Review: Spiderman: No Way Home

Everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is back in Spider-Man: No Way Home. After all the rumors, theories, trailers, interviews, and leaked photos, we finally see what the MCU has in store for their third Spider-Man film.

This installment takes place immediately after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) secret identity as Peter Parker is revealed to the world by J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). This reveal doesn’t’ just turn Peter’s life upside, it impacts May (Marisa Tomei), Happy (Jon Favreau) and Peter’s girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) along with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon).

This recent controversy leads to Peter, Ned, and MJ’s college applications being rejected from colleges – the big one being MIT. Feeling responsible for what’s happening to his friends and loved ones; Peter decides to visit his old friend Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Peter enlists Strange to use a spell so that everyone forgets Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Like a true teenager, Peter can’t stop talking and damages the spell.

Messing up the spell leads to various Spider-Man villains from other universes showing up in their world. After Peter’s fight with Doc Ock aka Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), Strange warns that other villains made there way through before he could finish the spell. Peter goes around the city trying to capture Electro (Jamie Foxx), The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). The plan is to capture them and send them back.

Instead of sending the villains back to their home universe, Peter tries to fix the things that made them bad. Of course, you can’t trust a villain and Peter’s decision puts his loved ones and the city in danger.

This movie is a celebration of all things Spider-Man. It’s 100% fan service for one of Marvel’s most popular characters. It’s packed with all the references, callbacks, and easter eggs fans love. It’s also a showcase of how good Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is. He looks age appropriate and even has the stutters and stammers around like a teenager. Peter’s concerns and lack of follow through (when Strange asked him if he called MIT) is something a teenager would do. Holland delivers everything that makes Peter Parker a teenager with perfection.

Peter’s relationship with MJ is critical in any Spider-Man story and it’s the centerpiece of a lot of Peter’s decision in No Way Home. Holland’s chemistry with Zendaya is a great off-screen (if you’ve seen their press tour) and their magical chemistry shows up in the film.

The return of Molina, Foxx, and Dafoe as villains was much needed. The three actors infused some old/new blood into the franchise. All three villains are the same characters but slightly different than the versions seen in previous Spider-Man films. The best villain and scene stealer is Dafoe as Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin. He’s as evil and manipulative as he was in 2002’s Spider-Man. Dafoe’s laugh matched with his evil smirk is still one of the best depictions of a comic book villain.

In true Spider-Man fashion, the film is full of laughs from beginning to end. Sandwiched between the insane action set pieces and [SPOILERS] there is more than enough humor to lighten the mood. One of the funniest moments is Coach Wilson (Hannibal Buress) interaction with Peter on his first day back at Midtown High School. J. Jonah’s absolute hatred for Spider-Man will always be funny. He refers to him as a menace every chance he gets.

Surprisingly, the story has some real heart felt moments as Peter grapples with the consequence of living a double life as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. The story examines what it means to be a superhero and what the real consequences for living your life as the web swinging Avenger.

What fans want to see is the very spoiler-filled third act that’s guaranteed to have fans soaking up every second of the big boss battle. The best part of the battle isn’t just what happens, but the how and why. Spider-Man: No Way Home went all out to give fans exactly what they wanted. There’s a world bending fight with Strange, funny high school hijinks, chaotic villains, and cameos and surprises galore. It’s everything fans want and more…and isn’t that why we go to the movies. Well done MCU.

Also, post credit scene at the very end shows where the MCU is headed next. Fans should and will be excited. Take my money now.

Grade: A-