I want to open this review by stating that I was not a fan of Spider-Man: Homecoming or Spider-Man: Far From Home. I liked certain things about them, but as a whole, I gave each a negative review. When the hype for Spider-Man: No Way Home started over the past few months, I took everything with a grain of salt. When I got my screening invite for No Way Home, I immediately RSVPed and went into the screening, hoping for the best, as I do with all movies. I am beyond happy to report that I not only loved Spider-Man: No Way Home but believe it to be the best Marvel movie of all time.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Scott, you’ve lost your damn mind.” I can assure you, no, I mean it when I say that this is the crown jewel of Marvel movies. I am as shocked as you are reading this, and sadly, I can’t get into the specifics as to why I feel this way because that would spoil the film. That being said, if you are someone who is a Marvel fan and grew up watching Spider-Man as I did, you are going to be blown away when you see this.
Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up immediately from where Far From Home left off. Mysterio has exposed to the world that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man. The film then jumps into how this news has impacted Peter’s friends and family. When Peter learns that MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) get rejected by MIT due to the ongoing controversy centered around Spider-Man and Mysterio’s death, Peter turns to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help. Strange offers to use a spell that will erase anyone knowing that he is Spider-Man. While casting the spell, Peter keeps interrupting Strange, which causes a glitch, resulting in the opening of the multiverse. To avoid spoilers, I will stop here. Still, I should warn everyone who is reading this review to avoid the internet, especially Twitter and YouTube, for the next few days until you see this film. Trust me, you DO NOT want any of the surprises in this film ruined for you.
Without giving anything away, this film brilliantly pays homage to the legacy of Spider-Man, which is why I think it is an even better film than Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War. Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommer are massive web-slinger fans who celebrate the character in many creative ways. There are a lot of inside jokes and easter eggs that hardcore fans are going to go nuts over, but even if you are just a casual fan, this film will win over nearly anyone who sees it. While there is a lot of nostalgia and fan service, the film doesn’t rely solely on that. The script, as well as the performances, are terrific.
In my eyes, Tom Holland and Zendaya deliver their best performances as these characters in this film. I have openly criticized the previous two films because they were Spider-Man movies that relied way too heavily on Iron Man. While No Way Home does rely on Doctor Strange to set up its story, it is refreshing to see Holland finally get to be in a Spider-Man movie where he is front and center. Certain moments are very emotional, and I was surprised by how powerful those scenes were. Peter struggles with things we haven’t seen him deal with before, and this time around, he doesn’t have someone like Iron Man to help him figure things out. Holland nails this performance and continues to prove he is an incredibly gifted actor. I hope he takes on more roles outside of these extensive tentpole franchises.
Zendaya as MJ has always been my favorite character in this recent Spider-Man series. I love how pessimistic and sarcastic MJ is. In No Way Home, she gets to dive even deeper into MJ as the script gives the character a strong emotional arc. She is more than a love interest this time around, and her personality is crucial to the plot. As a character, MJ has matured and changed significantly from the previous two films. I am always a sucker for stories where characters grow and learn, which happens with both MJ and Peter in this film.
If you have seen the trailer for No Way Home, you already know some of the villains from the previous films appear. Again, I will not detail this, but I will say these villains are not just cameos but a significant part of the story. Alfred Molina has always been considered one of the best villains in any superhero film, and seeing him again in this film confirms that. He has always been a fan favorite, and it is fantastic that the story allows him (and the rest of the villains) to serve a purpose rather than just being solely in the film for nostalgic reasons.
While I wish I could go into more detail about why I love this film but won’t for the sake of potentially ruining the fun. I can see this film breaking all sorts of records and people going to see this movie over and over again. If there’s someone who could bring people back to theaters, I’m glad it’s this Spider-Man in this spectacular movie.