The biggest superhero in this movie is director Jon Watts. After a year and a half of rampant speculation, impossible expectations, and the pressure of being the first ‘event’ move post-Covid, he delivers.
Spider-Man No Way Home is a triumph.
Whether this is the best Spider-Man movie or even the best MCU movie will require a few more viewings because wow, this movie is a lot. There is never a dull moment with all of the plot points and characters that it juggles, but it never feels overstuffed. Every character, every second of fan-service is there with a purpose. Spider-Man No Way Home is a crowd-pleaser that never loses focus of its core themes and characters.
To say much else is to risk spoiling the movie, so I’ll leave it at that. The majority of the footage shown in the trailers come from the first hour of the movie. I’ll only be discussing those already revealed plot points and characters for the rest of the review.
No spoilers, I promise.
”Visitors From Every Universe”
This movie is filled to the brim. As the trailers show, Green Goblin, Electro, Doc Ock, Lizard, and Sandman are all reprising their roles. Some are better than others.
The Lizard and Sandman stand out as victims of the film not having a real purpose for them. Something about them felt different from their previous films. They are just sort of there and while they have a couple cool moments, they can’t help but feel sidelined. When the other villains are as good as they are, these two feel forgotten.
Electro has had a major redesign and works a lot better here than he did in his own movie. The Max Dillon we knew from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has basically been replaced with someone who acts more like Jamie Foxx. For this reason alone he’s more likable, but pair that with a more tangible motivation and you end up with a solid character. Though, he’s never given a ton to do. Doc Ock, on the other hand, is a bit more critical to the film and has some really great moments. Alfred Molina feels like he stepped right out of 2004 and it’s a joy to see. He worked then and the character works just as well now.
The real standout is Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin. This character is menacing and never lets the audience feel safe. Willem steals every scene he’s in and proves (as if we still need proof) just how talented of an actor he is. This character is without a doubt one of the greatest performances in a comic book movie.
And fear not, this movie does nothing to damage their arcs from their previous films. If anything it improves them.
This is a Peter Parker Story Through and Through
Peter Parker is the focal point of this movie and his story has never been so emotional. This film understands Peter and takes him through the ringer. More so than the previous MCU outings, this film explores what it means to be Spider-Man in perhaps the most powerful way portrayed on screen. That’s about as much I can say without spoilers.
And Tom Holland. Man, this guy can act. I could audibly hear people in my theater crying more than once partly due to just how great his performance is. If he somehow hasn’t already proven to you that he’s the world’s next superstar, this movie does just that.
It’s definitely not a perfect movie though, no movie is. For example, I would’ve liked to spend maybe five or ten more minutes in the first act to give more depth to how Peter and everybody is dealing with his identity being leaked. The film handles it well enough, but it occasionally felt rushed when it really shouldn’t have been.
Other than that, any other minor issues with the film involve spoilers, including certain plot beats that work well in the movie but left me with lots of questions. All of these tiny issues are drastically outweighed by how great this movie is.
Spider-Man No Way Home brings together nearly two decades of this character together in a way that pleases the fans without losing focus of what truly matters. It’s truly special how Watts was able to pull this off with such ease, not to mention the amount of pressure he was under. See this movie in theaters and with as big of an audience that you can find. It is the perfect culmination of this Home trilogy and sends the character off in an exciting direction.