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