When Tom Holland’s Spider-Man first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War, no one could have known where the character was headed. In an unprecedented deal, Disney and Sony brought the web-slinger into the MCU and unlocked unlimited possibilities. Civil War marked the first time we would see Peter Parker team up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and it was honestly a sight to behold. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and former Sony head Amy Pascal would go on to produce three solo Spider-Man films and the web-head would also appear in the last two Avengers movies with an integral role. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Homecoming and its follow-up Far From Home were met with praise and did great financially. The latter ended with a huge cliffhanger that would lead the final film in the trilogy into an interesting direction.
However, Spider-Man’s latest cinemaitc solo outing almost wasn’t set in the MCU. Disney and Sony couldn’t agree to terms to extend their unprecedented deal and Tom Holland had to reach out to both studios and plead with them to work something out. After all of the controversy, the third Spider-Man film would go into production during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic under a shroud of secrecy. Sony would later reveal that the film would be titled Spider-Man: No Way Home and that the original cast would return along with some other familiar faces, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong. Not much was known about the plot besides rumors of a potential live-action Multiverse situation and that was confirmed when the first trailer made its debut with the reintroduction of Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. It was then revealed that Willem Dafoe and Jamie Foxx would also return as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin and Max Dillon/Electro, respectively. While the marketing definitely kept a lid on all of the surprises, I can tell you that I officially know all of them now because I got the chance to see Spider-Man: No Way Home last night and it was everything I wanted and more.
Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: No Way Home is filled with Multiverse goodness. If you enjoyed how Loki and WandaVision pierced the veil of multidimensional battle, this is the Phase 4 movie you’ve been waiting for. The first half of the film is very reminiscent of the MCU’s first two Spider-Man films but when the second half begins it becomes something else entirely. It’s dark, very emotional and by far one of the most mature films Marvel Studios has produced so far. No Way Home absolutely lives up to the hype and it’ll make you watch it again and again. What Watts, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal do with this film makes me highly interested in the future of the MCU unlike the other films that have already been released from Phase 4. With the film largely focusing on the villainous characters from the multiverse and Peter Parker trying to save them from perishing at the hands of the previous Spider-Men, No Way Home is the must-see event of the year.
No Way Home begins after Peter Parker is unmasked by Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio and the very ignorant Daily Bugle website. Parker finds that having his identity revealed comes with many consequences, especially with conspiracy theorists believing that he killed Mysterio, and the whole thing also affects his friends MJ and Ned. He goes to Doctor Strange to have him make it that the world doesn’t know that he’s Spider-Man and ultimately screws up the spell, causing villains from previous Spider-Man films to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Electro, No Way Home also features the return of Thomas Haden Church as Sandman and Rhys Ifans as The Lizard. This sets up a multiversal adventure that the MCU has never seen before, but it also gives us some amazing performances that are arguably the best I’ve ever seen in a live-action comic book film.
Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home. If you thought he was great already as the character wait until you see him in this one. He brings so much emotion, grit and pain that his performance is sure to make you cry. Holland really upped the standards for his Spider-Man going forward and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the next trilogy of films. The scenes he shares with some of his co-stars are when he’s at his best. Zendaya’s Michelle Jones gets more to work with this time around now that she’s in the fold and knows who Spider-Man is. The actress handles it well and I enjoyed every moment she was on screen. MJ and Jacob Batalon’s Ned Leeds are some of the best sidekicks the MCU has ever seen. Batalon is back as the guy in the chair and he’s great. He’s sharing his duties with Zendaya for this one and that opens up his Marvel Studios future in some interesting ways. Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau also return in Spider-Man: No Way Home and without spoiling their roles I have to say that the former finally gets to shine as Peter’s beloved aunt. While the heroes are really great I’m this one, it’s the villains I know that you really want to talk about.
Willem Dafoe is the only Green Golblin fans will accept and after almost 20 years he’s back. He’s the villain we all remember and honestly the type of villain that the MCU needed to push Spider-Man forward. He’s malicious, ruthless and still very mentally unstable. He’s the worst of the bunch and Dafoe returns to the role with the same intensity he had in 2002. He leads the fray with the only opposing force being Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. Molina is also returning to the role after a very long time – 17 years, to be exact, and while he’s been joking that he only returned for the money he definitely put his heart into the character. If you loved how Spider-Man 2 ended and hoped that the film wouldn’t mess up his redemption arc then this is definitely the movie you want to see. Jamie Foxx’s Electro is arguably my only gripe about the film. I just don’t like him as Electro. Don’t get me wrong, Foxx is an amazingly-talented actor but this role just isn’t for him. Sandman and The Lizard are kind of like filler villains with the former three leading the charge against Holland’s Spider-Man and I’m very excited to see them in action again when No Way Home hits theaters this Friday.
Overall Thoughts: Spider-Man: No Way Home is the best Spider-Man film of all time. It’s chock-full of surprises and even the most cynical Marvel Studios fan will enjoy it. Tom Holland has some pretty amazing moments in the film that solidify him as the character and I’m looking forward to seeing where Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal take him next. The film has two-post credits scenes, so stay until the very end. I would definitely recommend going with a large, vaccinated crowd. You’re really going to love this one. I know I can’t wait to see it again.
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