There’s a movie that everyone holds their breath for in anticipation once in a while. You can feel the hype rise as goosebumps start to form, thinking about the trailers. While people warn about not spoiling the movie, it’s taken to a whole new level of enforcement from the online community. Recently, movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame would fit that bill. Spider-Man: No Way Home is by far that type of movie. And thankfully, the anticipation lives up to the hype and then some.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theatres.
Story: A Spider-Man Tale
There have been some comparisons about this movie similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It does make sense as the multiverse is involved, but there’s something that both movies do very right. They tell a story about the main hero using the multiverse and other characters as tools to tell the tale. Into the Spider-Verse wasn’t a movie about all the different heroes, but an origin story for Miles Morales. No Way Home is all about Peter Parker and advancing that character. The other elements just help us guide the story forward.
And for the story we got, this feels most like the comics. Not the previous movies didn’t feel like that, but they use an element that we haven’t seen from Tom Holland’s interpretation. That’s the famous Parker luck. It’s not the problems of a superhero that gets in the way, but the complexities that everyone else faces. Plus, trying to get a handle on his role as Spider-Man makes for a story straight out of the comics. We also get a lot more story beats about the simple yet complexities of Peter’s moral compass.
Characters & Performances: Sinisterly Good Intentions
Tom Holland yet again kills it as Spider-Man. He balances the character’s good intentions and, surprisingly, goes a bit dark with his performance. He takes the character to places you wouldn’t think they would go. Holland really makes you root for Peter, even if some of his choices aren’t the best. There’s just this likable charm that surrounds him like an aura. A fantastic supporting cast surrounds him that all have a moment to shine.
Zendaya returns as MJ as her appearance in this trilogy gets better and better. She’s now Peter’s friend and a love interest that makes for one of the best couples in the MCU. Their chemistry makes you realize what Peter would sacrifice for her. Ned is delightfully played by Jacob Batalon again, and having the decision to give Peter a best friend really does work. Benedict Cumberbatch is in the right amount as Doctor Strange. He has a stronger presence but doesn’t overtake Spider-Man’s movie.
It brings us to our villains who’ll make any fans of the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb movies very happy. In particular, the choice to bring in these “incarnations” is risky, but it works out. Fans are familiar with these villains, while the movie does a good job of introducing them to people who aren’t aware. It does bring up some plot holes of how some of the guys are here. It’ll be too much of a spoiler to explain why that is. However, these are just little blips in this enjoyable ride. Just don’t be surprised when you’re talking about the movie afterwards that you start to notice them.
No actor doesn’t feel like they’re out of place from their long hiatus. Alfred Molina is natural at this version of Doc Ock. In this movie, Jamie Foxx gets to have a little more personality and his own charisma. And if you thought William Dafoe wasn’t as terrifying as Norman Osborn, just you wait. It’s funny that this movie criticized not having the Goblin mask because his facial expressions are absolutely terrifying.
Cinematography & Sound: The Score of a Spider
There are so many beautiful shots and sequences sprinkled throughout. Mauro Fiore’s cinematography does an incredible job of making certain things really beautiful. And it’s not so much in the action, but really reflected in the dramatic scenes. Without going into spoilers, Peter is pretty emotional on top of the building while the rain is pouring. The tight shot of Tom’s face while the rain is streaming down and the glow of the billboards is memorizing. There’s also a new method to show off the Peter Tingle. The camera is locked in on Tom as he walks around and tries to figure out why this sense is going off.
An incredible score from Michael Giacchino balances out these shots. This is the movie that finally makes the MCU Spider-Man theme memorable. You’ve heard the motifs before in the previous two films, but there’s something special here. The music matches the epic Spider-Man moments, which, when you think back on, that score will be present in your head. There are also other motifs added from the villain’s theme. Hearing something for a couple of seconds like Electro’s theme from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an absolute joy.
Editing & Pacing: Wrapping It All Up
There was a concern going in that this movie would be too packed with various plot elements and characters. Thankfully, the pace feels like the right amount of enjoyment. A lot is going on on paper, but it never feels like it. You’ll be surprised at how everything feels smooth and goes at the right speed. Every thread is pulled just when it needs to be and doesn’t panic about introducing new things. The confidence this movie has is pretty epic, but when you have Kevin Fiege on board then it’s not too shocking. While there isn’t a lot of visual risk like in Marvel’s Eternals, they do get a little creative with some of the shots. Some of the reveals and heel turns are teased just enough before they actually come forward.