‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ spoiler free review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

They finally did it! I didn’t think it would be possible, but they finally made a good “Spider-Man 3”! “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the third film in Marvel Studios Spider-Man trilogy. Leading up to its release, the anticipation for this movie has been insane! For the past year, we’ve had multiple leaks from the cast that only made people set their standards higher for this film. On top of the massive cliffhanger at the end of the last movie, you also have numerous actors from previous Spider-Man film series coming back to reprise their roles. To many, this meant more interactions,  more villains, and a scope that makes this feel like the biggest Spider-Man film ever made.

It begins right where “Spider-Man: Far From Home” left off with Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity being exposed to the world by Mysterio, causing his life and reputation to go downhill. Feeling guilty for the public and media turning on his family and friends, Peter goes to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to perform a spell that will restore his identity. However, things go awry when the spell goes haywire and breaks open the multiverse. This is made evident as multiple villains from the previous Spider-Man movies come through to wreak havoc. Peter finds himself being attacked on all sides as he has to team up with old and new allies to restore the multiverse and protect his loved ones.

 Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

This is going to be hard to talk about because this movie is filled to the brim with spoilers. In fact, I consider this film one giant spoiler. For the sake of the experience, I won’t give away anything. I’m just here to give my general thoughts. With that said, in my opinion, this rivals “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse”, in terms of the best Spider-Man film ever made! The amount of effort given by both the studios and the cast is so huge that it pays off in a spectacular way. As someone who loves the character, this was the Spider-Man movie I wanted to see in this universe. While I enjoyed “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, they mostly felt like side stories in the larger universe. They mostly played their stories safe, they didn’t feel self-contained, and had to tie into the larger MCU somehow. I knew their strategy was to do the slow burn where they develop these characters as they go through high school. But I also understand that they were building up to the big epic. We just had to read through multiple issues of Peter’s development so that we could see them in a big epic later in time. Very much like how the comics did. Well, that time has finally come, resulting in the movie every Spider-Man fan wants to see.

After the massive cliffhanger from the last film, you know that there were going to be major repercussions that would follow. You would think this would turn everyone against Parker, but thankfully, to the film’s credit, they don’t go that route. When Peter’s identity is revealed the public isn’t completely against him and is more divided on how they view him. Some see him as a hero who wants to do good, while others see him as a menace to society. This aspect not only plays true to the comics with how New York views Spider-Man as a whole, but it also adds a sense of realism with how divided people are in real life. The film also smartly shows how this not only negatively affects Peter, but also the people closest to him. You understand Peter’s situation as his family and friends, most notably Ned Leeds and MJ are struggling to move forward in life simply because they are friends with Parker.

 Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

I greatly enjoyed seeing this trio of characters as they have to go through multiple bizarre scenarios. We spent so much time with them in the previous films, that we’re with them when bad things happen to them. Now that so much time has passed, the film openly acknowledges that they aren’t even kids anymore. In fact, they’re all looking at colleges. I like that they address this development as they are all older and entering adulthood. Honestly, this is the first time I looked at Tom Holland as a true Spider-Man. Not a kid in high school. Not a side character in a superhero team-up. But a man who is going through a lot of the same situations that Parker in the comics did.

That aspect was handled really well, but when the villains do show up in the film it is a lot of fun. I could feel the little kid in me bouncing off the walls while watching these scenes. I don’t think I’m spoiling this part because a lot of these characters are in the advertising. Though believe me when I say there are cameos here that even I wasn’t expecting to see. I was amazed that they got all the same actors to reprise characters that I never thought I would see on the big screen again, let alone in the same movie. The different interactions they have with each other and the situations they’re put in are so creative and entertaining that it feels like Spider-Man movie fanfiction. And I mean that in the best way.

 Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

It goes without saying that all of these villains come from Spider-Man films series that didn’t end on a high note. Most people did not find their finales satisfying, especially because they were building up to future films but got canceled because the public hated them. Without giving anything away, this movie feels like it’s giving these characters and film series the conclusions they deserve. What’s also impressive is that it manages to pull together so many different elements while still being its own movie.

While there are a lot of fun scenes revolving around Peter, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Electro, etc. There are some surprisingly heavy moments in this film. I was pleasantly shocked that this movie made the choices that it did, as there are mature scenes here that I never thought I’d see in this film series. While some of them do feel reminiscent from other Spider-Man movies and stories, you’re still invested because these characters are so likable and so developed that you’re with them every step of the way. It’s elements like this that stand out the most, because they revolve around themes and ideas that Spider-Man is known for.

What surprised me most about this movie was how it had a lot of the same elements that tanked previous Spider-Man films, such as “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. To name a few they both had too many villains, overly complex narratives, and stories that go all over the place. It was at this point that I asked myself how come these elements work here? To put it simply, this film series knew which correct routes to take when building up to this movie. First off, these movies took their time in developing these characters and storylines throughout the previous movies, as well as this film keeping a primary focus on the main narrative revolving around Peter’s dilemma. Second, this film didn’t feel the need to force in any plot threads that go nowhere or set up the next five films. It instead took the “Spider-Verse” route and built upon what was already previously established about Spider-Man. It uses it as a strength in working with what is already known, rather than wasting time establishing elements in a film that already has so much going on. Despite how bizarre some of these choices may seem, you never get the feeling that the movie was being manipulated behind the scenes in any way. It genuinely feels like this is what everything was building up to. 

What seemed like an impossible task on paper turned into a match made in heaven. It took all the right elements from those previous film series. Including the charm and characters from the Tobey Maguire films, the look, and realism of the Andrew Garfield films, and the self-aware nature and lore of “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”. Through creative writing and an already existing mythos, it combined all these different sources in a movie that celebrates everything Spider-Man.

 Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Even the idea of bringing in characters from the previous film universes is both a fun and chaotic idea. You would think it would make the movie feel too bloated as you’re bringing in characters that need to be re-established. Thankfully, this film has the advantage of incorporating characters that were already established as a majority of the audience has a history with them. While some of them have different appearances and aren’t given a ton of attention, you still understand what their characters are about because of the past movies. It’s a strange paradox as it is pure fan service meant to draw people in. But it works because the characters they choose and how they work them into the script is not only entertaining but also creates a sense of excitement when you watch scenarios you never thought you would see. I’m not going to lie, I did feel giddy when I saw characters like Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin share scenes together. These are the kind of scenes you wanted to see as a kid and feel surreal when you see them happening right in front of you.

If you thought that was enough fanservice, just wait until you get to the third act, because that part alone is worth a hundred times the price of admission. Without spoiling it, I will say I never thought I would see a live-action “Spider-Verse” on screen, but the film massively succeeded on that front. Everything from the interactions, to the dialogue, to the combination of characters they have on-screen, makes this film feel like you’re watching your childhood superhero dreams come to life.

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

With the movie having so many fantastic elements, I will admit there are a few parts of the script that could have been tweaked here and there. For one, certain characters’ motivations, particularly villains, change out of nowhere. The rules they establish on how these characters got to this universe in the first place are also not made very clear. I will also acknowledge that there are scenes here that change up the lore or have characters do actions that certain people will be split on. But aside from that, there is a ton to enjoy about this film. In my opinion, the pros easily cover up the cracks for me. It did everything so right and I was so invested from beginning to end, that I feel glad to live during a time where a movie like this exists. This is one of those movies where I would watch again with a crowd just so I can see their reactions.

It may have taken a while, but I am grateful that this film series took its time in establishing and developing these characters so that when we got to the epic movie, it truly felt big.

I would also like to point out that there are two end-credits sequences that tease plotlines for future movies, so definitely stick around for those. Overall, I had a fantastic time watching this film, and so did everyone at my screening. With the MCU’s Spider-Man “Home” trilogy all wrapped up, it’s still up in the air what will happen with this version of Spider-Man in the future. Personally, this movie truly establishes Tom Holland as the titular hero. I would love to see Peter develop through adulthood as he goes through different stories and dilemmas. Whether you’re a fan of the Maguire films, Garfield films, or Holland films. You can bet that there is something here for every Spider-Man fan to enjoy. Take a look and see it for yourself. It’s a film you definitely don’t want to miss.

Spinnaker rates this movie 5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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