(Any story points mentioned in this review have already been shown in the trailers for No Way Home).
No Way Home is the culmination of the Tom Holland trilogy and picks up right where Far From Home left off. With Peter Parker (Tom Holland) dealing with the consequences of his secret being revealed to the world and those around him split on whether the superhero is a menace or just a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
In an effort to cope with the onslaught that he, Ned (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya), and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) are put through, Peter seeks out the help of Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). When the Sorcerer’s spell to make everyone forget Spider-Man’s true identity goes awry, denizens from across multiple dimensions start arriving, all with a penchant for killing Peter. As you can imagine, it falls upon our favourite web-slinger to make things right again and send the visitors back to where they belong.
So that’s the story in a nutshell and after getting home from my viewing of the film the only word running through my head is WOW.
While I had high hopes for Spidey’s third film in the MCU, I really wasn’t prepared for the emotions it put me through. Though films like Infinity War and Endgame did put audiences through the wringer, this is the first time a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie made me tear up. Finding a balance between well-crafted humour and truly poignant moments, No Way Home will have you laughing one minute while close to bawling the next. It may be the high of having just seen the movie, but it really feels like one of the best films of the MCU to date, and dare I say it, the best Spider-Man movie so far.
As expected, the returning cast of Holland, Zendaya and Batalon are as excellent as ever displaying the same chemistry that had us rooting for the kids since Spider-Man: Homecoming. And Maria Tomei as Aunt May excels once again as the guiding star to Peter Parker. But the real kicker is seeing actors like Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe embody once again the characters they helped make iconic. Though numerous years have passed, the actors slip back into their roles easily and you’d think that it was only yesterday they were battling Peter Parker in their respective movies.
In fact, with all the villains it feels like No Way Home took the best bits of what made the rogue’s gallery work, giving us versions that in some cases are superior to their original incarnations.
Cumberbatch appears in more of a supporting role in this film and is akin to an irate father having to deal with misbehaving kids. It’s great seeing him act so curmudgeonly but he does get to show off his wizardly powers in the movie’s action set-pieces.
For a movie that is two and a half hours long with a huge cast, there is never a moment in the movie that feels bloated, unwieldly, or dragging. Every minute pushes the narrative forward and organically builds the momentum from one scene to the next. The relationship of the characters that have been built over the three movies is beautifully developed and director Jon Watts is not above using our connection with the characters to toy with our feelings.
Usually, I talk about the quality of the visual effects in these reviews, but I honestly so caught up with everything that was going on, that I didn’t really register much of the CGI in the film. But I guess that probably tells you that there was nothing jarring in terms of their quality, or rather nothing that would take you out of the film (aside from that weird de-aging we see in Doc Ock that was shown in the trailers).
And of course, I have to mention Michael Giacchino‘s score. I have always been a fan of his Spider-Man theme but the way the score ratchets up the emotional intensity is incredible. Just like it’s hard to imagine Star Wars working with the John Williams’ score, I don’t think No Way Home would have been anywhere near as effective if it wasn’t for Giacchino’s musical brilliance in the background.
I don’t really want to divulge any more as any spoilers will ruin the excitement of the film. If you do want to get the most out of it, it may pay to watch recaps of the Raimi Spider-Man movies as well as the Amazing Spider-Man films to reacquaint yourselves with the villains’ backstories, but it is not a must.
No Way Home is a splendid cap to the MCU Spider-Man trilogy and leaves the door open to future instalments. As said earlier I think this has shot up to be my favourite film in the MCU and I really hope you go watch it. I give Spider-Man: No Way Home a 9.5 out of 10.
Oh and No Way Home has two end credit scenes. One is in the middle of the credits and the other right at the end.