Movie Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Well, it’s about time I got back to these. For those of you who started reading my blog after I started my podcast, I used to do movie reviews pretty often here. It’s just that I’ve hardly seen any new movies since the pandemic started. Even with the new Marvel movies (ones where I wasn’t familiar with the characters), I couldn’t seem to find the time or effort.

But I certainly wasn’t going to pass up Spider-Man: No Way Home. The third installment of the MCU’s version of Spider-Man came out this weekend, and it is getting big reviews—so far even better than Homecoming and Far From Home.

And…yeah, it’s pretty high up there. I think…I would put Far From Home first, No Way Home second and Homecoming third, but ask me again tomorrow, and I might have a completely different answer. It’s really too close to call. And that’s impressive, because how many other trilogies are out there where all three movies are truly top tier? There’s Lord of the Rings and Toy Story, and…I think that might be it.

And now, the MCU Spider-Man.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical of this movie going in, for two reasons. First, they already spent Far From Home setting up the idea of an MCU multiverse, only to later reveal it as a hoax. But…they did reestablish it with Loki based on the alternate timeline generated by Avengers: Endgame. This film simply clarified how the multiverse works in a way that much more closely mirrors the comics.

And second, don’t you think they’re ripping off the story of Into the Spider-Verse? I mean, travelers from parallel timelines arriving because of a botched reality-altering endeavor. Sound a little familiar? But of course, Into the Spider-Verse was a top-tier film in its own right for a reason. The formula worked again this time.

Spider-Man: No Way Home begins in media res exactly where Far From Home left off—with J. Jonah Jameson revealing Peter Parker’s identity. While Peter manages to escape the legal consequences, the court of public opinion is not kind to him. With his life falling apart, and being a seventeen-year-old kid, he decides the best solution is to go to Doctor Strange and have him cast a spell to alter everyone’s memory. This, predictably, goes badly, and he finds himself attacked by villains from parallel universes—and not just any parallel universes. He gets the same villains from the Tobey McGuire Spider-Man films and the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films, with the same actors, in what may be one of the best crossover movies ever.

And it is really good. I don’t want to spoil it; like many recent Marvel films, there’s a lot of stuff going on here. Suffice to say, it really captures the heart of Spider-Man as a story from half a dozen different angles. The things they were able to do with it, sometimes with no words spoken, were amazing.

Now, it’s not perfect. There are a few places where it kind of drags, and I’m not crazy about the ending. Don’t get me wrong; it was well-done. I’m just not a fan of the particular trope they used. Still, like I said, it’s a really good movie, and even better, it’s a really good Spider-Man movie. It really understands the story and the character, and it runs with it. So, you should definitely see it. I know it feels like there have been too many Spider-Man films over the years, but this one is absolutely worth it.

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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