First things first, this review is spoiler free with exception of references to the trailer and those characters that are present within it. If you have not seen any trailers or teasers for Spider-Man: No Way Home, please please please do not proceed. If you have seen the trailers, then you are safe to continue. I know how special this film is for fans and I want your experience to be as special and free from spoilers as mine was.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is likely the most anticipated film of 2021. Not only is it the third in the Tom Holland series of Spidey films, but it is also the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to bring in so many characters from film franchises that fall outside of their own. In the trailer, we see Dr Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus aka Doc Ock, Norman Osborne/Green Goblin, Max Dillon/Electro, Flint Marko/Sandman and The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors. Based on the trailer alone, this film is set to be epic as hell!
With that huge multi-verse rollcall out of the way, No Way Home kicks off right where Far from Home finishes. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has been ousted as Spider-Man by the controversial news broadcaster, J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons). Parker was also accused of killing Mysterio and instigating the entire attack on London. Fearing for the safety of his family and friends, Parker seeks out Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) with the hope that all of this mess can be undone. However, the spell goes haywire and visitors from other universes start to appear. Strange wants to send them back, but when Parker learns of their fate in their own realities, he endeavours to save them.
To say that I was excited for this film would be a gross understatement. The last time I felt this way about a Marvel film was back when Avengers: End Game was about to release. Each time I visited the cinemas, I would see the trailer for No Way Home and every time it poured petrol on an already raging fire of excitement and anticipation. I could not help but think to myself that I was setting myself up for disappointment. Was all this hype miss-placed? Was this third film going to be a dumpster fire like Spider-Man 3 was (the dancing scene still haunts me to this day…)? Well, let us find out.
One of the first villains that we see is Doctor Otto Octavius portrayed by the brilliant Alfred Molina. Doctor Octopus/Doc Ock is my favourite villain from the Spider-Man franchise, including the Spider-Man PlayStation 4 game. To have Alfred Molina reprise his role was an absolute treat. It certainly would not be easy to step back into a role you portrayed seventeen years ago. Having watched the previous films over the past week, it was like Molina had just stepped off one set and onto the other. His performance is flawless and if anything, I dare say that it is even better than it his performance back in Spider-Man 2.
We are quickly re-introduced to the other villains with Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx as Electro, Rhys Ifans as The Lizard and Thomas Haden Church as Sandman, each of these performances are true to their original characters. Church still has the same heart of a father willing to do whatever it takes to get back to his daughter. Ifans’ reprisal of The Lizard was surprisingly humourous, and Jamie Foxx turned up the level of Electro’s hunger for power so flawlessly, that I could see the desire in his eyes. Out of the remaining five villains, for me, Willem Dafoe takes the cake. His revival of Green Goblin had me in awe. It was like Dafoe had himself locked up the crazy in his head for nineteen years and then just set it free in an absolutely stellar performance!
Then there is the Spider-Man family we have all come to love. Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau as Aunt May and Happy Hogan. Favreau is the same, loveable, fumbling teddy bear we all love. And Tomei really steps it up a gear as Aunt May and Parker’s voice of reason. Tomei’s performance reminded me a lot of Aunt May from the PS4 game, a character that I absolutely adored. And of course, Peter Parker’s two best friends with Ned Leeds and MJ portrayed by Jacob Batalon and Zendaya. With the revelations of Parker’s identity causing mayhem, their characters are forced together to survive. Their characters’ friendships on-screen exude a natural chemistry that made their transition to best friends seamless.
Of course, I couldn’t finish this review off without mentioning Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Holland has grown so much into the character since he first pulled on the iconic suit back in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. He has developed the character into one of my favourites in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland perfectly captures the essence of a teenager that is so far in the deep with the ‘oh shit’ look he has in his eyes. I mean, Holland has had a lot of practice with all the spoiler trouble he has got into in the past, but he also displays the grit and determination of a character that is willing to fight with everything he has got to dig himself out.
To add to the aforementioned fantastic acting performances is the return of Producer Amy Pascal and Marvel legend, Kevin Feige. Also returning to the Homecoming saga is musical composer Michael Giacchino whose score is perfectly paired with the cinematography by Mauro Fiore. It is clear as day that the trio of Feige, Pascal and Giacchino are a recipe for Spidey success!
I mentioned at the beginning of this film that I was overcome with excitement and anticipation in the lead up to this film. I had every faith that No Way Home was going to deliver in spades, and I can safely say that I had not set myself up for disappointment. Spider-Man No Way Home is not only one of the best films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but is also one of the best Marvel films I have seen to date. Yes, Iron Man and Avengers will always hold a special place in my heart, but No Way Home is something else entirely. And with all the mess of COVID lockdowns and the global pandemic happening in the world right now, I am extremely thankful that this epic film is out in cinemas for everyone to see.
Spider-Man: No Way Home will be theatres around the world this Thursday December 16th. I beg of you, please go, and see this masterpiece as soon as you can. Spoilers will not hide forever, and everyone deserves to see this with a clear mind. Then, once you have seen it, see it again! I most certainly will.