance to truly enjoy the surprises, and you too will realize that this film isn’t just spectacular, but its also sensational and amazing. And it’s one of the best comic book films to date.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is rated PG-13 and is in theaters now. Be warned, there is a mid-credits scene and a post credits trailer that is sure to get fanboy hearts racing.
TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.