SM:NWH21

The film opened to $260 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend, making it the most successful opening weekend for a movie in 2021.

"Spider-Man: No Way Home” is probably the best live action Spider-man movie in both Marvel and Sony history. Seriously, the few complaints don’t even begin to take away from the film's sheer awesomeness. 

The first half of this review will be spoiler-free, but there will be a spoiler warning for the second half.

The first two Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Spider-Man movies have left many, myself included, wanting a bit more. While Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is arguably the best we’ve had so far — portraying an amazingly charming boy-genius — the character is still clumsily finding his footing as a superhero and has none of the tragic elements of Spider-Man. The first two of Holland’s movies, I would argue, are Peter Parker movies rather than Spider-Man movies. 

But this changes in the new movie. Not only does Marvel amp up the nostalgia with classic Spider-Man villains, like Green Goblin (Willem DaFoe), whose presence alone left me with a massive grin on my face, we also finally get to see Marvel commit to the idea of real-life consequences and sacrifices.  

With outstanding action, quippy comedy and lovable characters, this movie is an absolute must-see. The villains are compellingly deep (well, most of them) and the heart-felt moments between Peter and his loved ones drive the plot to be more interesting at every turn.

Now, if you have not seen the movie, go see it right now at any theatre near you, but also stop reading this piece. Come back when you’ve seen it.  

Jumping right back in, my biggest qualm with the movie is how extremely reliant it is on decades worth of Spider-Man and MCU content to even be semi-comprehensive. Yes, it’s understood that this is part of a series, but I still think that Marvel has created a franchise that’s so difficult to get into and fully understand — shoutout to Matt Murdock — that it needs to be acknowledged as a borderline cult.  

However, I refuse to complain about the appearances of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. Although the interactions between the three Spider-Men were cheesy and felt very much like fan service, it was so enjoyable that I am smiling as I write this. Garfield oozes charm and emotion every second he’s on the screen and Macguire’s easy-going, upright attitude is purely nostalgic.  

Aside from the past Spider-Man actors, bringing in the past villains and further developing them is something I applaud. I enjoyed the redemption of every single one, especially Electro (Jamie Foxx). Green Goblin’s sheer evilness that drives Holland’s Spider-Man to the brink of madness is outstanding.  

However, a few of the villains ended up just being extra bodies to make the final battle harder and I could have stood to see a lot more from Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Doctor Connors (Rhys Ifans). 

But back to the important part of this review: this is absolutely a Spider-Man movie. 

Peter’s loss in this movie is almost overwhelming after close to none in the first two. The death of Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and the conclusion that everyone in the world forgets who he is, including his closest friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), is heart-wrenching. But also puts us on the trajectory that many fans have been waiting for, as Peter begins a new life and learns from his actions.

 

Emmalee Appel is a staff writer. Follow them on Twitter: @emm_appel.