“Spider-Man: No Way Home” Review (Spoilers)


Kate Strunk, Social Media Editor

Marvel has always held a special spot in my heart since even before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was an idea we were accustomed to. Ever since I watched my first Marvel film, I knew these stories and characters would be a huge part of who I was.
Since then, a lot has changed about the way we view superheroes and the way we tell stories with them on screen. It is hard to overstate the impact that these movies have had on the world.
Arguably the most anticipated MCU event of the entire year was the release of “No Way Home,” the third installment of the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy. It had fans theorizing many months in advance about what might happen and keeping their eyes peeled for any kind of hint as to what might lie ahead for our beloved characters.
After an agonizing wait, fans got to see the amazing webslinger grace their screens again a little over a week ago. Critics and fans agree, what they saw was a beautiful (and occasionally tear jerking) story that had everything a Spider-Man fan could hope for.
Before I say any more, here is a spoiler warning for any fan who has yet to see this film.
The storyline of the film is actually quite complex involving the multiverse, magic, scandal, and even college admissions. If you’ve recently watched the last film in the MCU’s rendition of Spider-Man, you may remember that the last villain he went toe-to-toe with revealed Peter’s identity to the world by releasing a doctored video of him, making him appear as though he was responsible for a threat that involved the destruction of much of London and several other cities throughout Europe.
This is where we begin the film, watching the aftermath of this bombshell destroy Peter’s life. When the consequences of his supposed actions start to negatively impact his friends’ lives, he makes a trip to Doctor Strange who agrees to help him try to fix his situation by casting a spell to make everyone forget that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. Unfortunately, some changes to the spell cause the multiverse to briefly open, bringing people who knew Peter Parker from other realities into Peter’s.
Here’s the thing about Spider-Man: the character’s long history has resulted in many renditions and a bunch of legal red tape. Before Marvel had its own movie studio, they sold the movie rights for the character of Spider-Man to Sony and they made a couple of renditions starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Once Marvel had gotten big and realized they were missing one of their most popular characters, they decided they wanted a chance to bring Peter Parker onto the Marvel stage. Unfortunately for them, Spider-Man was now one of Sony’s most popular properties, so they weren’t going to let go of him easily.
Long story short, a deal was struck and now Spider-Man is on loan to Marvel Studios while still remaining a Sony property. Legal red tape aside, all renditions of the character have been insanely popular, so it seemed only natural to bring all of them together in what may be the best Christmas present Marvel fans could have ever received.
In the film, viewers got to see Spidey go head to head with not only past villains of the character, but fans also got to see him interact with the past Spider Men as well. My personal favorite part of the film were the absolutely adorable conversations the Peters have with one another, the two older ones acting as somewhat of older brothers to the youngest of the group (Tom Holland).
I have to admit, while I was a Spider-Man fan as a little kid, I was never very into the Sony Spider-Man movies and haven’t watched all of them, but seeing multiple generations bond over how special and formative this character was to them was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever experienced in a movie theater.
The way both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield seamlessly slipped back into their old roles and played aged up versions of themselves was inspiring, and I personally thought that the performances they gave were unparalleled by any of their previous performances as the hero.
Even though the sweet moments were my favorites, this movie definitely wasn’t light hearted overall. This movie sees the MCU’s Peter Parker go through some of his hardest heartbreaks yet. He was tormented by press and protesters for something he didn’t do, saw the passing of Marissa Tomei’s Aunt May, and, in a climactic ending to the film, Doctor Strange has to prevent the multiverse from opening by making everyone in the universe forget Peter Parker, most unfortunately, his girlfriend and best friend.
I can’t remember the last time I cried as hard at a movie as I did at this one. I found myself wishing I had brought tissues many times during this film. The heartwrenching ending had me crying well after I’d left the theater. For fans, these characters are like old friends and seeing them struggle is just as difficult as watching any real friend go through a hard time. To many, these aren’t just people on a screen; they are the people they can see themselves in.
There are many reasons why Spider-Man has been so popular for so long, but that is far and away the main one. Anyone can identify on some level with him, especially kids. He’s a teenager who, despite being able to scale walls and fight crime, is just as much a mess as the rest of us. He’s clumsy and awkward and late and he doesn’t always get the girl – the opposite of the Superman-type people grew to expect in comics and superhero movies.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands through Phase Four on an exponential level, “No Way Home” capped off the Spider-Man trilogy in a way that left me hoping to see Spidey grace the screen again sometime soon. I can only hope his next journey will be as epic and filled with callbacks as this one. Marvel knew just how much this movie meant to fans and did not disappoint, and this movie studio understands the phrase “With great power, comes great responsibility.”