“Spider-Man No Way Home” movie review


This review has heavy spoilers of the movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want any spoilers, then turn away.

The long-awaited and highly anticipated movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (NWH) was released on Dec. 17, 2021, and it exceeded our highest expectations. Just 966 days earlier, “Avengers: Endgame” came out and beat every box office record. A pandemic hit and delayed every Marvel movie for at least a year. Thankfully, Marvel fans were gifted with nine new projects, television, and movies alike. For the first time in two years, the Spider-Man movie broke box office records gaining more than 2 billion dollars at the global box office. It is now in the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. For months before the release, fans theorized the craziest ideas for the movie, and some weren’t too far off.

The movie picks up right where “Far From Home” left off with J. Jonah Jameson notifying the world that Spider-Man had allegedly killed the supervillain, Mysterio, as well as revealing Spider-Man’s secret identity as high schooler Peter Parker. The world believes Mysterio to be a hero and riots against Peter. Peter and his aunt hide out in a hidden location to stay safe from the paparazzi. When arriving at school on his first day back, he and his friends are verbally and physically harassed. To top it all off, Peter and his friends MJ and Ned get rejected from their dream college, M.I.T.

Peter goes to sorcerer Dr. Strange to ask him for a huge favor. Surprisingly, Strange agrees and starts a complex spell to erase the fact that Peter Parker is Spider-Man from the world’s memories. Peter then starts to second guess his decisions and tries to alter the spell. After creating too many ripples, the spell fails and Peter unknowingly creates a giant rip in the Multiverse letting anyone throughout the multiverse who at one point knew Spider-Man’s identity arrives on his earth.

I’ve heard people say that this movie was the best superhero movie to come out in the past two years, and I don’t think I agree with that. The movie was good but it relied too heavily on prior movies. I’m still not quite sure how it fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially since it erases so much of its history, but the scenes were great. I do feel like it was a bit lazy at times. The “curing” of the villains was way too easy for Parker to solve, and the scene at Happy’s apartment with all the villains was boring considering how much action there was. It was simply predictable. The movie certainly wasn’t comedy gold. The jokes felt forced, but Andrew Garfield was definitely the funniest part. He was especially funny because his jokes were just throw-away lines and there wasn’t any pause for laughter. The ongoing joke of calling Dr. Strange “sir” was tiring and overdone. Like Peter with the spell, it was messed with too many times.

Another issue? The overdramatization. When Doc Ock says that the green elf on the bridge “couldn’t be Osborn because he was dead,” it was so unnecessarily dramatic. The camera zoom in as if it’s a big realization, even when later in the movie we have Norman Osborn alive and well. If there was a big plot twist and maybe the Green Goblin was Harry Osborn instead, maybe that would have made more sense considering none of the characters knew that Harry took up the mantle after his father died. No one even mentioned the fact that Octavius himself was supposed to be dead as well until later in the film. Anyone who’d seen the earlier films knew that these characters had died and were waiting for an explanation. There was no payoff for this big realization that Osborn was alive. It was just, “okay, we got him. Mission complete.”

On the topic of old villains, I do think they got most of them down. I especially liked that we got to see both sides of Doc Ock, which was one of the most compelling things about his character. The Lizard was given the right amount of screen time. They referenced his character and his journey well enough to add to the story. My problem was that he wasn’t as evil as he was at the end of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” considering that movie ended with him going absolutely mad. Sandman was confusing because at the beginning he wanted to help but later was one of the most brutal villains. Electro was my biggest problem. He was thoroughly one-dimensional and completely different from his character in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (TASM2). Whereas in that movie he was just someone craving attention, they made him a lot “cooler” in NWH. He was a little nerd in TASM2 but in NWH the only similarities were his backstory. He was also a boring character and it felt like he was there just for you to roll your eyes at.

My least favorite scene was when everyone was at Happy Hogan’s apartment. At first, everyone just goes along willingly, and then suddenly they rebel. Why does Electro go along with the original plan only to be suddenly swayed by The Goblin’s speech?

Tom Holland showed an amazing acting range in this movie. He got every crying scene perfect and it didn’t feel forced, unlike Uncle Ben’s death in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin was just as amazing as 20 years ago. You could feel the pain and his fear as he unknowingly hurt someone, as well as being terrifying to the audience and characters alike. Tobey Maguire was a lot less creepy as an old man and I enjoyed seeing his character all grown up, especially when he converses with Otto Octavius. Garfield is my favorite. I sincerely hope he gets a belated third movie. He just cared so deeply because he had been all alone for so long. Something I noticed was that Garfield comes through the portal first as Spider-Man and says he doesn’t have time for Peter Parker, while Maguire is the exact opposite. An interesting directive choice? I think so.

The ending was gut-wrenching and left you torn in pieces. I’m a little confused about how and why Peter changed his mind. The whole reason he didn’t want to send anyone back was that he would be leading the villains to their death, but suddenly after he cures them, all he wants is to send them back? Another thought I still am pondering is if Dr. Strange made a spell that erases Peter Parker from everyone’s memory, how would that affect the other Peter Parkers across the universe? We know that the spell is accounted for in other multiverses because that’s why all these people are in his world in the first place.

Though I talked plenty about the aspects of NWH I didn’t like, I actually loved this movie as a whole. This movie that I loved so deeply with all these beloved characters together was all I had asked for this movie. I saw it opening night and the audience was the best I had experienced, cheering for every character. Thank you to the team of people who worked so hard on Spider-Man. Stan Lee, rest in peace, would be proud.

Quick Spider-Man Guide:

Tobey Maguire Spider-Man:
Spider-Man (2002) Green Goblin- Willem Dafoe
Spider-Man 2 (2004) Doc Ock- Alfred Molina
Spider-Man 3 (2007) Sandman- Thomas Haden Church

Andrew Garfield Spidean:
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Lizard- Rhys Ifans
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Electro- Jamie Foxx