Before you read any further, be warned that there are major spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Truthfully, Spider-Man: No Way Home had a lot to live up to following the exciting and nostalgic trailers and the plethora of rumours floating around. Against what I thought to be all odds, the movie went beyond expectations, or mostly at least! In short, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a surprisingly emotional, nostalgia-driven and epic hit that’ll leave you thinking about it for days after.
First, to refresh your memories or if you haven’t seen the movie and want to know what happens, let’s revisit the plot. Spider-Man: No Way Home kicks off where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off, with the world knowing Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and thanks to Mysterio’s deceitful message, Spider-Man’s public perception is split between fans and those believing him to be a murderer. Once the revelation begins to have knock-on effects on the people Peter cares about most, he decides to enlist the help of Dr. Strange. The plan was to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man but as the spell gets underway, Peter begins having a crisis about wanting certain people like MJ, Ned, and Aunt May to still know his identity. This causes the spell to get out of control, but thankfully, Strange is able to contain it, or so we thought.
Strange’s corrupted spell essentially summoned some people from the multiverse who also knew Peter’s identity. As a result, iconic villains from previous Spider-Man franchises are brought back including Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Electro, Lizard, and the Sandman. The team then proceeds to track down the villains and teleport them to be imprisoned in holding cells under the Sanctum. Once all of the villains are held, Strange prepares a spell that is contained in a box that will send the villains back to their universes to (mostly) ultimately meet their demise to Spider-Man. Peter has a change of heart and wants to help cure the villains of their powers and insanity and thus, reverse their fate.
Strange disagrees with the idea which leads to Peter stealing the box and Strange opening the Mirror Dimension where the pair quarrel it out. Ultimately Strange ends up stuck in the Mirror Dimension. Peter then takes the villains back to Happy Hogan’s apartment where he uses Stark technology to alter Doctor Octopus’ chip and therefore stops the arms from controlling him. Meanwhile, the Green Goblin takes control of Norman Osborne, leading to him convincing the remaining villains to turn against Peter as well as sending a devastating explosion. The Goblin then kills Aunt May who utters before dying the iconic ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ line. Peter is then out for revenge.
Meanwhile, Ned uses Strange’s ring and discovers he has magical abilities, so he and MJ use the ring to attempt to find Peter. And who walks through the portal? Peter Parker, but Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker! After some understandable confusion, Ned attempts the spell again and this time Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker comes through the portal! After finding a heartbroken Holland’s Peter, the three Peters share their stories of loss and heartbreak and decide to untie in order to cure and send the villains back to their respective universes.
The brainiacs develop cures for the villains and then team up in an epic spidey manner to lure the villains to the Statue of Liberty. One by one they cure Lizard and the Sandman, with Octavius joining in to help restrain Electro as they administer the cure. During this time, Strange is freed from the Mirror Dimension. However, the Green Goblin is still causing havoc and causes the scaffolding around the statue to tumble down, leading to MJ falling. Holland’s Spider-Man attempts to save her but is intercepted by the Goblin. Luckily, Garfield’s Spider-Man swings in and saves her, in his eyes redeeming himself when he couldn’t save Gwen Stacey. Holland’s Parker eventually takes down the Goblin and beats him up in a rage-fuelled frenzy because of Aunt May. Maguire’s Peter stops Holland’s Peter from killing him but is promptly stabbed in the back by Goblin. He’s fine guys, don’t worry! Deciding this isn’t the way, Garfield’s Peter and Holland’s Peter administer the cure to Osborne. Garfield’s Peter lends a shoulder to Maguire’s Peter.
During this time, other members of the multiverse start to edge closer and Peter comes to realise that the way to close the multiverse is to erase himself from the memory of everyone, and Strange reluctantly complies. Holland’s Peter says goodbye to Ned and MJ, promising them that he will find them again. Strange casts the spell, sending everyone back to their own universes. Holland’s Peter visits MJ at her restaurant workplace with the intention of introducing himself and revealing his identity, but doesn’t follow through. He then visits the cemetery to visit Aunt May’s grave where Happy also pays his respects. The movie ends with Holland’s Peter creating a new suit.
So where to start! First, let’s address the minor issues I had with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Starting with the fact that I wish there were more fight scenes involving Doctor Octopus as the main action scene with the iconic villain was the one on the bridge at the start. That being said, I completely understand that there was only so much screen time and the cast was quite loaded. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the Green Goblin’s new look for the second half of the movie, but I appreciate that it was so there were more emotions and expressions. However, I felt that it didn’t match the iconic original suit. Another gripe I have is that the argument of instead of making everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, why did Peter not ask Strange to make it so that everyone forgets Mysterio and what he said in that life-changing broadcast? Hilariously, this was what was said in the first teaser trailer. Again, I completely get that if this was the case, the whole movie wouldn’t happen, so I can accept it as being the one prominent flaw of the movie.
Now onto the good stuff! As mentioned, Spider-Man: No Way Home completely lived up to the hype of the trailers and fan anticipation. I felt that the plot was interesting, ground-breaking for the MCU, character-driven, and emotional all at the same time. The plot was also clever and subtle at introducing Daredevil, which was quite unexpected and wasn’t too much of a loud ‘look who it is’ moment. The performances across the board were fantastic, especially Holland’s, Maguire’s, Garfield’s, and all of the villains. Zendaya also deserves some praise, as I honestly was never a fan of her MJ in the previous two movies, but I felt her character gathered so much depth in No Way Home and was more involved with the story.
The soundtrack was awesome as always, plus it was cleverly mixed as it incorporated scores from all of the Spider-Man eras which was a welcome touch rather than them completely creating new themes for the returning characters. The action scenes were engaging, well-choreographed, nostalgic, and created moments that made you want to cheer. It’s safe to say that Spider-Man: No Way Home marketed itself heavily on the nostalgia and returning characters and I felt that this was handled really well.
The villains were given depth and enough screen time and likewise, the highlight attraction for me was the returning Spider-Men, being a big lover of Maguire’s Spider-Man. Garfield and Maguire had plenty of screen time and had prominent roles in the plot rather than just being cameos, which was greatly appreciated. Likewise, they were likeable and received plenty of interaction with their respective villains and with one another through simple yet amazing conversations that caused smiles to spread across faces all throughout the theatres. For example, the discussion about the web-shooters and how Maguire’s Spider-Man does it straight from the wrist. These moments made the movie feel so surreal and engaging rather than Maguire and Garfield standing idly by. There were plenty of fantastic quips referring to the previous movies littered throughout which will also, undoubtedly make fans smile.
Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home executed the multiverse concept spectacularly, with the plethora of characters receiving enough attention, interaction, and development to make the anticipation more than worthwhile.