The biggest movie of the year is finally here, with it’s only real competition being maybe Clifford the Big Red Dog. Spider-Man: No Way Home is the tail end of the Spider-Man Home trilogy, which makes sense as the marketing alone makes this the most epic of the three. I was pretty psyched to see this along with everyone in my cinema as it was packed in there and I haven’t been to one of those since before the pandemic, since Avengers: Endgame back in 2019. Speaking of Endgame, its been awhile since I’ve done this, but I’m going to repeat the way I reviewed that movie by splitting this one up into spoiler-free/spoiler filled posts, because I don’t want to be that guy that reveals something that someone else didn’t know. (Unless you purposively click on the spoiler post and then I’m not liable.) Anyway this is my vague as humanly possible review on Spider-Man: No Way Home, and we’ll come back in a week with a more thorough dissection of the film.
If you’re been following my content this year you might have noticed that I haven’t been a big fan of this year’s slate of MCU content, from disappointing TV shows to movies that in retrospect feel entirely skippable. I believe I’m in the minority for this as I know this stuff has its fans, which is perfectly fine, but for me, Spider-Man was the last saving grace the MCU had in order to bring it all home and make this entire year of mediocrity worth it. In the end to my surprise, it did.
The film was always going to have an interesting starting point as it was picking up from the solid cliffhanger that the last movie established. Peter Parker was exposed and everyone knew he was the Spider-Man. This storyline alone could easily carry its own movie, even without that multiverse fanfare stuff. It’s pretty good stuff, but it could have been executed better especially with Peter’s motivation for wanting to meet with Dr. Strange in order to fix everything, which I found pretty weak. Something I will mention about this movie is the plotting and character motives were inconsistent and a little contrived, which was annoyingly spread throughout the movie. That being said if you’re here to see what this movie has in regards to fan service then this stuff about character and story, probably won’t interest you.
Let’s talk about this movie’s crutch, which is that this is a multiverse story, but unlike Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (a movie that heavily inspired this one) this film is solely relying on the fact that you have seen Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man duo, for its story to be emotionally effective and for its jokes to hit. I’m sure you can enjoy this just fine without any prior knowledge of those movies, but it won’t be as much as a jaw dropping moment if you don’t know how big of a deal that they casted Alfred Molina to play Doctor Octopus again. The other backbone of the marketing is the recasting of Spider-Man villains from previous non MCU Spider-Man movies. I’m only mentioning old Doc Ock in this review as an example because this guy was featured the most in the marketing. The scenes where these villains and other characters are interacting and are having fun banter is really cool to see as a fan of these characters. Although it does become too meta for its own good as the film and it gets carried away with it’s own golden material. The latter half of the movie ultimately devolves into an internet fan fiction story and killing any serious investment I had this story. I hate to bring up Into the Spider-Verse, but that’s a movie that tells a similar story to No Way Home, but the reason that is a better film is because it puts telling a great story before inserting its fan service. Spider-Verse treats it’s audience with the respect to pick up on its inside jokes at your own accord, while No Way Home is more concerned with shoving it in your face and taking long pauses to gloat about that they managed to get all these characters together. I understand why they did this, and it certainly enhanced the movie into a more memorable film, but it did become a little too much, and a better story could have compensated for that. (Avengers: Endgame comes to mind.)
I would say one of the film’s major pluses would be the acting. Tom Holland as Spider-Man is really good, but I found he’s often better when he’s playing off someone else, such as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange which was my favourite pairing of this movie. My favourite performance from this movie is someone I’m saving for my spoiler post, but everyone else in this movie was pretty damn good. The CGI was a bit hit or miss, but that’s also pretty typical. That’s about it, at least it was better than the last film Spider-Man: Far From Home, which I rewatched before seeing this and that did not age well in my memory.
This film is far from perfect, however it was still very entertaining and an enjoyable film. The crowded fanfare cinema experience definitely helped with my initial first impressions of the movie and will be remembered in the years to come. This is probably the best of the Spider-Man Home trilogy, which is saying a lot because I really don’t think highly of this trilogy in retrospect. No Way Home is a satisfying cinematic experience and did bring out my inner child at times, but it also annoyed me a bit with poor writing decisions. I’m definitely going to rewatch this again at some point, which in itself immediately makes it the best MCU property of the year. If you’re going to see this, you’re better off going as soon as possible so you could hopefully replicate the same experience I had, while this film is still hot and also so you’ll be all good to see my spoiler thoughts on this movie next week. Blog Complainer, signing out.