Bureau 42 Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home [Spoiler-free]

I did my best to avoid spoilers before seeing this moving, ignoring the barrage of rumors, news articles, and news articles about rumors, even avoiding trailers until one was sprung on me before an unrelated movie.  I am going to keep this review Spoiler-Free, and I ask everyone to do so in the comments as best as you can.  I don’t want anyone afraid to continue reading.

Title: “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers

Cast (abridged):
Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Zendaya as MJ
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
Benedict Wong as Wong
Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson
Marisa Tomei as May Parker


With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man. (From IMDB)

High Point

What were you hoping to see in this movie?  Good news, it’s there.  Just about everything you want is there.

Low Point

I’ve seen everything Marvel has put out since I was in high school.  I’ve read Spider-Man comics since before Tom Holland was born.  I wonder how approachable a movie like this would be to someone who hasn’t had generations of research.  Also, like Tony Stark in the previous Spider-films, the guest stars feel like they steal a bit too much spotlight from Tom Holland.

The Scores:

Originality: 5/6 The story isn’t new, but I think it approaches its handling of the antagonists in a way that we don’t actually see done very often, and certainly not in Super Hero movies.

Effects: 6/6 There are digital effects that I didn’t know were digital effects until someone mentioned it later.  There is nothing less than what you’ve come to expect from an MCU budget.

Acting: 6/6 These characters aren’t new, but there are returning actors who are returning to rolls we’ve haven’t seen them in for a bit.  All of them took to their character, and offered performances better than their previous outings.  One major personality shift happens, and is acted distinctly enough that the audience can catch the change before you even get to see the character from the front.

Emotional Response: 6/6 There were plenty of emotional payoffs, and while some of them seem to be a bit forced, the payoff is still worth it.

Story: 5/6 At the core of Spider-Man, there are some concepts that have to be there or the character won’t work.  They don’t change that core, but there is a shocking change from the comics and from previous iterations of the character in this movie.  Despite that change, the emotional payoff and character’s core is every bit as authentic and powerful.  I would say they got the story right.  With that in mind, there are a few places where the narrative doesn’t make rational sense.  It’s completely acceptable in the name of a fun movie, but I can’t give it full marks for that.  There also seem to be at least one more antagonist than we need, and the character wasn’t given much to do in the story other than “go along with what we need from you.”

Production: 6/6 It is typical big budget production, with big budget quality.  A surprising amount of guest stars are present.  Rumors and lies spread from long before this movie came out, but the cast and crew did a decent job of not putting the twists out as part of the promotional material.1

Overall: 6/6 I can’t really find anything to fault.  Though there is likely plenty of recency bias in this review, I can’t point to much I could expect them to do better.

In total, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” receives 40/42

1 I am looking at you, Thor: Ragnarok and Hulk.

7 replies on “Bureau 42 Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home [Spoiler-free]”

  1. I love that these seems to be a blockbuster that has something for everyone and that everyone loves. See, Hollywood, we knew you could do it!!!

    And twice in one year, counting Dune too!

  2. I agree generally with you, though I would dock them a point on “Story” and one on “Overall” for the silliness of some of the plot elements, but it was a strong MCU movie and it delivered a good time.

    Some other thoughts:



    Best small spoiler bit: Charlie Cox’s cameo as Matt Murdoch/Daredevil. Rumour has it he’ll appear in She-Hulk, though his character might not be in strict continuity with the older series. Don’t see why not. Disney/MCU can use those characters again now.

    Best big spoiler bit: the death of Aunt May was sad, but it gave Peter a “great power/great responsibility” which we’ve never seen with this incarnation. It was more powerful than the source version, because we barely knew Ben in the original comic before he died. This Peter and May had a credible familial relationship.

    High Point: the comradery among our heroes.

    They captured the divisiveness of contemporary America very well without it being more than a background reference and of course there was no crossover with “The Smurfs.”

    I really wish Spidey had passed by J. Jonah’s en route to his new apartment and sprayed his chair with web fluid. That would have been an amusing touch. But having his version hawk vitamin supplements made me laugh.

    How does Peter have an apartment? He doesn’t exist. Still, it’s a nice set-up for the classic Spider-man / Peter’s living a loser life in the next movie.

    There are two credit sequences, a mid-credit that’s the usual Marvel sort of thing and a probable set-up for a future film, and a post-credit that’s basically just a trailer for the next Doctor Strange, with moderate spoilers (kinda sorta probably) for anyone who hasn’t seen WandaVision.

    • Your “Best Big Spoiler” was the big change I was referenced in “Story.” The other spoiler was acting of final antagonist. I usually think it’s a big cheat to leave the character out of their mask for the climaxes, but this character did so much better without that horrible mask from their first appearance.

  3. Also, to be really strict with “Originality,” they definitely were thinking of a certain other successful Marvel-related movie when they penned this one– .

    Sort of spoiler:

    so much so that a friend who hasn’t seen this one yet but has heard a good deal asked if this movie was based on Into the Spider-verse.

    Not a criticism so much as an observation. I really enjoyed this film and, at this point, the MCU movies assume some familiarity with the MCU’s history.

    • I have nothing to back it up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the early stages, Sony was suggesting they just recreate your spoiler, but with their flag ship character, and Disney/MCU wrestled enough control away to end up with what we got.

  4. > I wonder how approachable a movie like this would be to someone who hasn’t had generations of research.

    My son (14) said, ‘There were too many Spider-men. It confused me. I don’t like being confused.” He’s not exactly into the MCU, and I think he came because he wanted to see the 3D Spidey. This really didn’t have a lot of that. The 3D fell flat for me. However, the nostalgia hit an A++.

    • The 3D showing we went to was very flat, until the entire movie stopped entirely during Peter and MJ’s phone conversation. Then the movie started over, this time actually in 3D. Being able to see them side-by-side really showcased the difference and sold us on 3D showings.

      I also have a strong sympathy for anyone trying to wear their mask and glasses, as I spent the entire movie with my hand holding my mask onto my nose so that I could avoid it fogging up my 3D glasses..

Comments are closed.