This review will be full of unmarked spoilers. Just…so you know. 😉
The greatest superhero crossover event since Avengers: Endgame, No Way Home concluded the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy with tons of fan-service and an emotional wallop (the two sometimes went hand in hand). I thought No Way Home was an excellent final installment to the trilogy; I’ve listed my favorite things about the film below!
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man
Although Andrew Garfield is my favorite Spider-Man (and we’ll get to him in this post, never fear), Tom Holland’s take on the character is an incredibly close second. We have followed Tom’s Peter from his introduction in Captain America: Civil War to that terrible Snap in Avengers: Infinity War and now finally find him grappling with the fact that everyone knows Spider-Man’s true identity. (Thanks to that creep Mysterio. *glares*)
“Come on. Wong. Hasn’t he been through enough?”
In answer to Doctor Strange’s question, I would give a resounding (and tearful) “YES.” MCU Peter has been through the wringer and then some. Tom Holland has played the character to perfection through all those ups and downs. He had a lot of emotional scenes and character beats to work with in No Way Home—everything from May’s death to Peter becoming friends with alternate versions of himself to having Ned and MJ forget who Peter Parker was. And yeah, like I said…perfection. Thanks to Tom Holland, you really feel Peter’s pain, heartbreak, enthusiasm, joy, love—all of it. You can’t help but want the absolute best for Peter Parker. </3
All the multiverse craziness
Full disclosure—when I watched No Way Home, I had only seen Spider-Man 2 and 3, of the Tobey Maguire films. And that was only once, quite a while ago. I feel that No Way Home could have had even more impact for me if I was more familiar with Tobey’s films. That being said, I still LOVED getting all those villains in one movie and seeing both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield team up with Tom Holland.
Especially Andrew Garfield. Because, like I said, he’s my fave. Which brings me to…
Literally worth watching the whole movie, just for this scene.
Michael Giacchino’s Score
Listening to it as I write this post and it is everything. Giacchino is my favorite film composer in general and he did such a good job with No Way Home. Here’s a ten minute soundtrack suite if you want to check it out!
The weight of responsibility and choices and all that grown-up stuff
We finally got the ‘great power/great responsibility’ line in an MCU movie. And the placement of it in this movie specifically was excellently timed. MCU Peter Parker has access to more power than any other iteration of Spider-Man that has come before him (in the movies, that is—I don’t know about the comics). Not only does MCU Peter have Stark tech, he also has a powerful wizard friend who can cast spells that wipe people’s memories, break open the multiverse, and who knows what else. Because of all that, Peter ends up pulling people—super-villains—out of their respective universes and into his own.
At first, I didn’t understand why it was Peter’s responsibility to cure the villains. I still think that there is some weak writing in that aspect of the plot: some of the villains might have genuinely had their minds changed by chips and serums and all that (like Doc Ock), but some of them were jerks—and a little bit of tech isn’t going to change that. (Looking at you, Electro.)
But you know what…whatever. I can handle some flaws for the sake of the overall plot (especially if I love the characters—and I do). And I understand better now why it was up to Peter to help the villains. By pulling them into his universe, however inadvertently, he became their nemesis as well. He had the power to cure them, thanks to Tony’s technology, and so he had the responsibility to try.
We’ve seen the ‘hero curing the villain’ plotline before (hello, The Amazing Spider-Man), but I don’t think it has ever been done on such a grand scale. The compassion shown for the villains by Peter, Peter, and Peter (XD) is such a rare and wonderful thing. Redemption for everyone—not just the villains, but the heroes as well. Grace upon grace. Truly beautiful.
My oldest brothers deride Marvel movies, claiming that each movie is the same as all the others—the good guys always defeat the bad guys. I find that so annoying because 1) it’s untrue (Infinity War, anyone?), 2) good triumphing over evil is, like, the most common plotline ever, and 3) just because good wins out over evil doesn’t mean that there aren’t other consequences. And that is certainly the case in No Way Home.
Doctor Strange mind-wipes everyone on the planet so that they forget Peter Parker. What’s more, he does this unwillingly, at Peter’s insistent request. The same Peter who, days before, ruined a spell because he couldn’t stand the thought of having to admit all over again to May that he was Spider-Man. The same Peter who, now changed forever by the events of those few days, sacrifices his identity and his relationships with those he most loves so that the world can be saved.
I admit I was expecting there to be some quick fix for the memory wipe. That MJ and Ned would, somehow, end up remembering Peter by the very end of the film. But nope. And what’s more—Peter accepts that. He doesn’t go crazy trying to force MJ to recognize him. He accepts the consequences of his actions, takes it on the chin, and continues to shoulder the responsibilities that are his, thanks to his extraordinary powers.
I think we all just saw Peter Parker grow up.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man: No Way Home. Jon Watts stuck the landing. The entire trilogy is probably my favorite MCU trilogy, as the quality stays so consistent throughout. And…it’s Spider-Man! Far From Home is still my favorite of the three, but No Way Home was so good that I watched it three times in less than forty-eight hours. (It was a weekend, I have a bunch of family members who wanted to see it, and the rental period was very short. XD) And I’d still watch it again tomorrow, if I could. So there’s that.
Have you seen No Way Home? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!