One of the most anticipated MCU entries has finally arrived in the form of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the culmination of Jon Watts‘ incredible ‘Home‘ trilogy. This sequel sees Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) cast a spell to make the world forget Spider-Man’s identity. When the spell goes wrong, villains from across the multiverse start to appear, forcing Peter to discover the true meaning of becoming a hero.
Bigger and better in every single way, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the perfect culmination to this Spider-Man trilogy. Emotional and action-packed, it takes everything that the previous two films have been building towards and brings it all together in a deep exploration of Peter’s character and an action-packed thrill-ride for the ages. I wouldn’t hesitate to put this film in the tier of ‘superhero epic’, alongside the Avengers films, due to the grandiose of this narrative and the sheer number of well fleshed out villains that take centre-stage. This is a story that pulls absolutely no punches – immediately kicking things off and jumping straight into the action following the huge events of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). It really is a non-stop ride from beginning to end, packing in a massive amount of content and giving almost every one of the main characters a fulfilling narrative arc to follow.
When it comes to the action, there’s no shortage of kick-ass web slinging in every act of the film. What’s great is that it feels like there are genuine stakes at every point, as if absolutely anything can happen – and it’s that uncertainty that creates a level of tension guaranteed to hook absolutely every viewer. With the inclusion of so many villains, it leads to a massive variety of fighting styles and combat sequences, ensuring it always feels remarkably fresh. Doctor Strange even gets his own time to shine with a mesmerising action sequence that’s a true stand-out amongst the rest.
Speaking of the villains, there’s no question that this is the main draw of the film – and the reason behind why it is so grand and epic. The long-awaited return of fan-favourite villains Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx), among others, is what everyone has been waiting for – and the payoff is amazing. Anyone concerned about whether they’d even have a main role in the film can rest easy knowing these sinister individuals play a large role in the story, each one having a lot to do. The fact that Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers have managed to cram this number of villains into the one movie and have enough time to flesh them out and give them a purpose is remarkable. We’ve seen multiple villains attempted in the past… looking at you Spider-Man 3 (2007)… but it never seems to work, always feeling bloated and uneven. No Way Home doesn’t have that issue. The way it balances its villains and gives each one a meaningful arc really is a triumph. That being said, one of the villains is sidelined for a large chunk of the movie, but that didn’t bother me due to the combined strength of every other arc in here.
The grand action and massive-scale narrative is all present, but what makes No Way Home extra special is that it still carves out time for deeply emotional storytelling. The relationship between Peter and MJ (Zendaya) is at the forefront for much of the film, playing heavily into Peter’s actions and behaviour in key moments. It’s one of many character arcs that enhance the overall heart of the film. So many moments within this film stand out and stick in your mind long after the credits roll, many of them being key emotional scenes that drive the plot forward and show the growth of Peter’s character through this trilogy. There’s no question that this is also the darkest entry in the ‘Home’ trilogy of films, delving into some pretty dark places and feeling the most mature of the three. At the same time, there’s still plenty of comedy being thrown out from a variety of characters – and it’s all balanced really well to where the comedy doesn’t detract from the tone and vice-versa.
Performance-wise, this film is stacked – but no-one stands out more than Tom Holland in his 6th outing as the web-slinging Avenger. He’s very clearly grown into the character by now and delivers his best Spidey performance yet – hitting those key the emotional beats with in a way that has you feeling exactly what the character is going through. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon are brilliant as MJ and Ned, really selling us on the bond this trio shares and how important they all are in each other’s lives. The moments where the three of them go back and forth are some of the better smaller details of the film. Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch is as good as he’s ever been as Doctor Strange, playing really well against Tom Holland with some tense and hilarious back-and-forth exchanges.
In the end, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a triumph in every sense of the word. The fact that they managed to bring back a huge collection of fan-favourite villains for one last ride and give each one a key role in the narrative is remarkable. It’s fun, thrilling, dark, funny and action-packed from beginning to end, resulting in a crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions. It’s most certainly one of the best films in the MCU and potentially even the best Spider-Man movie period – meaning there’s absolutely no excuse to not see this movie.