No idea how this movie wasn’t an overstuffed train-wreck, so whatever happened to make it as good as it was needs to be distilled down, bottled, and put on a production line for the rest of the MCU to inject directly into the creative veins of every movie going forward. No joke.
Taking place directly after the explosive events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he attempts to get the world to forget that he’s the spectacular hero known as Spider-Man. Taking up the matter with Marvel’s resident Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Spidey accidentally botches the spell aimed at wiping the minds of everyone who knows about his alter ego, only to have it drag some familiar faces into his universe in the process. Set against a whole slew of misplaced villains from previous non-MCU Spider-Man films that are coming after him, Peter is stuck between a rock and a multiversal hard place as he tries to have his cake and eat it too. What follows is a mind-bending amalgamation of everything that has come before in a Spider-Man film, all wrapped up in an epic story set to the beat of a hero whose great power has given him more responsibility than he can handle.
I gotta be honest, I tempered my expectations for this film well before seeing it in theaters, hoping that it wouldn’t be a jumbled mess of a movie but secretly expecting it to kick some serious ass, and I have to say, this one does not disappoint. From the action to the humor to the beating heart that ties it all together, No Way Home pulls off things that I didn’t expect to see in this movie nor knew I even wanted as it successfully builds Tom Holland’s version of the character into the hero fans always knew he could be.
Full of epic sequences both in terms of the story being told and the action shown, the character work that this MCU trilogy has focused on between Ned (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya), and Peter dovetail perfectly with the overarching message that this film is trying to convey i.e. “With great power, there must also come great responsibility.” Dragging Spidey through the wringer, the script not only expertly balances its elements in a way that makes this film feel whole and competent — and above all else — right, but it also gives fans twists and turns that I honestly don’t know how the filmmakers pulled off, leading to an experience that truly needs to be seen to be believed.
But for as great as most of this movie is, it is a film not without flaws. Taking on the massive burden of trying to tie in at least seven Spidey movies, as well as adhere to the current story landscape that is the always-changing MCU, No Way Home expectedly has some kinks to work out, but are luckily issues that for the most part, can readily be ignored. A bit contrived and quick in the way the script coalesces during the opening act of the film, once the villains and story settle into their groove, a lot of the issues I had with this movie quickly evaporated, but are still present as nitpicks that aren’t necessarily wrong. And although I’d love to get into spoiler territory in this review (A LOT of things happen in this movie), there’s enough great stuff going on that even the wonkiest of elements can be forgiven, even if they stick out a bit more upon repeated viewings.
So while there are most definitely some clunky elements here and there, especially in regards to the set-up of it all, it can’t be denied how wildly successful this movie is not just for the MCU, but for nerds like me who could barely believe what I was witnessing up onscreen was actually happening. Spider-Man: No Way Home is more than just fan-service: it’s an experience that any fan of Spidey — hardcore, fair-weather, or otherwise — can truly enjoy and appreciate, and will be a hard Spider-Man movie to top moving forward.