Spider-Man: No Way Home – Review

I had the absolute pleasure of viewing the new Spider-Man film in cinemas this week, and like all good reviews I was never planning on making a post about it – but it blew my mind so much that I knew I just had to talk about it.

I’m sure there’s a certain recency bias involved, and going to see it in a packed cinema definitely helped, but as of now I would say it just ekes out Spider-Man 2 as being the best web-slinger flick we have. It isn’t perfect (I’ll get into that), but it’s pretty sensational.

Before we get to the review, you can check out some of my other blog posts review, including a ranking of all MCU films up to phase 3:

For the sake of this review, I’m going to split my thoughts up into two sections – one for non-spoilers and one where I can speak freely (it should be nice and clear when you see the headings).

Non-Spoilers

I’ll get the obvious out of the way – this movie kicks ass. It boasts all of the incredible set-pieces and action scenes that you would expect, and each one packs a real punch.

The thing that surprised me most, however, had to be the emotional core of the film – Tom Holland and the supporting cast put in some truly heartfelt performances, and certain story beats within the plot almost got the tears flowing.

What I will say, however, is that I think they rushed the setup a little bit (or at least didn’t give it too much thought). I understand how excited they must have been to get to the good bit of the story, but it still needs a proper setup to have the ultimate payoff, and in the end I feel the screenwriters just skipped over the nitty gritty to get to the parts that they knew would get the audience in the seats.

Also, one of the whole drawing points of this film was the “Spider-Man Unmasked” aspect, and I was left a little disappointed by it. There are some fun interactions here and there, but it doesn’t take long at all for Peter to go to Doctor Strange for help and sweep that problem under the rug.

My final gripe is a problem I have with every MCU film – the humour. Granted, it wasn’t as egregiously bad in this as it has been in other films in the franchise, but there were definitely a fair few jokes that left me cringing (there’s a scene in the trailer where Pete and the gang meet Doc Ock, and it plays out just as cheesily in the trailer as it does in the film).

Spoilers

More so than possibly any other film released over the past few years, I would highly recommend not reading this portion of the review until you’ve experienced all the twists and turns of the film for yourself.

As you may have surmised from the trailers, pretty much all of the classic Spider-Man villains make their return, and they’re all played by their original actors. It was especially great to see Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina reprise their roles as Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus respectively, but I felt Green Goblin had a much more intimidating presence than Doc Ock. I think out of all the returning characters, Doc Ock got done a little dirty – if it wasn’t for the brief battle with Peter near the start, he would’ve had literally nothing to do.

What you may not have guessed, though, is that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield also reprised their roles. My cinema audience went wild when they came on screen, and that’s a cinematic experience I’ll never forget. Their interactions with each other and the returning villains were all I could ever ask for, and their appearances alone took this film up several notches. Garfield in particular stole the scene in all of his moments, and I’m left wondering that if they hadn’t made their triumphant return this film would have been quite underwhelming.

Both Tom Holland and Andrew Garfield had some brilliant moments of vulnerability, and the scene were Aunt May unfortunately passes away was one of the most emotional scenes in the entire MCU. This also feeds back into my previous point about their interactions, as when the alternate universe Peters are trying to comfort a grieving Tom Holland you know exactly what they’ve been through – having so many returning characters with well-defined backstories that we’ve seen for ourselves certainly plays into this movie’s strengths.

My main gripe with the plot was the opening act, as a lot of it fell flat for me. Peter was unmasked for about 10 minutes tops, and he barely has any meaningful interactions other than possibly the brief Daredevil cameo. The actual setup to the multiverse was paper thin as well, as Peter acts extremely childish trying to distract Doctor Strange – who in turn acts quite out of character by agreeing to this highly experimental and dangerous spell without so much as a few questions or a second thought.

Verdict

While not perfect by any means, “No Way Home” was exactly what I was hoping for in my cinema experience, and then some. Returning characters will be enough fan service for any Spidey fan, and if that’s not enough then the multitude of glorious fight scenes will surely get you on board.

SCORE: 8.5/10

PROSCONS
+ Amazing visuals and fights– Setup felt a bit rushed
+ An insane final act– Some humour doesn’t land for me
+ Some surprisingly heartfelt moments

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