Spider-Man: No Way Home – 10/10
*MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW*
One of the most anticipated movies of all time finally released in cinemas this week and boy was it worth the wait.
The Tom Holland Spider-Man movies have been major highlights of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last few years with Spider-Man: Homecoming being released in 2017 and Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. Both movies introduced a new generation of fans by creating a more youthful hero whilst also still remaining true to the character’s roots.
We see Spider-Man still learning what the main responsibilities of a true superhero are in these movies with the likes of Tony Stark and Nick Fury guiding him along the way. Holland’s Peter Parker is very different to his predecessors in that he is just a kid trying battle gigantic threats using his small neighbourhood mentality.
Despite both his previous movies delivering on all aspects, No Way Home was setting up to be even bigger and promised to be nothing like we had ever seen before.
It wasn’t hyped as a thrilling conclusion to a saga like Avengers Endgame, it was being built as a movie 20 years in the making spanning across three generations of Spider-Man and what better way to reach that nostalgia factor than by bringing back some of the franchise’s most infamous villians.
Yes the third Holland Spidey movie would see the return of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock, Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx as Electro, Rhys Ifans as The Lizard and Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko aka Sandman.
Factor in Benedict Cumberbatch returning as Bleecker Street’s very own Doctor Strange and what we have is the perfect recipe for a multiverse thrill ride.
All that was missing was Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, right? Well fill up your web shooters as No Way Home gives us a finale that uses an idea fans have fantasied about and turns it into one of the most well executed comic book movies of all time.
Let’s start with the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. We last seen Peter Parker have his whole world turned upside down in the post-credit scene of Far From Home when Quentin Beck aka Mysterio revealed his true identity to the world. Our latest instalment picks up exactly where we left off with the whole world finding out that Peter is Spider-Man. Not only that but he is now being charged by damage control and his aunt May (Marisa Tomai), his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) are all brought in for interrogation. The charges against Peter are dropped thanks to the work from his lawyer, none other than Hell Kitchen’s own Matt Murdock! Yes Charlie Cox returns to makes a very small cameo and despite the very short time we see him, it’s all we needed and it was perfect. We get a nice little joke as to how his reflexes are so good after he quickly catches a brick that is thrown through the window from Mysterio sympathisers. Hopefully this subtle scene can spark another season of Daredevil, which is hands down the best Netflix show Marvel have produced and one that can easily be resurrected.
Despite Peter now being in the clear, the investigation into him and his friends lives have lasting issues as their dreams of going to MIT are shattered with their applications all being rejected. Peter then seeks the help from fellow Avenger Doctor Strange and asks if he can cast a spell that would make the world forget he is Spider-Man thus potentially allowing him to get his life back on track. However, the spell is tampered with after Peter’s constant interruptions and eventually doesn’t work with the sorcerer containing the damaged spell in a lovely little gift box. Strange asks Peter if he had appealed the MIT decision to refuse their applications before asking for his help and to be honest, this could have really impacted the result of the entire movie. I mean why would he not just try and appeal a decision like that? Regardless if everyone knows he’s Spider-Man surely a distinguished university like MIT has a respected appeals system?
Anyway, Peter then attempts to convince an MIT administrator to change the decision by stalking her on a bridge and coming up to her in a traffic jam whilst she’s on her way to the airport. I mean it’s some sort of an appeal I guess…
His plea is cut short however by the sudden appearance of Otto Octavius who questions Peter in reference to the events of Spider-Man 2 (2004). Still believing this is the Peter Parker he knows, Doc Ock then has a small fight on the bridge with Spider-Man who eventually overrides Ock’s tentacles when the Iron Spider suit’s nano tech merges with the arms allowing Peter to take full control. Lets talk about Alfred Molina here and how great he looks. the de-aging CGI is so well done in this movie and he looks the exact same he did back in 2004. You immediately remember his motives, what has brought him to this point and get a feel for his character again.
The balance of the movie’s villains is one of the major plus points considering it’s been one of the franchise’s weaknesses trying to introduce a cluster full of villains (I’m looking at you TASM2!). However, although Spider-Man goes up against five of his rogue gallery here you don’t feel at any point that it’s overloaded with too many for the sake of it. Each villain gets their own moments to shine and they all have meaningful reasons that serve the plot.
Doctor Strange brings both Petter and Otto back to the Sanctum Sanctorum where he reveals that the spell worked in a different way in that it brought others from parts of the multiverse who knew Spider-Man’s real identity. Strange has already captured Curt Connors aka the Lizard and instructs Peter that he must find the remaining ones before they send them back.
We get another (yes another) new Tom Holland Spider-Man suit as he goes onto capture both Electro and Sandman, bringing them back to the Sanctum to wait with the others. Whilst this is going on, Norman Osborn seemingly gets rid of the Goblin persona and makes his way to a a F.E.A.S.T. building where he gets help from Aunt May. Willem Dafoe is still amazing as the Green Goblin, the way he believes the innocent and helpless Norman persona is so chilling as you know he has something up his sleeve. In this case it’s his power of convincing as he convinces the other villains to turn on Peter after he plans on helping them return to their own world with a second chance. That is after Doctor Strange reveals that the all have to return to their own worlds to meet their death despite Peter’s fight against him not to do that.
Like with anything Doctor Strange related we get some nice and trippy visuals as they both fight in the mirror dimension for a short period before Peter gets the better off him using mathematics, yes that is correct.
The Green Goblin is as menacing as ever, even without his trademark mask, he has a rather brutal fight with Peter that results in the death of Aunt May who dies in Peter’s arms after being struck by the Goblin’s glider. It’s at this moment here the tone of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man changes and in a very emotional scene we see him being forced to change from a playful teenager from Queen’s to a young man filled with rage. This is the turning point of the movie and the performance from Holland here is where he is at his best. We get to see him lose someone he cares so much for, we see him grief and we see his whole world crumble down on him as he’s left with no one to help him.
That is until Ned realises he can open portals after being given Doctor Strange’s sling ring by Peter and he opens a portal that allows Peter Parker to walk through.
Only it’s not Tom Holland it’s Andrew Garfield from the Amazing Spider-Man universe!
As I said this movie channels that inner nostalgia factor and for me Garfield was a perfect Spider-Man in weaker movies so seeing him return was such a joy to behold. I remember seeing The Amazing Spider-Man when it came out and wanting to model myself after his Peter Parker, he made Spider-Man look cool and and nerdy at the same time which really inspired me when I was younger. He has quite a funny interaction with Ned and MJ who make him prove that he is Spider-Man by crawling on the walls and cleaning up a cobweb for Ned’s grandmother.
Determined to find their own Peter, Ned opens a portal to “show Peter Parker” and out walks the greatest of all time Tobey Maguire from the Sam Raimi Spiderverse.
At this point I felt like a kid again, I grew up with the Sam Raimi movies and everything was all falling back into place. Both of their introductions found the right balance of emotion and humour, the two Peter’s have a web off before Tobey says that he has sensed Tom’s Parker was in trouble and that he needed their help.
MJ and Ned go and find Peter who is still torn at the loss of Aunt May and in a very affecting display the three versions of Spider-Man give us the best scene of the movie. Both Peter’s share their understanding of one another and open up that they have all lost people close to them that has fuelled their fight to do the right thing. It’s such a remarkable scene and the sheer emotion from Holland, Garfield and Maguire helps to make it such a remarkable moment, not only for a comic book movie but for film in general. They all shed a few tears as the multiverse versions of Peter help him understand that they know what he is going through.
It’s made more moving thanks to the beautiful music from Michael Giacchino who knocks it out the park again with another fantastic score. He blends previous Spider-Man themes with current to create classic yet contemporary pieces of music that enhances the whole movie. He really is one of the best composers in the world right now.
My only issue is that they deprived us of an additional Peter Parker because if a fourth made an appearance then they could have done their own version of the Four Peters. Isn’t that we all really want?
Nevertheless, the three Peters create cures for their foes and lure them to the Statue of Liberty which now has a large Captain America shield on it. I’m all for giving the first Avenger a fitting tribute but from the Rogers musical in Hawkeye and now the Liberty monument, it’s almost like he was the only hero that fought Thanos. There are more Avengers that deserve some of the love too.
The interactions between each Spider-Man keeps getting better and better the more they bond, there’s quite a few callbacks to previous movies and they joke with each other about their web shooting. Both Tom and Andrew seem disheartened that they can’t shoot webs organically but I mean take that up with James Cameron guys, after all that was the only element of his cancelled Spider-Man that remained in the Raimi movies.
We get a nice little moment between Tobey and Andrew after they all discuss the highlights of their web swinging careers and Andrew, feeling like a boring friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, is gently reminded by Tobey that he is in fact “amazing”. A cool exchange between the two OG’s.
Now codenamed “Peter One” (Holland), “Peter Two” (Maguire) and “Peter Three” they successfully manage to contain all of the villains with the help of Doc Ock who turns up again to stop Electro. The Green Goblin however arrives just in time to destroy the boxed up spell literally destroying the barrier separating all of the universes. Whilst Strange attempts to fix it, Peter goes onto have another fight with the Goblin, this time beating him to near death until Tobey intervenes and is stabbed by the Goblin giving the other Peter’s the chance to cure Norman Osborn and rid him of the dreaded Goblin persona. I had to get that last part explained to me as my nephew decided at that crucial part that he needed the toilet so I had to literally sprint there and back in time not to miss anything.
I suppose they were ballsy enough to kill off Aunt May so when Tobey gets stabbed he just shrugs it off for a gag which I mean is fine but why not make it mean something more? It’s nothing major but if it isn’t going to impact anything then why have it in the first place? It resembles Thanos stabbing Tony Stark in Infinity War, what does that really do to further the plot?
With the multiverses spiralling out of control Peter realises the only way for this all to be restored is if Strange erases Peter Parker from everyone’s memory and he does so. He gives an emotional farewell to MJ and Ned and promises to find them and make them try remember him when everything is over. Each villain and both Spider-Men return to their own universe and the world memory of Peter Parker is wiped.
We get a glimpse of a world without knowledge of Peter Parker as he goes to reintroduce himself to MJ and Ned but struggles to tell them anything and decides against it. Peter then visits Aunt May’s grave and speaks with Happy who is there mourning. They both speak of May and how she inspired people thus inspiring Peter to continue being Spider-Man in a shiny new classic looking suit.
The grave scene really answers quite a lot of questions about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in that there is no Uncle Ben in his universe. The loss of Aunt May was the MCU Peter Parker’s first real death close to home which is why the other Peter’s know how to help him as they had already experienced it with their Uncle Ben’s. Like previous movies it closes the page on another chapter of Peter’s life whilst still poising so many unanswered questions.
Overall, Spider-Man No Way Home not only represents a turning point in the maturity of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, it magnificently unites three generations of movies and provides a fitting conclusion and an exciting new beginning that all comic book fans can be proud of.