PG Score: 9/10
Spider-Man: No Way Home was released in theaters in the U.S. on 12/17/21
Spider-Man: No Way Home swung back into theaters to resounding applause as Director Jon Watts delivers his masterpiece in this third installment of the MCU/Sony Spider-Man franchise. The highest opening weekend in the pandemic era and richly deserved at that, Spider-Man combines the best parts of the previous franchises while leading to a bright future that only Into the Spider-Verse has teased in the past.
No Way Home picks up immediately where Far From Home left off, with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) getting one last thing over on Peter Parker (Tom Holland) by revealing his identity to the world. The first third of the film deals with the fallout of this news and how it not only affects Peter, but everyone in his life. He is regarded as both hero and villain depending on the day and it isn’t helped with J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) targeting Spider-Man as a vigilante bad guy.
There isn’t much action in the first part of the film, as Peter and his friends try to adjust to going to school for their final year, which has become a media circus. What really propels the movie is when Peter, Ned (Jacob Batalon), and MJ (Zendaya) get denial letters from every college they applied to. From there we finally get to catch up with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) at the Sanctum Sanctorum, where Peter has gone to ask for help. The camaraderie from saving the world together leads Doctor Strange to willingly help out Peter in crafting a spell to help make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but of course, the spell doesn’t go as planned. This is where the fun begins.
The special effects and fight scenes are phenomenal. This is particularly noticeable with the de-aging CGI used on Willem Dafoe’s (Spider-Man, 2002) Green Goblin and Alfred Molina’s (Spider-Man 2, 2004) Doc Ock. In addition to the final fight scene itself, which is unsurpassed in its epic scale, the three other major action scenes blend the computer-generated with the live-action seamlessly. Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 2014) as Electro gets a facelift and a character arc that only improves upon the lackluster storytelling from his original role, and the Green Goblin is just as vicious if not more so in this film with Willem Dafoe doing a lot of his own stunts.
The story/plot of the film, while not as deep as previous films in this franchise and other incarnations of this character, does its job well. Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) as Aunt May gets her largest role in the series and is Peter’s moral compass throughout. The film keeps the humor it has been known for while turning up the drama and Tom Holland does a tremendous job leading this film, showing great range. The chemistry between Holland and Zendaya (Dune) is undeniable and helps anchor a film that is grand in its epic scale. No Way Home gives Zendaya a chance to play a larger role than the previous two films and she shines bright in doing so.
Surprise appearances and subtle nods to the previous films and comics help to make Spider-Man: No Way Home one of the best Spider-Man films to date. The theaters opening weekend were packed with barely a seat left open. Combined with the electric atmosphere and cheering crowd only made each revelation that much more impactful. No Way Home is made to be seen in theaters and from its record numbers, most would agree. Not only is it a must-see film, but it is also a "can’t miss" experience that leads us to wonder what is next for this incredible character. Go see this movie. You may even see me there for a 2nd or 3rd viewing.