Spider-Man: No Way Home effortlessly combines high-stakes, incredible action sequences, and a darker, emotional core to become the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The following review is spoiler-free.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is third and final film of Marvel’s “Home” trilogy, directly following the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home and continuing the thematic thread of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Returning to the Spidey-suit is Tom Holland in his sixth and best performance as Peter Parker. Also returning is Zendaya as MJ, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, and Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds. Newcomers to the trilogy but by no means new to the Spider-Man world are
Jamie Foxx as Electro, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock, and Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin. Tying it together with his Avengers presence is Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The star-studded cast bring all mix of charm and gravitas to No Way Home in brilliant ways.
Tom Holland’s performance in Spider-Man: No Way Home is his best yet. Gone are the days of Peter Parker in the shadow of Tony Stark and in comes a three-dimensional character who feels more like the classic Spider-Man than ever before. Holland plays Spider-Man so much more effortlessly in this film, allowing him to dig deeper into the character’s psychology. The debate over which Spider-Man is the best will sometimes fall into which generation one grew up with, but Holland makes his best case yet with an emotional, rich, and layered performance. The actor leaves it all on the table with this Spider-Man film, which will impress fans and doubters alike. Holland is the real deal, and he deserve his flowers for this performance. Supporting him, Zendaya continues to shine and MJ and Marisa Tomei delivers her own personal best performance as Aunt May.
Spider-Man: No Way Home brings forth the most ambitious lineup of villains the franchise has seen thus far; all of them. From Spider-Man’s Green Goblin to Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s Electro, Peter Parker is up against foes from a past he does not know, but the audience does well. This creates a constant who’s who of characters on screen, which will definitely excite audiences. Director Jon Watts, returning for his third Spider-Man film, effortless blends each character into the MCU, without losing the villain character traits and core that made them special in their individual films. Even Mysterio, the villain who exposed Spider-Man’s secret to the world in Far From Home continues to reverberate in this entry, which makes the previous film hold significant weight.
It’s not a stretch to say Spider-Man: No Way Home is a fan’s dream come true. Can you make a case the film is heavy on fan-service? Yes. At the same time, it’s a Spider-Man film that pays homage to all theatrical eras of the character. Who can say no to that? Even so, the film does not completely rest its shoulders on the big surprises and multiverse-fun. Spider-Man: No Way Home is one of the darkest Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to date. The action is more brutal than ever before, trading some of the fantastical web-slinging action to more hand-to-hand combat and bloody brawls. Characters feel and inflict pain in a way that the standard MCU movie tends to avoid. This adds another layer to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man that he hasn’t experienced since Avengers: Infinity War.
The visuals of Spider-Man: No Way Home also shine in a way that prior films did not. While some of the gray, cement-like color grading is still present, an ongoing issue for the majority of MCU films. This time however, this issue seems to only lie during the first act of the film. As the film transitions to the Doctor Strange act, a part of the films the trailers heavily featured, the visuals get crisper and the action more fluid. Neither, however, hold a candle to the third act. Without going into spoilers, the final act of Spider-Man: No Way Home is joyful in the best ways, dark in other ways, and overall the most fun the MCU has in years. For many, this third act will stand as the best in the franchises’ history, and they wouldn’t be wrong.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a love letter to the character and his rich theatrical history. The writing is richer, the themes are darker, the stakes are higher, and the cast delivers their best work in the franchise thus far. Simply put, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the best film in the MCU.
★★★★★ – 5/5