Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jacob Batalon
Distributed by Sony Pictures
Running time: 148 minutes
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The ending of 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, where our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’s identity was revealed to the world by Mysterio, busted the doors open for an abundance of possibilities for what could happen to Peter Parker in his next outing. Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up quite literally right where Far From Home left off, with Peter scrambling through New York while its citizens are shouting either in support of him or straight-up attacking him. This leads Peter to the Sanctum Sanctorum, where he asks Doctor Strange for help to get the world to forget he’s Spider-Man. Things don’t go quite as planned, and from there, multiversal shenanigans ensue.
Like most people, I was incredibly excited for this film. It feels like the first true event film we’ve gotten as a collective since Avengers: Endgame. As more was revealed about who would be returning and how much the film would lean into the multiverse, it both got me more excited but a tiny bit more cautious – I hoped that the film wouldn’t lose sight on our central, MCU Peter Parker in the midst of all of these returning villains or sacrifice character and story for nostalgia. And while the film will certainly be nostalgic for anyone who grew up with Spider-Man like I did, it isn’t a film that is reliant on it for anything but telling a personal and truly ambitious Spider-Man story.
I won’t name specific names in case you’ve gone this far without knowing which villains are returning exactly – but the film does a great balancing act of making them exciting foils for Peter as well as narratively important to the themes. In fact, this might just have the most personal and interesting story for Peter Parker in the MCU so far. The crux of the film is him having the crushing realization of not being able to have everything he wants and still be Spider-Man despite how hard he tries to balance both of his lives. This is a common theme throughout the entire history of the character throughout various forms of mediums – but No Way Home does a fantastic job at making both an epic yet simultaneously personal story for Peter that truly advances and grows the character in dark, powerful, and important ways.
Tom Holland delivers his absolute best outing as Peter Parker/Spider-Man yet here, working with a seriously impressive script full of nuance and moments of real weight and consequences for Peter to grapple with. His chemistry with Zendaya has truly never been better, and the way he interacts with all the villains is as equally charming as it is poetic at times. This is sure to be a massive success, and I’m happy to say that I think it’ll deliver for all the people who have already bought tickets. The action is absolutely incredible from start to finish (see it in IMAX if you can!), the humor is on point, the characters and cast that play them are the best they’ve ever been, and it is far and away the best MCU Spider-Man movie, as well as the most ambitious live-action Spider-Man film thus far. A true love-letter to the character full of heart, ambition, darkness and a whole lot of fun.