The Spider-Man Movie We Needed – Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

Spider-Man: No Way Home: Directed by Jon Watts

SYNOPSIS: Peter Parker is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a superhero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

The most anticipated film to come out since Avengers: Endgame. The potential was there with rumors flying rampant and trailers that promised us the classic villains of the past. It is safe to say that this was not just one of my most anticipated films of the year, but one of the most anticipated for everyone. Ticket sales rocketed, theaters were sold out and the box office soared to record heights. So safe to say, I was extremely excited to join those wild crowds and see this cinematic experience.

This film is incredible. The most mature of all of the Spider-Man films in the MCU and it all comes down to the writing. The common complaint around the first two films was the fact that Peter always had someone or something to fall back on, he never had to figure out anything on his own. This film throws that completely on its head, forcing Peter to work for himself, face the battles given to him and the consequences that may arise from being Spider-Man. This is the true transformation from “spider-boy” to Spider-Man in all of the best ways. 

The performances are fantastic. Tom Holland gives his best performance to date as Peter Parker bringing emotion that we have not seen in this version of Spider-Man. The pressure weighs heavy and emotion, when used is not tacky, but extremely effective. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon are fantastic companions to our Peter Parker that also have brilliantly written moments to themselves. No character feels like a side character, they all get their moments to shine. The villains rock. Willem Defoe was especially fantastic, reprising his role as Green Goblin. The writing continued to shine with the villains, giving each one their specific moment to shine. I also have to give a shoutout to Benedict Cumberbatch who continues to kill it as Doctor Strange.

Jon Watts directs a really fantastic film here. He has found a way to craft such a well thought-out and structured trilogy, culminating in his best MCU outing yet. It is beautifully shot, brilliantly executed in its overall portrayal of themes and ideas and flows really really well. The pacing is phenomenal, making the two hour and 20 minute runtime fly by. All of the technical aspects are great compliments to the film itself. The score is extremely effective, the sound design shines and the visual effects are so spotless. Every single technical aspect is just so so well done.

WARNING: From this point forward I have to give a firm

My god they did it. I had known, like most people in this world, that the original Spider-Men, Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield would be making an appearance in this film, but I was never going to believe it until I physically saw it. Safe to say, when Andrew and then Tobey walked through their portals, it was a moment I won’t soon forget. It could have been tacky, overstuffed and filled with pointless fan service. Instead, it was absolutely perfect. The execution was written with such care that balanced nice fan service with actual substance to the plot to not feel wasted.

The writing of these interactions work so well. The moments that we get between these three men are incredible, heartbreaking and just plain funny at times. Whether it’s Andrew talking about his life after Gwen, watching each Peter create cures for their respective villains or seeing the three swing into action together. It was fan service at its brightest, not its darkest. Andrew and Tobey were fantastic, both bringing back the charm of their characters (especially Andrew) and giving every OG Spider-Man fan one more chance to see their heroes in all of their glory on the big screen. Most importantly, it gives our two original heroes the chance to teach our new hero that actions have consequences, the job will break you down to your bones and that sometimes, you can’t save everyone. 

The death of Aunt May is extremely significant in this film. Not only do we get the famous “with great power, comes great responsibility”, but for the first time, this is a wake up call for Peter and Peter alone. Sure, the death of Tony Stark is tragic and one that shows everyone the true stakes that can happen in the MCU, but for Peter, this one hits deep. This is the emotional turn for our hero, for better and for worse. This is his turn to a true Spider-Man, but also makes him vengeful and out to kill Green Goblin. This is why the entrance of the other Spider-Men was so important. To show Peter the line you cannot cross and help him overcome the emotion of the loss. Just beautiful writing in all.

But the thing that works the most, is the ending. This is the best and brightest thing the writers could have done. To save the world, people need to forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. And that means everyone. MJ, Ned, Dr. Strange, Happy and The Avengers. Everyone. So instead of having everyone at his disposal and all of the backup in the world, Peter Parker stands, alone, with nobody to help him. No one to comfort or aid him. Not by force, but by choice. The sequence where Peter goes to find MJ and Ned after the spell is so telling, because he decides not to interfere. He realizes that his actions have consequences. So he remains alone, off to save the world, by himself.

FINAL: Spider-Man: No Way Home is one of the best films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one of, if not the best Spider-Man films ever made. The writing is flawless, the performances are fantastic and the surprises effective and just so damn good. Bringing in Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield was far from tacky and extremely important to the story at hand. Garfield is specifically great in this film. The death of Aunt May is emotional and impactful and the conversation to follow was just as impactful. The reintroduction of the classic villains was methodical and well meaning while not being too overstuffed. The ending was perfect serving as a brilliant conclusion to this trilogy and a bright look to the future of the beloved character.

Point Breakdown:

15 for Entertainment 14

15 for Performances 15

15 for Writing 15

10 for Direction 10

10 for Emotions 10

10 for Cinematography 10

5 for Sound 5

5 for Score 5

5 for Pacing 4

5 for Rewatchability 5

5 pts Automatic 5

Spider-Man: No Way Home: 98/100
Jack Lautaret is a film critic, Host of the Jack Lautaret YouTube Channel and the Founder of the Finatic Film Review Podcast. He is a member of the Online Film and Television Association. Twitter: @JackLautaret

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