To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a crossover superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, and the 27th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, J. K. Simmons, and Marisa Tomei. Newcomers include Charlie Cox, who reprises his role from the Netflix Daredevil series. Jamie Foxx, Rhys Ifans, and Andrew Garfield reprise their roles from Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films, and Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Haden Church, and Tobey Maguire reprise their roles from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy. The story takes place right after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, with Peter Parker, after having his secret identity revealed to the public by Mysterio, asking Dr. Stephen Strange to make his identity as Spider-Man a secret again with magic. Unfortunately, Peter ruins the spell which breaks open the multiverse and allows supervillains from alternate realities who have fought alternate versions of Spider-Man to enter his universe.
To truly talk about a film like Spider-Man: No Way Home some spoilers will need to be discussed so don’t read further if you have not yet seen the film and/or don’t want to be spoiled. I will preface this review by saying I enjoyed this film a lot and you should definitely go see it in theaters.
The best thing about Spider-Man: No Way Home is the fact that it is the darkest of Jon Watts’ trilogy. There are real consequences for Peter Parker’s decisions in this film and things aren’t tied up with a neat bow by the end. Jon Watts does a great job at solidifying that his version of Peter Parker is different than the others. Fans have been eagerly awaiting for Uncle Ben and Oscorp to be mentioned, but this film assures fans that they are not a part of Peter’s origin in the MCU. There are similarities to what has come before but it is its own thing. This entire trilogy, along with Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, is his origin story and shapes him into what we know as Spider-Man. Hopefully, fans can accept having different takes on Peter Parker as long as the essence is the same.
Jon Watts utilizes Doctor Strange in the same way as Tony Stark and Nick Fury/Talos. He connects with Peter quickly since their relationship is practically fresh off their introduction in Avengers: Infinity War. Doctor Strange is in the film sparingly but imparts wisdom unto Peter to help him in his heroic journey. This keeps the main focus on Peter while allowing the rest of the MCU to stay fresh in fans’ minds. The returning villains are used very well also. Yes, they are fan service, but their return is also in service to the plot. The villains appear for a majority of the film and it makes sense why they’re there and what Peter is trying to do for them.
The acting in this film is fantastic with Tom Holland turning in his best performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man (1). Whereas in the other two films he is pretty much a kid this film shows him mature the most out of any of his other appearances in the MCU. His relationship with MJ is the best it has been in all of the films. You truly believe these two love each other and the heartbreak with the end reveal is strong. Andrew Garfield is undoubtedly very happy to be a part of the film as he looks to be having the most fun. His Peter Parker/Spider-Man (3) is the funniest of the three and there are many meta jokes at his expense and he takes it all in stride. He also shows great emotion relaying his experiences to the other characters and even has a scene that will make fans cheer. Tobey Maguire is an older, more mellow Peter Parker/Spider-Man (2). Evidently, some time has passed in his world as Maguire is not deaged for the role. There is a hilarious conversation about his natural webbing that fans will enjoy.
The villains who return also turn in great performances. Alfred Molina is still great as Doc Ock and plays it pretty much the same. Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin actually gets to expose the duality of his character more. We get a bit more of Norman not wanting the Green Goblin to take over. He works with Peter to help fix himself whereas in his original film he is not shown trying to find a cure. The best glow-up by far is Jamie Foxx as Electro. What they did with him in this film honors what came before and allows an evolution of the character that makes sense when we consider he’s in a new universe. Thomas Haden Church as Sandman is practically the same and Rhys Ifans is mostly sidelined as Lizard.
The fight choreography in this film is great. The scene where Peter and Doctor Strange fight in the mirror dimension is done very well. So are the fight scenes between Peter (1) and Doc Ock and Peter (1) and Green Goblin. The CGI used to display the mirror dimension is even better than it was shown in Doctor Strange. Also, the CGI used to de-age Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe is unnoticeable. This is probably the best use of the de-aging technology in the MCU. The CGI on Sandman and Lizard is practically the same as in their original films. Most MCU films have forgettable scores, Spider-Man films included, but Michael Giacchino does something amazing with Spider-Man: No Way Home. He honors what came before by including fragments of themes from Danny Elfman, James Horner, and The Magnificent Six while keeping his themes at the forefront. The final product is what is one of the MCU’s best scores since Black Panther.
The film does have the typical MCU humor and while not all of it lands most of it fits very well considering the type of film this is. This is the first major crossover film that has been done between separate Marvel Universes and it is handled with such care and devotion showing how the studio cares about its fans. I do feel they could’ve easily added at least fifteen more minutes of run time and it would not have felt any longer. This time could’ve been spent more with the Spider-Men interacting with each other and their villains.
The only issue with this film is the way certain characters are presented. Due to the very nature of the film, being a crossover, you can tell that producers, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, wanted to keep things as secret as possible. So, you have Sandman, who can easily turn back in the human form whenever he wants in Spider-Man 3, but yet remains in sand form throughout the majority of Spider-Man: No Way Home. The same can be said for Lizard who doesn’t need to dose himself with formula and only reverts to human form at the end. This was most likely done to keep the actors from having to physically come to the set. Making it harder for their involvement to be leaked and spoil the surprise. The same can be said about the interactions between Tobey, Andrew, and Tom in certain scenes. When Peter first meets the other two Spider-Men, the way the camera cuts back and forth when they’re talking to him shows that didn’t film their lines in the same place at the same time.
I don’t know if Spider-Man: No Way Home is my favorite Spider-Man film but it’s definitely my favorite Spider-Man film in the MCU. It is easily one of the top five films in the MCU currently. This is a film worth watching in a theater as this film is extraepic! Such a fun experience from beginning to end. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, even roll your eyes once or twice. This is a great ending to the MCU’s first Spider-Man Trilogy as I’m sure Feige and Pascal will make three more. Hopefully, after he’s done directing Fantastic Four Jon Watts will come back to direct the next three as well. I give Spider-Man: No Way Home a Perfect 10/10. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Holland’s Spider-Man popped up in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) next year.