“Spider-Man: No Way Home” Review

Aaron Morales Logan, Staff writer

Disclaimer: Major spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” as well as the rest of the MCU and previous Spider-Man films!

Spider-Man: No Way Home” was probably the most anticipated movie of 2021 for a great many people. Set directly after the events of the “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019) end-credits scene, the film revolves around Peter Parker/Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, trying to deal with the aftermath of Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhall, revealing Peter’s true identity to the entire world, along with claiming that Peter murdered him with no motive. After realizing how this is hurting so many of the people Peter holds close to him, Peter goes to Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, asking him for help. Strange casts a spell to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but when the spell goes awry, chaos ensues as the out-of-control spell instead begins bringing people who know Peter Parker as Spider-Man from every universe into the MCU universe. The film was released on December 17th, 2021. It immediately began to break box office records including “third-biggest worldwide opening of all time”, “second-biggest domestic debut of all time”, and “biggest December opening of all time.” Public reception was also extremely well, the film has received mostly very positive reviews. Some have even labeled it the best Spider-Man film of all time. 

The film has a great many strong points. For one, Peter Parker’s character development shows in this film. In his first appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), he had barely had his powers for six months and was just trying to impress Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr, and is trying to prove himself as being capable of becoming an Avenger. He continues this mindset until “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” where Tony Stark is gone and Peter has to learn what it truly means to be a superhero and the responsibilities that come with that title. In “No Way Home,” Peter truly finds out the pain that comes with being a superhero, and that the greater good sometimes requires sacrifices, as we see from Aunt May’s, played by Marissa Tomei, death. We also see him sacrifice his entire existence, as he asks Doctor Strange to make everyone forget Peter Parker entirely to reverse the broken spell that Strange casted in the beginning, which was supposed to make the world forget that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. It was a truly honorable decision that elevated Peter as a true superhero, and not someone trying to fill the shoes of another. 

One of the reasons many people were excited about this film was the returning cast from previous Spider-Man films. This includes Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin, Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius/Doc Ock, Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman, Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors/The Lizard, Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro, Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. All of these actors were extremely anticipated returns, and many were excited to see how they would fit into the story.

Willem Dafoe in particular stood out during this film. He played the Green Goblin to perfection, and made him positively frightening, possibly the most frightening villain this Spider-Man has had to face. The character is also handled brilliantly, with the Green Goblin causing the death of Aunt May, and accelerating Tom Holland’s Peter Parker’s character development. He lost the one person he was probably the closest to, and he nearly kills Norman at the end of the film, and he would have if Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker hadn’t stopped him. 

All of the other villain actors play their characters very well. They all feel like the same characters they were when audiences last saw them in their respective films. The Lizard gets the least amount of screentime out of all the villains and feels like the least important character, although to be fair, he probably is. It is hard however to balance all of these characters into one film and give them all equal amounts of screen time. It would have been borderline impossible to pull that off.

Overall, this film has become one of the MCU’s biggest and most impactful films. It is an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least, with the film bringing tears at one moment, to cheers and laughs of pure excitement. The story’s premise is handled quite well, and the character development is easily visible as the film progresses, especially after watching the previous movies that Spider-Man stars in. 

Now, what does this mean for the rest of the MCU and Spider-Man going forward? Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, has confirmed that another Spider-Man trilogy set in the MCU is in the works, with Tom Holland returning as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Not much is known about the new trilogy, but it is happening. 

Doctor Strange also has a future in the MCU, with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” set to release May 4, 2022. The film picks up where Doctor Strange’s story left off in “No Way Home” and looks to revolve around the concept of the multiverse, which was touched upon in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with the returning villains and other Peter Parkers from other universes. However, this film looks to be preparing to dive deeper into the concept than “No Way Home” did. 

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has become the biggest film of 2021, and currently holds the title of being the 8th highest-grossing movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation). There is no doubt that many people are invested in Peter Parker’s character and story, and those people are most likely eagerly awaiting to see where Peter Parker’s story goes next.