Movie Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home

By: Evan Gallagher, Contributor

[Columbia Pictures; 2021]

Spider-Man definitely came out to play in the third installment in the MCU Spider-Man series. The movie took risks and offered a new direction for the beloved Peter Parker that was unexpected, but had great payoff. So, spoilers ahead if you somehow still haven’t seen No Way Home.

In the second year of the pandemic, many were worried about movies being delayed further into the year. Marvel Studios pulled through and gave fans one of the most anticipated superhero movies of all time in 2021. The hype was massive. Everyone was theorizing and talking about rumors of returning characters from previous Spider-Man films, and most of the rumors turned out to be true in the best ways possible.

 The beginning of the film does an adequate job of setting up the issues Tom Holland’s Peter Parker will go through. At the end of Far From Home, the previous movie, the villain Mysterio leaked Spider-Man’s true identity to the public. Peter now is on the run and has to deal with the repercussions. What the MCU Spider-Man films get right about this character are the struggles he goes through when carrying the responsibility of being a superhero. It makes him much more grounded, and it definitely worked in No Way Home.

Where the film picks up is the villain introductions. Almost all of the villains from the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man series show up and it was so satisfying to watch. The standouts were Alfred Molina as Doc Ock, Jamie Foxx as Electro and Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin. Wow, did Dafoe perform. It was as if he never left the role, and the choice to make him the main enemy of Spider-Man was so smart.

As fun as it was to see Holland’s Peter Parker back on the big screen, his quirkiness did drag some of the scenes down slightly. It is a Marvel film, so jokes and banter are expected. However, with the stakes being so high, a more serious tone from Holland in the beginning would’ve worked better. That also goes for Jacob Batalon’s Ned and Zendaya’s MJ. Ned interrupting Peter and MJ’s moment, while funny, muddles the tone the movie is going for.

The tonal issues are overshadowed by the incredible action sequences, surprisingly good acting and deep dives into the characters. Of course, the inclusion of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield has to be praised. It’s a major moment in cinema history, having the three Spider-Men on-screen together. Their chemistry was flawless, and it was seemingly a brotherhood with their teasing and support for one another. The character introductions were fine, and the grieving with Holland after the loss of Aunt May was one of the great scenes in this film.

The final battle was an amazing web-swinging journey. The decision to cure the villains rather than just kill them really speaks to who Peter Parker is. He is supposed to see the good in everyone, and the movie hit the nail right on the head. The three Spider-Men running into action together was one of the moments that made audiences in the theaters cheer.

Because of Doctor Strange’s spell, everyone forgets who Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is at the end. This made sense because the three iterations of this character have been done, and it’s time for a change of pace. Wherever they go with Spider-Man, it will be a fresh take that is welcomed. 

From the first sighting of Doc Ock on the bridge to the last shot of Spider-Man flying through a snowy New York night, the film was quite entertaining. Director Jon Watts understood the assignment and treated these characters with the respect they deserve. No Way Home will go down as one of the most ambitious superhero films in cinema.

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