Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home is the ultimate Spider-Man movie

Spider-Man from Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.
Spider-Man from Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME. /

Spider-Man: No Way Home is a cinematic marvel that dares to defy the highest of expectations – and exceeds all of them. 

Well here we are. Months and months of anticipation has led us to this moment, and now we are here, ready for the extravaganza known as Spider-Man: No Way Home.

As the world prepares to watch the heavily-discussed 27th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, anticipation is higher than ever but not even that will compare to the hopes of those going into a film with expectations far beyond what any movie should hope to achieve. When you look at it like that, No Way Home is doomed to fail… but only if it can’t deliver a story worth all of that anticipation.

We’re not here to tell you if the film will meet all your personal expectations, but what I can tell you is whether it’s worthy of the year-long hype surrounding it.

The answer: A big multiverse-spanning yes.

Spider-Man in the multiverse of madness

There’s a pretty good chance you know the premise of Spider-Man: No Way Home, but if you have somehow managed to avoid its trailers, we can give you a bit of a hand.

Its central story? Peter Parker is desperate to reverse the damage that Mysterio did to his life when he revealed to the world that the heroic high school student was Spider-Man. And for his own friends and family’s sake, he turns to Doctor Strange to undo said damage with a spell.

The problem is that the chaotic duo end up making things so much worse by botching the spell and bringing in great threats from other dimensions. Enter a host of different villains from previous Spider-Man movies (the non-MCU ones), ensuring that fans are in for a nostalgic treat.

And that’s really Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s unique selling point. Oh, there is a lot to love about this movie and a lot is happening going into it, but it would be ridiculous to overlook the sheer scale of which the nostalgic returns and potential cameos have been driving home the movie’s inevitable success before it was even released in theaters.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the ultimate Spider-Man movie

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MJ (Zendaya) prepares to freefall with Spider-man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME. /

But the fanservice is only partly responsible for why the film ultimately succeeds, because its story is the finished product’s true selling point. Never before has a Spider-Man story possessed the kind of stakes that No Way Home does, and that remains present throughout, underpinning every decision made by Peter along the way. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, carrying just as much emotional weight as it does light-hearted and comedic moments, ensuring audiences get a well-balanced tale.

And when the nostalgia comes, it’s beautiful, helping the already-well-structured piece evolve into something truly once-in-a-lifetime.

Are some of the overly ambitious action sequences a little overbloated and hard to follow? Perhaps, but Marvel movies somehow manage to take the somewhat messy and turn in into a solid plot point, allowing it to lend to the story as even Tom Holland’s webslinger realizes that, this time, he just might be in way over his head.

Speaking of Tom Holland, the star delivers his best performance as the webslinger yet, proving that he absolutely deserves to be among the frontrunners for the leader of the MCU’s newest phase. The returning supporting cast is as energetic and lively as ever, once again imbuing a film that deals with a lot of heavy stuff with that youthful charm that has made the Homecoming trilogy such a joy.

What sets No Way Home apart, however, is its overall maturity. Popular as the trilogy is, not everyone was sold on the MCU’s iteration of Spider-Man, preferring the more comic-accurate Peter Parker we saw in the previous films. But it’s all been a journey leading to this moment, and just as the title character evolves from a rookie high school student using his gifts to protect the neighborhood to Avenger saving the world in space, the trilogy has been evolving along the way. No Way Home is this Peter Parker’s graduation ceremony, allowing the film to take the franchise to new heights.

As someone who has always wanted that little bit more from the MCU’s Spider-Man movies, this was everything. This is everything. A love letter to Spider-Man himself, and all the fans who constantly shared their love for the character, his universe and everything that comes with it, Spider-Man: No Way Home is one of the best Marvel movies ever made. And it is, without question, the ultimate Spider-Man movie.  

Grade: A+

Spider-Man: No Way Home is released in US theaters on December 17, 2021.

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Will you be seeing Spider-Man: No Way Home? Let us know in the comments below!