“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is officially in theaters, and unofficially one of the best Spider-Man movies out of the nine films that Sony has had their hand in.
Obviously spoilers ahead.
“Spider-Man: Far from Home” ended with the world finding out that Peter Parker is Spider-Man (insert Jake Gyllenhaal insult here). In the beginning, Peter tries to navigate high school with his identity revealed (and while The Daily Bugle is stoking flames in an Alex Jones sort of way). But when himself, MJ and Ned get rejected from MIT because of the Spidey controversy, he pays a visit to Dr. Stephen Strange. Strange agrees to help the world forget that he’s Spider-Man, but Peter keeps adding people who should remember, which causes the spell to go wrong and the multiverses to bleed into each other.
Peter encounters five of the villains from previous Spider-Man franchises (Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Sandman, Electro and Lizard) and captures them pretty fast. But before Strange can send them back to their universes, Peter heeds his aunt May’s advice that these villains need a second chance. Things go awry after Peter is helping Dr. Otto Octavious with his microchip, and Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin turns on the group.
Here’s the first big spoiler. The Goblin causes May to die. The Marvel universe never got an Uncle Ben, so even though they killed Peter’s father figure in Avengers: Endgame, I guess someone decided the kid hadn’t suffered enough. Tom Holland displays his acting skills in this scene so well. A drawn out, heart wrenching few minutes solidified him as the best live action Spider-Man, in my opinion.
This scene is quickly juxtaposed with the introduction of Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire being fun and goofy in Ned’s kitchen.
Once all three Spidies meet up and talk about how they’ve all lost someone, and lost themselves along the way (it feels like a nod to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Peter Parker), Holland’s Peter decides to go forward with May’s idea to fix the villains.
After a cute montage of the three of them working on cures for the villains, we make it to the final fight location – the Statue of Liberty that’s getting a Captain America shield attached to it for some reason. While waiting for the villains to arrive, there’s a scene that feels like the producers felt like cutting it, but decided it was too funny and sweet to cut. Maguire is the only Spider-Man whose body produces webbing, and obviously Garfield and Holland want to know how that works. The brotherliness of the conversation felt really genuine, but it’s cut short when the villains arrive.
Learning to work together isn’t easy for Maguire and Garfield’s Peters, but after some mishaps the three regroup and cure three of the four villains left – with only Osborn left to battle. From this point on, only two scenes during the battle are really noteworthy.
The first was hinted at in the trailer. MJ falls off the building in a shot that is almost an exact copy of when Gwen Stacy falls off the building in “Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Holland’s Peter goes after her, but is knocked to the side. Garfield’s Peter dives after MJ, scooping her up in his arms instead of slinging a web to catch her like he did for Gwen. MJ survives when Gwen didn’t, and you can see the guilt that Garfield’s Peter still feels about what he did to the love of his life. Even just typing a basic explanation of this scene has me tearing up.
The second scene is the showdown between Holland’s Peter and Osborn. The scene was scary. Peter is pummeling Osborn. As Peter lifts up Osborn’s glider with the intention to impale him on it (throwback to his death in “Spider-Man”) Maguire stops him by placing himself between the two. Even with no words exchanged between the two, the viewers can tell what’s going through their minds. “Don’t do this.” “Aunt May wouldn’t want this.” “Don’t be a killer, Peter.” Peter lowers the glider, only for Maguire’s Peter to be stabbed in the back – literally – by Osborn. Garfield’s Peter quickly throws Holland the cure for Osborn and in the end Maguire is fine.
In the background of all of this, Strange is trying to make sure the universe doesn’t fall apart due to the spell from the beginning of the movie. The only solution is to go forward with the original spell. Everyone has to forget who Peter is.
This was a really interesting move on Marvel’s part, in my opinion. Not only does Peter lose his support system of his girlfriend and best friend, none of the remaining Avengers remember who he is anymore. It essentially cuts off a future between Spider-Man and any of the main MCU movies or shows. It does leave open the possibility of Sony crossovers, though. I’m not going to get into the Sony/Marvel contract stuff because it’s complicated, but this article does a decent breakdown.
The first end credits scene implies that the next Spider-Man movie is going to have Tom Hardy’s Venom in it, which is another Sony franchise that’s in partnership with Marvel. Venom’s end credits scene also referenced the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home, so I feel like it’s basically confirmed.
I think this movie has a chance at being the highest grossing movie post-pandemic, and for good reason. It gave everything fans wanted, without giving in to too much fanservice. Go see this movie.