From game-changers like Spider-Man 2 to disappointments like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the web-slinger hasn’t had the steadiest cinematic journey. The ongoing problems between Disney, Marvel, and Sony have only made matters rockier. The rollercoaster of highs and lows has been worth it, as this has all paved the way for Spider-Man: No Way Home. No Way Home succeeds where a film like The Rise of Skywalker struggled. It successfully bridges three generations of movies in exciting and deeply fulfilling ways. It delivers the fan service that we craze, but it also takes several unexpected turns that mature Peter Parker.
With Spidey’s first solo film in the MCU, director Jon Watts scaled things back from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb pictures. This wasn’t unwelcomed, as Spider-Man worked well as a teen comedy. The stakes rose in Far From Home, which ended with Peter’s secret being revealed to the world. Commencing immediately after the previous film, No Way Home maintains its teen comedy spirit for its first half. As the story unfolds, though, the film snowballs into the large-scale epic we’ve been anticipating. Watching these three movies in succession, Peter’s growth from boy to man is truly felt.
In addition to the Tom Holland era, No Way Home is just as much about honoring the previous two generations. Seeking to make everyone forget his secret identity, Peter enlists Doctor Strange. When the spell goes wrong, several familiar faces from alternate universes start popping up. Seeing characters like Alfred Molina’s Otto Octavius return after more than a decade is a dream come true. Most of the actors pick up right where they left off while others, such as Jamie Foxx’s Electro, are radically improved. Occasionally their motivations are inconsistent, and a few plot holes get brushed aside. Given how many elements this movie juggles, though, it’s amazing how well No Way Home flows.
Packing in too many villains has been a common offense in Spider-Man movies. Like the Oscar-winning Into the Spider-Verse, No Way Home thankfully knows how to balance its massive ensemble. What’s more, it knows how to write for each of these characters. In many MCU movies, the interactions between the characters stand out even more than the set pieces. No Way Home is full of ingenious exchanges, ranging from clever callbacks to team-ups you never knew you wanted. Villains have traditionally been the weakest part of MCU movies, but they practically steal the show here. Yet, No Way Home remains Peter’s story.
As memorable as these characters are, No Way Home is a technical marvel as well. It’s safe to assume that some actors weren’t always on screen together, but the editing is mostly seamless. The action is among the best in any Spider-Man film with a few even rivaling the runaway train from Spider-Man 2. The stakes behind the action are also higher than ever before. In the original Spider-Man, we all knew that Mary-Jane wouldn’t fall to her death. Amazing Spider-Man 2 dared to kill Gwen Stacy, but the execution was forced. Genuine drama drives the action in No Way Home, resulting in some shocking and tear-jerking moments that feel earned.
There’s so much more about No Way Home to praise. That would mean delving into spoiler territory, however. So, to save you the element of surprise, I’ll leave you with this. No Way Home ranks alongside Spider-Man 2and Into the Spider-Verse as one of this franchise’s finest outings. As far as MCU movies go, it rivals Endgamefor the most ambitious and rewarding. It’s safe to say that everyone will go in with high expectations, and virtually all of them will be met. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, your spidey senses will tingle.