There are massive expectations for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Luckily for audiences everywhere, the film meets expectations and then some. It culminates in the movie’s release on Friday, December 17th, 2021. No Way Home combines the best of the MCU, the best of the Spider-Man series from the past, and gives a great superhero movie. For the rest of this review, there will be absolutely no spoilers other than things shown in trailers for the film. Luckily for all of us, the trailers don’t even remotely give away the biggest and best parts of the film.

Spider-Man: No Way Home stars Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Zendaya as MJ, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Jacob Batalon as Ned, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, and Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. It also stars Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, and Alfred Molina as some of the villains in the film. Jon Watts directs a script written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers.

The film starts where Spider-Man: Far From Home ends. Peter Parker’s identity is exposed at the hands of Mysterio. The entire world knows that Peter is Spider-Man. The film delves deep into this crisis of identity. For other heroes like Doctor Strange, Captain America, Iron Man, or the Scarlet Witch, people know their identities. But, with Peter Parker, it’s a special case. Only a select few before the last film knew who he was. That concept of reality comes up throughout the film. What does it mean to be Spider-Man? By the end of this film, you’ll know exactly what it means.

Tom Holland Cements Himself As A Great Spider-Man In No Way Home

Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

We’ve had plenty of great actors take superhero roles throughout the ages. Careers have been made through legendary performances. Tom Holland gives one such performance in this film. He’s tasked with the weight of carrying the most impactful and spectacular Marvel film this side of Avengers: Endgame. There were plenty of other actors and actresses with a film like that to help carry the load. Here, you have Holland, Cumberbatch, Zendaya, Batalon, and Marisa Tomei. So without that security blanket of heroes to help out, the film rests on his shoulders.

The Villains Of Spider-Man: No Way Home

Speaking of Cumberbatch, he’s once again pitch-perfect as Doctor Strange. Everything one would want out of the role, he meets with gravitas and power. The Sorceror Supreme is at the center of this story, and he’s gained plenty of new tricks in the time he’s been away. His presence makes a titanic film feel that much more significant. This isn’t the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” any longer. Zendaya and Batalon play to the side of Peter here, but Zendaya is given much more to work with than in previous films. She’s not just the damsel in distress and much more than just Peter’s girlfriend this time around.

The villains are an equal portion of what makes a great hero. Unsurprisingly, it is awesome to see some of the best villains of Spider-Man‘s past suit up. Jamie Foxx almost upstages everyone else and gets a good portion of the film’s best lines. His new costume and the explanation are a highlight. Willem Dafoe again proves why we all fell in love with him as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin back in the first Spider-Man film. His performance here is nuanced, emotional, dastardly, and shows why Dafoe is one of the best actors in the business. The work he pulls off with simple facial movements and tone of voice is masterful.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Is A Jumping Off Point For The Rest Of The MCU

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange and Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

The wide-reaching consequences of this movie have an indelible effect on the rest of the MCU in the future. For those looking for an “Avengers” type film, this is it. It might not have as many heroes as those films, but it certainly feels as massive and Earth-shaking as those do. The writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers did a fantastic job weaving in the storylines of the past, present, and future of the MCU, while also giving us a satisfying film. The audience has seen Peter Parker grow up before our eyes, even if some of the characters in the movie end up forgetting how young he is.

A Humongous Plot And True Heartpounding Moments

The plot comes down to Peter choosing to be selfish or not. He wants people to forget who he is, but he also wants some of those people to remember who he is. That choice would be natural for anyone. But, would you want your friends and family to forget who you are? It’s played off like comedy at first, but it’s the emotional pull of the whole film. It circles back to the idea of identity and how that affects Peter. He’s just a kid, yes, but he has to grow up eventually and choose which heroic path he wants to go down. Others are anonymous heroes, and some step from the shadows into the public eye. That, combined with the sheer emotion and weight of the third act, makes this the best Spider-Man film in the series.

There’s real emotional weight and heft to some of the scenes here. Think along the lines of the tension from Spider-Man: Homecoming with Michael Keaton‘s Vulture and Peter. There are also some genuinely heartbreaking and gut-punching scenes. Peter Parker is known for his share of trauma and loss, and he faces it dearly in this film. The choices he makes have irreparable consequences.

One Of The Best Of The MCU And Of Spider-Man‘s Past

MJ (Zendaya) and Spider-Man jump off the bridge iin Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

There are three types of Marvel movies out there, spectacles, sequels, and origin stories. This does the rare job of pulling double duty. In a way like Thor: Ragnarok or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this film combines a spectacle and the sequel. Typically, things have to get bigger, badder, and tenser as the series goes on. Spider-Man: No Way Home ratchets up everything to love about Peter Parker, Spider-Man, and the MCU and gives a satisfying sequel.

The third act is some of the most fun and fist-pump, audience clapping, fans cheering, tears falling action that you can get in a theater. For people who have been waiting patiently for this film, that patience is rewarded. It’s a long film, but there aren’t too many detractors that come out of Spider-Man: No Way Home. With so many villains, it could have fallen into the Spider-Man 3 trap of having too many mouths to feed. Here, the villains are nuanced, and with minor exceptions, get their time to shine.

Through it all, there was a definite fear this film couldn’t meet the absolutely ludicrous amount of hype behind it. This is supposed to be the movie to save the 2021 box office, the MCU, and more. It might not be the next coming of Christ, but it’s a damn fine movie. Spider-Man: No Way Home joins the upper tier of Marvel and superhero films and is one that we’ll all be rewatching plenty of times down the road.

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