It’s been two years since Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures collectively blew our minds with the jaw-dropping post-credit scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home. “Spider-Man’s name is Peter Parker.” Those five words changed the course of the MCU Spider-Man lore forever.
Since then, fans and theorists from all over the world have speculated the directions that Peter Parker’s story could have taken him from that point moving forward. Few people, however, could have predicted that we were heading into what is arguably the most ambitious MCU film to date. Doctor Strange and his mystical ways, the return of 5 of the most iconic Spider-Man villains from across the former franchises, and the deep dive into the concept of the Multiverse just ready to burst wide open.
The film placed Peter Parker in a situation that’s truly never been explored in the live-action medium. His secret identity has been outed to the world. He is being accused of the murder of Mysterio. And when the world is split on whether to believe Peter is truly a hero or a menace, he has to learn the importance of how his choices will always have consequences that affect him and the world around him.
The story, at first, will feel extremely fast-paced. And in my opinion, that’s a good thing. The fast pace of the story and the way it unfolds immerses you into how exactly Peter Parker’s life is unraveling and helps the audience understand Peter’s current mindset at that particular moment in time. It has a more fantastical and comic book approach to the story than the other Spidey films, which often felt more grounded in reality in the MCU. One of my primary concerns was the potential for this film to lose itself in the nostalgia and use fan service as a crutch for its success, but thankfully, that did not come to pass.
The main cast did a phenomenal job as the characters they portrayed. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker stood out with the incredible spectrum of emotions and the amount of development his character goes through throughout the film. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon stood out in their own right as they managed to correct one of the most significant issues with Spider-Man: Far From Home, giving Ned and MJ a proper character arc with some character development.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange served his purpose, not only as a mentor to Peter but as a guide to the audience when addressing the concept of the Multiverse and setting us up for something far more critical down the road.
Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina stole the show for me as Norman Osborn and Otto Octavius. Two incredible actors returning to reprise the roles that cemented them as legends in CBM history was just a visceral experience to me. One particular fault I found with the villains was a sense of 1 dimensionality with a number of them. Jamie Foxx’s Electro could save a bit of his performance near the end, but Rhys Ifans and Thomas Hayden Church sadly did not reach the level of expectations I was hoping for them.
Directorial-wise, I tip my hat towards Jon Watts for being able to pull off an impossible task, deliver a Spider-Man film that ALL FANS CAN ENJOY. There were moments where you could feel the Sam Raimi cinematography and the Marc Webb VFX work, and Watts managed to pay homage to so much of the previous iterations of the Spider-Man franchises. So my commendations to Jon Watts, his crew on both the production and the post-production for creating a visual masterpiece.
Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home was a great success. It’s undoubtedly the greatest Live-Action Spider-Man film brought to the big screen. I’m still debating on whether it takes the place of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as my #1 favorite Spider-Man film of all time. I would also place No Way Home on my top 5 MCU projects ever.
And lastly, please stay after the credits have rolled. The two post-credit sequences are some of the most phenomenal scenes I had ever seen for a Marvel project.
This film will serve as a springboard, not just for Peter Parker’s story moving forward but for the MCU and the Marvel Multiverse overall. Marvel’s Pandora’s Box has opened, it’s self-sustaining, and there’s no stopping it now.
My rating for this film:
★★★★½ / ♥♥♥♥ ½
* Rating scale is out of 5 stars (filmmaking & storytelling quality) and 5 hearts (love & entertainment value)