Having his identity revealed by Mysterio, Peter Parker/Spider-Man seeks the help of Doctor Strange in an attempt to revert his life back to what it was before. The outcome is not exactly ideal. New dangers and problems knowingly caused by Peter himself threaten those close to him, and forces our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to discover the necessary sacrifices he must make as a superhero.
Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third installment in Jon Watts’ ‘Home’ trilogy, has been the most anticipated film of 2021 for many, and has done pretty well for itself over its opening weekend. It net $253 million at the box office (third highest of all-time behind only Endgame and Infinity War), has a 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is currently sitting within the IMDb top 10.
Yeah, it’s doing okay.
But — and I know this seems like a ridiculous question after throwing out numbers like those — does Spider-Man: No Way Home live up to the hype? Well, yeah… it does a pretty good job in that aspect.
First off, it’s pretty evident this is a movie for the fans and only the fans. If you like Spider-Man in general, you’re going to have a blast with this one, and it’s especially a treat to see characters like Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin on the big screen once more. And while it’s great just to see these villains again after so long, I can’t help but feel they’ve been cropped to fit within a very MCU-sized hole in this story. Sandman, Lizard, and, to a noticeable extent, Electro, really have little actual development and are mostly there just so giddy fans of previous films can point to the screen and yell ‘LOOK!’
Something I really appreciated about this film, though, is how Tom Holland’s Peter Parker grows both as himself and as Spider-Man throughout. In his previous two films, it felt like his character was living in the shadow of, not just Tony Stark, but really the whole MCU, a lot. Here, the narrative feels first and foremost like a Spider-Man film, not an MCU film that happens to star Spider-Man. That change allows our hero to grow as a person and learn what it really means to wear the mask.
Another point worth noting regarding Peter’s growth is that, in the two prior installments once the credits roll, he remains relatively unscathed by everything. This, on the other hand, has Peter suffer a bit. It allows for him to learn the sacrifice that comes with being a superhero, and leaves us with a truly bittersweet ending in turn. Tom Holland handles this character growth with flying colours, delivering a familiar but ultimately emotionally-charged performance.
Despite some flaws that are hard to ignore, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a really great film. Is it a top-10 movie of all time? No, but it’s not out-of-line to say it’s one of the better superhero movies. If you like the genre, you’ll love this film.
Overall rating: 8/10