‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ review: The Endgame of Spider-Man
It’s been a few weeks since Spider-Man: No Way Home came out, and that has allowed me to give the movie a bit more time than I usually would give to any other Marvel film. After all, NWH was a spectacle, to say the least, which deserved our attention. And the best way to sum up Spider-Man: No Way Home is to call it the Endgame of Spider-Man. So, here’s our review of NWH, and it has a LOT of spoilers. If you still haven’t watched NWH, firstly, you should stop right here, and secondly, what are you doing with your life?!
What I liked about Spider-Man: No Way Home
Tom Holland’s best Spider-Man movie by far
Right off the bat, the first thing that I would say about Spider-Man: No Way Home is that this was Tom Holland‘s best performance as the web-slinger by far. The range of emotion that he displayed in that movie was exquisite and captured the complexity of the situations that he found himself in. His reactions to the death of Aunt May were heart-breaking. Moreover, his chemistry with Zendaya was off the charts as well. Their romance is arguably the cutest that any Spider-Man couple has ever looked on the big screen and we dearly hope to see more of it in the future. Basically, he truly showed the range of emotions that he is capable of showing as an actor and it shows great promise for him as an actor even after he leaves Marvel.
Moreover, we really got to see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man show his ingenuity and quick thinking while facing adversity. As he was battling Dr. Strange in the mirror dimension, facing the full wrath of the sorcerer, Spider-Man came on top only based on his knowledge of geometry and not raw power. And that is what makes the character so lovable, as he always finds a way out of tricky situations when the odds are stacked against him. Furthermore, his conflict with Dr. Strange of saving the villains from other universes by fixing them was something congruent with his personality. They were not his responsibility, yet being the hero that he is, he could not leave them to their own fate. And all that was massively complemented by that ending of NWH, but more on that later.
The chemistry between Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, and Tobey Maguire
Secondly, the way all three Spider-Men interacted with each other was just exquisite. None of them were trying to be something they’re not, but most importantly, Spider-Man: No Way Home redeemed Andrew Garfield‘s Spider-Man. By all means, his version of Spider-Man was the most accurate and true to the one that is seen in the comics. And that is the reason for the massive amount of love Andrew Garfield is getting on Twitter, with even fans calling for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to be given the green light with Garfield at the helm.
And as a fan of the Sam Raimy trilogy, it was just lovely to see Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man again, albeit an older version of the character with more back problems. Nevertheless, he brought his own charm to the character. And when the three of them teamed up to face the villains, it was nothing short of perfect. But, the two of them were not the only ones who stole the show in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina stood out as Green Goblin and Doc Ock
Apart from the Spider-Men, the NWH villains were also brilliant. But, only two truly stood out with not just their brilliant performance, but their well-written characters as well. And they were Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octavious, and Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin/Norman Osborne. In Doc Ock, Molina brought in the true conflict within his character of being controlled by his mechanical tentacles. And as soon as Peter Parker fixed him, you saw the humble and genius man inside him resurface. Even in the Sam Raimi trilogy, he was one of my favorite actors/characters in the movie. And in Spider-Man: No Way Home, he brought the same brilliance back in the MCU.
On the other hand, we have the brilliant Willem Dafoe with a masterclass as Norman Osborne. He is arguably the finest actor to ever grace the MCU and he truly stood out as the most sinister villain of them all. Not only did he encapsulate pure evil as the Green Golbin, but he also out-witted all his opponents. And it’s because of him that Spider-Man had to make the ultimate sacrifice. Which, of course, brings us to the ending.
The ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home was perfect for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man
The ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home is what truly stole the show. For years, people had criticized Tom Holland’s Spider-Man for being too “spoilt”. Unlike past and most renditions of the character, he barely had to face any financial troubles. Moreover, he had all the support of the Avengers and especially that of Tony Stark. Basically, the shadow of Iron Man was too “stark” on Holland’s Peter. But NWH deals with it perfectly in the end.
With the ultimate sacrifice of letting go of everyone he loves by being erased from his memory, Peter Parker now has to restart life from scratch as Spider-Man. That is a huge loss, the likes of which very few in the MCU have had to endure. In short, this was Tom Holland’s origin story, in a way. But, that does raise many questions for him in the MCU. Will Kevin Feige now start another trilogy for Spider-Man? Is this the end of the journey for Tom Holland in the MCU? I really don’t think the latter is possible because everyone wants to see how he perseveres through this all by himself. I dearly hope we get to see more of him under these precarious circumstances. This is the opportune moment for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to truly shine.
What I didn’t like
The dialogues and the jokes…
That said, this was by no means a perfect movie. And the one Achilles heel of Spider-Man: No Way Home were the jokes. Now, Marvel comics as well as the MCU are known for their excessive jokes. It’s a part of their brand. But, it felt like they went overboard with the jokes in NWH. And no, this isn’t nit-picking. I’ve watched Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, arguably two of the best movies in the MCU, and which share a similar theme with Spider-Man: No Way Home. And those two movies had their own share of untimely jokes as well. But, it felt like they respected the moment and the emotions they were trying to convey. But the writers of NWH failed to do that.
The one scene that stands out in all this was the death of Aunt May. May had just died at the hands of Green Golbin, and moments later we were seeing Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield were joking just moments later. Remember, this was the “Uncle Ben” moment for Holland’s Peter Parker. Yet, the jokes just diluted the gravity and severity of the situation. It was truly traumatic for Peter to see Aunt May die in her arms and instead of arranging for her burial and final rights, he had to run away from the scene to avoid getting caught. And yet, the writers saw fit to add some jokes in such a traumatic moment. Sadly, this was one of quite a few such instances and I wish Marvel could just tone down the jokes a bit. It only diminishes the emotion of the scene.
Moreover, apart from fan service, the jokes totally dominated any dialogues that the movie had. There aren’t any words that stand out for me in terms of the dialogue and I believe the jokes may have played a major role in that.
Marvel needs to tone down the CGI
Now, this isn’t a criticism of Spider-Man: No Way Home alone, but of Marvel as a whole. As much as CGI has improved over the past decade, it has now gone a bit overboard for me. To see Willem Dafoe wear a CGI suit just felt so artificial. And in the original Sam Raimy trilogy, we saw Doc Ock wear actual mechanical arms. But all of that was replaced with CGI arms and it just felt like it took away from the genuineness of the movie. I believe in this department, Marvel can learn from filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve and Christopher Nolan. I believe Marvel should try to master the use of special effects instead of rampant CGI.
Final verdict – a wonderful, yet flawed, love letter to Spider-Man
Finally, what I would say is that this movie was a true love letter to Spider-Man. The ending, concept, conflict, and acting were on point by almost all of those involved in the film. And despite the flaws, it was a wonderful movie that took you through a journey, of nostalgia and redemption. Keeping all that in mind, I would give Spider-Man: No Way Home a healthy 7.5/10. If only Marvel had tuned down the jokes and focused on making more meaningful dialogue, this rating would have been considerably bigger.