Welcome, World Travelers! Spider-Man: No Way Home Is Way Cool! (Spoiler-Free Review)
by James Coulter
Reviewing a Marvel movie is a hard thing to do, because convincing people to watch one seems rather pointless. You’re either on board with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or you’re not. If you haven’t seen any of the previous Spider-Man or MCU films, then you’re not going to bother watching the third Spider-Man installment. And if you have seen the other movies, then not only will you watch the new one, but you’re probably going to avoid reading reviews like this to avoid potential spoilers. Rest assured, true believer: this review will be spoiler-free.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” starts where the last movie, “Far From Home”, ended: with Peter Parker having his secret identity as Spider-Man revealed to the public and his friends and family facing the repercussions. Wanting to undo this damage, he visits Doctor Strange to have all memory of his identity magically erased. However, after the spell goes horribly wrong, villains from other universes (read: other Spider-Man movies) are summoned and start causing havoc. Can Spider-Man stop them in time to set things right?
Again, reviewing a Marvel movie is hard because, at this point, people are either invested in the MCU or they’re not. And if they are, then they’re going to watch this movie regardless of what some random review says. The Marvel movies essentially sell themselves, and this year has been especially phenomenal for the Marvel machine with countless movies and television series. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” serves as the cherry on top. Not only am I confident enough to say this is the best Marvel movie of the year—and not only is it the best MCU Spider-Man film—but it is, hands down, the best Spider-Man movie of all time—third only to “Into The Spider-Verse” and “Spider-Man 2.”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” essentially gives everything you’d expect and love from a Marvel movie. To quote movie reviewer Bob “Movie-Bob” Chipman: “The new Marvel movie is a totally rock-solid front-to-back action blockbuster, the humor lands, the fight scenes are terrific, basically the only studio that still knows how to do plot structure in a big movie anymore, there’s great looking effects work, huge mind-blowing twists in act 2 and 3, etc., etc.”
Like Spider-Verse, this movie is a true love letter to the Spider-Man franchise. As a crossover between various Spider-Man movies, it offers everything you’d come to expect from such an ambitious crossover. While watching Tom Holland fight established villains like Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin is exhilarating, perhaps the most entertaining moments come from seeing multiple characters in the same room together and having their personalities bounce off of one another through casual banter. And, yes, many Spider-Man characters make an apperance in this movie, even those not advertised in the trailers. (No spoilers, but if you’ve heard rumors about certain cameo appearances, this movie, more or less, pleasantly answers those rumors.)
Outside of providing mere fan service, this movie encapsulates the overall spirit of Spider-Man. The franchise’s main theme is personal responsibility. Many events within most Spider-Man stories are either a direct or indirect result of Spider-Man’s actions or lack thereof. For example, in his origin, Spider-Man allows a criminal to run free, only for that criminal to kill his Uncle Ben, who, in his dying words, imparts to Peter those immortal words: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
This theme serves as the crux of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The movie begins with Peter facing the consequences of his actions in the last movie, and this movie’s impetus starts with his attempt to undo the damage caused by those actions. The rest of the movie, consequently, involves him having to overcome the other villains, all of whose backstories and fates were a direct or indirect result of their respective Spider-Man. Again, no spoilers, but while most other superhero movies involve the hero defeating the villian, Spider-Man in this movie attempts an alternate approach towards addressing the bad guys.
In short, if you love Marvel, you’ll love this movie. If you love Spider-Man, you’ll especially love this movie. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will certainly become recognized as the best Spider-Man movie ever alongside “Into The Spider-Verse” and the original Rami movies. Go see it in theaters, but be sure to do it safely!