“Spider-Man: No Way Home” Review: The Amazing, Spectacular, and Ultimate Spider-Man Movie


Photo courtesy of deadline.com


Before I get into the review, I wanted to write down a few thoughts before I see the movie. As I am writing this, I will be seeing “Spider-Man No Way Home” in eight hours. 

This movie already means a lot to me. I’ve grown up watching and loving all the Spider-Man movies, even the bad ones like “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” While my opinions on most of these movies have gone down as I’ve gotten older and more cynical, I can’t help but enjoy all these movies, which are like a direct shot of nostalgia into my veins. These movies are a major part of my childhood, and this movie is finally the culmination of almost 20 years of filmmaking. 

This may seem weird or redundant, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the significance of this movie away from the hype, online discourse, and the movie itself. This is arguably on the same level as “Endgame,” because it’s bringing together every live-action Spider-Man movie dating back to what arguably put superhero movies back on the map in 2002. 

Regardless of the movie’s quality, that’s a huge accomplishment. I had originally approached this movie with skepticism, because I did not like the idea of having Spider-Man deal with the multiverse this early in his career and thought the movie would be a massive dump of fan service, but now that trailers and reviews are out all confirming that this would be the most personal and emotionally resonant MCU Spider-Man movie, I am more excited than I’ve ever been for a Spider-Man movie. 

Furthermore, the idea of Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, being in this makes me ecstatic even if it’s for only a few minutes. Daredevil is my all-time favorite Marvel or DC project, and Matt Murdock is my favorite MCU character, so to not only see him back but finally on the big screen with Spider-Man is a dream come true for me. Now that I’m done feeling like a little kid again, let’s see what future me thought of “Spider-Man No Way Home.”



Before I jump in, this review has full spoilers. It’s been a month-and-a-half now, and this is a really difficult movie to talk about without discussing spoilers, so you have been warned.

In short “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is fantastic and I highly recommend anyone who has even a mild interest in Spider-Man to go see it. To be clear, you should watch every single live-action Spider-Man movie along with the Avengers movies before seeing this movie for it to make sense but also for it to have emotional weight. It is the ultimate Spider-Man movie, not only through villains and cameos but also because of the themes and messages at play here. Despite this movie having countless cameos and Spider-Man references from the past 20 years this movie feels especially grounded compared to other Marvel event movies because the movie is centered around Peter’s struggle to be Spider-Man.

I’ll start with some criticisms first because I really don’t have many.

Firstly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the legacy Spider-Man villains outside of Green Goblin and Doc Ock. The lizard was mostly a joke character throughout the movie, Sandman had some awkward placement in the movie and his motivations don’t quite mesh with how “Spider-Man 3” ended, and Electro has a stark personality shift that is quite jarring going from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Thankfully, Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe kill it in this movie, which were the two most important villains to get right. It’s just a shame that the Sam Raimi villains get to shine so much, while the villains from the Marc Webb movies get the back burner, which kind of undercuts this being a celebration of Spider-Man movies, and makes it feel more like a celebration of the Raimi movies sometimes. There were some good callbacks and character moments for each of them though, such as Andrew Garfield’s conversation with Electro in the final battle.

I also have a major issue with this movie’s aversion to the mention of MCU Uncle Ben. This is a problem throughout all the MCU Spider-Man appearances, since his debut in “Civil War,” but it becomes especially apparent here. This movie has so many chances to mention Uncle Ben and his impact on Peter, but it never does. I get that they didn’t want to tread old ground, but Uncle Ben is just as important to Spider-Man as Thomas and Martha Wayne are to Batman, and it’s odd how all these movies never directly mention him. Even worse is that the other Spider-Men mention their Uncle Bens, but Tom Holland’s just doesn’t, which almost implies he didn’t exist here or play an important role in maturing Peter into his role as Spider-Man.

Lastly, the first act had some messy pacing. It has a breakneck pace and almost feels like it’s trying to get to the “good stuff” rather than properly setting up acts 2 and 3. The most telling part is the  scene where Peter and his friends get arrested and brought to the police station for questioning. It’s given a good amount of screen time, yet in the next scene everything is fine and dandy with all their legal troubles cleared. It’s obvious there were other scenes filmed addressing this, especially since all the leaks and rumors saying that there was a court scene with Matt Murdock defending Peter, along with a scene of Matt talking to Peter in the interrogation room. The first act needed an extra 15-20 minutes to properly set up Peter’s motivations for going to Dr. Strange and show the widespread ramifications of his identity being revealed beyond JJJ propagating Alex Jones-type conspiracy theories.

Everything else about this movie, for the most part, is fantastic.

Like I said before, the first act has some issues, but it is still a fun and engaging time. This portion of the movie is the most similar to the previous two movies, as it continues the high school comedy tone that has become synonymous with these movies, but here it feels a little different, because it feels like this aspect is slowly falling apart as it does for Peter. The movie extensively shows the effects of Peter’s identity being revealed on him and his friends. Rapid conspiracy theories emerge around Spider-Man, bricks get thrown through his window, he gets arrested and put on trial, he has to be escorted into the school as everyone stares at him like he has the cheese touch, and he gets rejected from college because of the negative publicity he would bring. For the first time in the trilogy, it feels like Peter has real and impactful consequences to his actions, which only increases as the movie progresses.

This movie marks the return of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, also known as Daredevil; though he only has a short cameo. I love Netflix’s “Daredevil” and it is by far my favorite project in the MCU and of any superhero property for that matter. Seeing my favorite MCU character finally return was immensely exciting. The scene he stars in is fantastic. My only issue is that it wasn’t longer, because according to Tom Holland and some other sources, Matt and Peter were supposed to have a heartfelt conversation on what it meant to be a superhero, which would’ve been an excellent setup for Peter’s arc throughout the movie. Nevertheless, I am ecstatic Charlie Cox is back.

Act 2 is where the movie starts to bring in what everyone came for and once the legacy villains from other Spider-Man movies come, the movie kicks into overdrive. This is the main event and it surely didn’t disappoint.

Alfred Molina, Doc Ock, and Willem Dafoe, Green Goblin, both give fantastic performances, and in the case of Willem, I’d argue even surpasses his original performance as Norman Osborn from 2002. One thing that worried me about this movie is that they would cheapen the ending of “Spider-Man 2” by reverting Doc Ock into a villain, and while that somewhat stands for a bit of the movie, they do the character justice by retaining the arc he went through in his original appearance. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin cements himself as one of Marvel’s greatest villains here. In every scene he’s in, he has an eerie and intimidating presence and has more quotable lines than even Thanos, such as “Gods don’t have to choose. We take.” and “Peter. You’re struggling to have everything you want while the world tries to make you choose.” Despite them not having a direct connection in this movie, like the original, Peter and Goblin’s dynamic and rivalry is even better here and this movie hones in on how much of a threat the Green Goblin truly is, which is something I think was lost in the original Sam Raimi movies. This movie gives the sense that he is the penultimate Spider-Man villain; in just one day of knowing this Peter, Norman irreparably changes his life forever.

The main attraction of this movie, though, was definitely the return of both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire as their respective versions of Spider-Man. Both of these characters were perfectly done. They feel like the same characters they were when we left them off in “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” They feel like natural progressions of each iteration of Spider-Man, and I also loved how they gave both characters satisfying conclusions to their original characters such as Tobey Maguire preventing Green Goblin from being impaled by his own glider, opposite to what happened in “Spider-Man,” and Andrew Garfield saving MJ from a great fall, unlike what happened with Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The dynamic between the three Spider-Men is fantastic. They highlight the differences between each one while also showing how each one is great in their own way. 

Of course, I have to talk about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, since it is still his movie and wow, he really steps it up here from his already great job as Peter Parker. This movie puts Peter through the wringer and Tom delivers that perfectly through Peter’s sadness, anger, and personal conflict. This is the first time in the MCU that Peter really has to struggle with power and responsibility and the way this movie delivers it is just amazing. This movie really makes Peter live up to the mantle of Spider-Man, because he is now faced with extensive choices and consequences that have a tangible impact on his life. This movie also highlights what I like most about Spider-Man, which is his empathy. Peter’s life sucks and the world constantly tries to put him down, but despite that, he moves past it and still remains a hero. What makes the character so inspiring to millions of fans is how he rises above the hardships in life and continues to do the right thing. By the end of this movie, Peter finally feels like the Spider-Man we know and love. Before, Peter may have heard the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility,” but this is where he actually has to put that idea to the test. 

I also really loved how this movie treats every Spider-Man movie with reverence and respect. It doesn’t make fun of or bastardize the ones that came before it, even the bad and unpopular ones. This was a major pitfall in “Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker” and I’m thankful it wasn’t replicated here. It truly does feel like the ultimate celebration of Spider-Man, because it has something for fans of every era, while also telling a great story in its own right. I’m thankful this movie exists and that it’s as good as it is. “No Way Home” tells the quintessential Spider-Man story on the big screen and I highly recommend anyone with even a passing interest in the character to watch this movie.


Score: 9/10