Spider-Man: No Way Home - A Spoiler Review of the Most Epic Spider-Man Film

 I was not sure if Spider-Man: No Way Home could live up to all of the hype surrounding it, but I think it exceeded my expectations by doubling down on our emotional attachment to Peter. The villains and the reveals ended up being what was predicted, but I did not expect the film to be as emotional as it was. Not only did the movie work inside its own trilogy, but it will make going back and watching the other five live-action Spider-Man films more interesting. This is a spoiler review so if you do not want some important details spoiled then please stop reading now. Unlike Eternals which after it was screened spoilers started coming out, I feel No Way Home managed to keep the rumours quiet, some of that also might have been a wearier audience who wanted to avoid spoilers. I think Spider-Man managed to keep the surprises as hidden as they could, but with so much attention on the film, it was always going to be a losing battle. With Eternals, the secret had been kept throughout filming but was ruined by people that saw a screening of the film and then decided to run stories about the reveal. In my spoiler review of Eternals I liked the reveal but the effect of it was ruined by the spoiler. Even though we had all heard the rumors for No Way Home the reveals still had the thrilling and exciting effect they intended. SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS POINT AND ONWARDS.

The way No Way Home revealed the additional Spider-Men appearing in this film was awesome, having Ned earlier in the film drop a line about his family having a magician in it setup everything. That little line drop worked so well, when Ned unknowingly opens a portal using Doctor Strange's sling ring, we see a Spider-Man standing there and I thought it worked well within the context of the film. The reveal that the Spider-Man who comes through the first portal was Andrew Garfield was perfect, Garfield has long denied that he was in No Way Home, so it was fun to see him be proven a liar. Garfield's introduction also had the fun back and forth between MJ, Ned and him about him proving he is Peter Parker. The Tobey Maguire reveal was not as surprising, but it was still good to see him and there was something so calming about his presence. It felt good to both Maguire and Garfield again, I think Garfield might be my favourite Spider-Man, but I always had issues with Maguire. My issue with Maguire was that I always felt he was too old to play the role, he captured the down on his luck Peter Parker perfectly, but he struggled with showing the fun that Spider-Man was having. Tom Holland is the most believable Spider-Man, he looks the right age and because of the look I but everything he goes through. No Way Home delivered with great action, humor and some really strong dramatic work from the entire cast, I will be doing a ranking of all the Spider-Men films and this one will be near the top. 


The film opens where the Far From Home post-credits scene left off, Spider-Man's identity was revealed to the public and he was being labeled a murderer. The opening sequence featuring Peter (Tom Holland) and MJ (Zendaya) frantically trying to find an escape from all of the chaos caused by the reveal. We see people trying to grab him, take photos and yell at him so he takes MJ home where he thinks they'll be safe. They make it home where they find out Happy (Jon Favreau) and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) have broken up, and Peter tries to distract them from what is happening, but he eventually reveals that his secret identity has been exposed. The police arrive and take May, Peter, MJ and Ned (Jacob Batalon) into custody, Peter is questioned about Mysterio's death. Peter tells them to ask Nick Fury since he was there to which the agent replies that Nick Fury has been off-planet for a year. Peter now has a lawyer who tells him everything will be okay for him, his lawyer Matt Murdock (Daredevil star Charlie Cox reprising his role from the Netflix show) then tells Happy that he is in trouble because of the Stark drones used in the attacks. 

Peter, MJ and Ned go to start their senior year of high school and it is absolute chaos now that everyone knows about his secret. They are applying to colleges and all three would like to attend a school together with MIT at the top of the list. Rejection letters start arriving for all three and it appears their connection to Spider-Man is the cause for this. Peter feeling it is his fault goes to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help, we learn that Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme since he disappeared for five years. Wong (Benedict Wong) has taken over as the Sorcerer Supreme for earth, and he tells Strange that he wants nothing to do with the spell Strange is thinking of. Wong opens a portal and leaves them, so Strange takes Peter to a crypt in the basement where he begins a spell that will make the world forget that Peter is Spider-Man. Strange starts the spell, but Peter keeps interfering as he does not want those close to him to forget. Peter's actions cause the spell to explode, but Strange is able to (or so it appeared) keep it together. Strange then points out that Peter could have appealed to MIT about his friends' status, so Peter chases after the MIT recruiter before she leaves New York. Peter finds her on a bridge, and he starts to talk to her before his Peter tingle goes off warning him of something being wrong. Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) appears on the bridge, and he is after Spider-Man, Doc Ock wants the "power of the sun in the palm of his hand" and he thinks Peter is preventing him from doing this. Peter gets the recruiter to safety before he subdues Doc Ock by hacking the arms and turning them against Doc Ock. The recruiter tells Peter that he is a hero and that she will help him, and his friends get into MIT. Just when everything seems good Peter's tingles goes off again and we see a Green Goblin bomb land on the bridge and go off. Through the smoke appears Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) aboard his glider, before anything can happen Peter is saved by Doctor Strange. 

Doctor Strange then opens a portal brings Peter and Doc Ock back to his crypt where he imprisons Ock in a cell next to Green Lizard (Rhys Ifans). Strange explains that the spell has backfired and that it instead has pulled people from other universes who knew Peter was Spider-Man into this one. Strange then tasks Peter with finding the rest and bringing them back to the cells so Strange can return them to their universes. Peter's first task is to go after Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), he gives Electro back his human looks and then he puts both Sandman and Electro in cells. Aunt May calls Peter and tells him she has located another villain, Peter rushes to save her only to find Norman Osborn (Dafoe) who is now normal but confused. Aunt May wants Peter to help Norman, she believes that he means well, but his mind is broken. Peter returns Norman to Doctor Strange's mansion where Strange immediately imprisons him. Strange starts to construct the spell that will send them back, but they argue that if are sent back they will die fighting Spider-Man (not completely true). Peter wanting to help them engages in a fight with Doctor Strange over possession of the magical device that will transport the villains back. Peter and Strange fight and Peter is able to tie Strange up and he leaves him in the mirror dimension. 

Peter sets about trying to help each of the villains become normal so as to save them from the fate that will meet them when they are returned to their universes. Peter brings them to Happy's condo where he has a Stark device that can be used to make things. The first attempt is to remake the inhibitor chip for Doc Ock, that will allow him to be in control of the arms rather than the arms controlling him. Osborn helps Peter and they successfully complete the chip and install it, Doc Ock has been fixed as he now has control again. Peter next tries to remove the electricity from Electro, they make a device that will pull it from his body. The device is added and starts to work, but it will take awhile so Peter starts on making a formula to restore Norman Osborn back to his full sanity. Though it turns out that Osborn is back to being the Green Goblin and he encourages Electro to remove the device and embrace his powers. Electro is swayed and he takes off the device and blasts Doc Ock out of the building, Sandman then escapes turning into a sandstorm. Green Lizard has been in a moving truck outside the building, and he decides to leave too. Peter and Aunt May are now alone with Green Goblin who beats Peter up, their fight destroys the building and they eventually end up in the lobby. May injects Green Goblin with the formula, but it does nothing and Osborn uses his glider to hit May. An explosion happens and Goblin escapes, Peter goes to May who says she is fine until she collapses. May tells Peter he was right to try and save them, she says "with great power, comes great responsibility" before she dies in Peter's arms. The police are closing in and Peter has to flee the scene, Happy causes a distraction outside that gives Peter a chance to escape. 

MJ and Ned are at Ned's place when they find out about May, they are worried about Peter, so Ned uses Doctor Strange's sling ring to try and open a portal to Peter. Surprisingly it works and Spider-Man is on the other side of the portal, he walks through and enters Ned's place. Spider-Man removes his mask, and it is revealed that he is Andrew Garfield's Spidey. Ned and MJ mistrust him since he is not their Peter, but he eventually proves himself by using his powers. Ned then tries again to open a portal to Peter and this time it opens, and Tobey Maguire is on the other side, he too walks through the portal into Ned's place. The Peter's talk and they realize that MJ and Ned's Peter must be hurting after May's death, so they ask where he goes when he wants to get away. MJ knows and they go to the rooftop of their high school where find Peter, they embrace him as he cries. The two other Peters appear, and they introduce themselves and offer their condolences to him. MJ's Peter tells the other Peters that they must go home, but they say they will help with the villains. The three Peters go to the school's lab where they all start working to save the remaining villains, in there they talk, and we realize they all share some emotional scars. Maguire's Spidey is still hurting that Harry Osborn who was closest friend turned against and was killed. Garfield's Spider-Man is still haunted by his failed attempt to save Gwen Stacy, since her loss he has never moved on. The Spider-Men complete their work and plan to lure the villains to a trap using the magical device as the bait.

They plan the trap at the renovated Statue of Liberty which is now holding a shield similar to Captain America's. They plant the various tech and potions in hiding spots while they wait for the arrival of their foes. The villains arrive one by one, and they quickly give Sandman the cure he desired which turns him back into a man, they also give Green Lizard a cure turning him once again back to Dr. Curt Conners. Electro gets the upper hand on the Spider-Men, but Doc Ock arrives, and he tricks Electro into believing he is evil once again. Doc Ock takes Electro and places the device which saps his electricity from him. Green Goblin arrives and MJ falls off the statue, but Garfield's Spidey is able to catch her before she hits the ground. Goblin has the device, but Strange comes back and takes it back but Goblin placed one of his bombs inside. The explosion breaks the device and releases the trapped spell, the multiverse has cracked open, and, in the sky, we see silhouettes of other villains of Spider-Man coming through. Peter though is busy fighting Goblin; he is taking out his anger on Goblin and is about to kill Goblin before Maguire's Spidey steps in front. Goblin then stabs Maguire's Spidey, but our Spider-Man injects Goblin with the cure.

Our Peter goes to Strange who is trying to keep the spell in check, Peter suggests what if Strange changes the spell to nobody remembers Peter Parker at all. Strange agrees that the adjusted spell might work and fix everything, but the cost will be high as nobody will remember Peter at all. Strange starts to work on the spell while Peter goes to say his goodbyes, he first speaks with his fellow Spider-Men. Peter then goes to tell MJ and Ned goodbye; he says he will find them and remind them who he is as they embrace. Strange finishes the spell and lets it go, the villains and other Spider-Men go back to their universes while our Spidey leave before MJ and Ned realize anything has happened. We jump forward a bit and we see Peter practicing telling MJ who he is, he goes to the coffee shop where she works, and they greet each other. Peter is nervous and fumbles his hello, Ned walks in and MJ and Ned open their MIT acceptance letters together. Peter sees how happy they are, he decides to just get a coffee from MJ and leave without telling MJ and Ned about their past together. Peter is next seen moving into a small apartment, he goes to Aunt May's grave where he finds Happy who also does not recognize him. The last we see Peter is as he puts on his new costume which he sowed together, and he goes web slinging down the street. 

The first post credits scene involves Eddie Brock and Venom talking to a resort bartender, they are trying to understand where they are. They start disappearing back to their universe, but we see a tiny part of Venom was left behind. The second and final post credit scene is essentially a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. There are some cool moments like seeing him and Wanda talking, we other realities and we see another Doctor Strange who has turned evil (the one from What If...?).


I am still shocked at the ending they chose, not only is the ending heartbreaking it also fits so well within the character's comic book situation. Peter Parker is a hero who seems to be always down on his luck, his personal life is always a mess, and it feels true to the comics that at the end of the movie Peter Parker lost everything except Spider-Man. There has never been a Spider-Man film with that type of ending, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 got very close with Gwen Stacy dying, but the end of the film featured Spider-Man taking on Rhino as the credits rolled. This film we see Spider-Man but the lead up was very sad, Peter is truly alone in the world now. It was a brave choice that was an ending to the trilogy, but it also gives fans something to look forward to if they end up doing more MCU Spider-Man films. Peter has always been the type of hero that has sacrificed his personal life in order to do what is right, and in No Way Home Peter sacrificed everything he had to save the world. I felt similar at the end of No Way Home to Captain America: The First Avenger, both featured our hero sacrificing their happiness to save others. It is easy to forget that Spider-Man is only 18 years old, he is a kid, and he has spent years of his life helping others. At times, I have found Tom Holland's Spider-Man a little whiny in all of the films and I remind myself if I was a hero as a teenager would I be any different. Captain America was an adult when he got his powers, he had maturity when he gained his abilities. The ending to No Way Home showed Peter maturing, not only did he give up everyone he also chose to let MJ and Ned be happy, he did not bring them back into Spider-Man's orbit.

No Way Home is not a perfect film, there were plot holes galore, but I am willing to overlook them because no movie this complicated is free of them. The one that bothered me the most was that when the spell backfired only villains who knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man were brought into this universe, but Electro did not know Spider-Man's identity. Electro even admits it later when he sees Andrew Garfield, he remarks that he was hoping Spider-Man was black. That was a great line, but it also exposed a plot hole in No Way Home. There is also the Venom plot hole, which is similar to Electro, in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage post-credits scene we learn that Venom was pulled into the Tom Holland universe. Venom until seeing Spider-Man on TV did not know Spider-Man existed and he definitely would not have known Spider-Man is Peter Parker. Will this plot hole ruin the movie for me, no; but it will be in the back of my mind every time I watch it. For the plot they did I did not see another way around the issue, unless they did not have Venom nor Electro appear. It would have been interesting if they had been able to get Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone to make an appearance in the film. I got the feeling that Tobey Maguire's Spidey has a good life, he says that he and his MJ made it work. I think it would have been great if they could have featured a scene of the three Spider-Man saving Gwen from falling to her death. I don't need that, but it would have been nice to see Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man get a better ending to his story. 

I keep going back to how nice it was to see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the Spidey suit once more, and I keep thinking I wouldn't mind seeing them again in another film. One of the best things about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was that we got to see different iterations of Spider-Man come together. No Way Home arrived second on that front, but because of our connections to Garfield and Maguire the payoff was better. There has now been an online movement for a third Amazing Spider-Man film, and while I really want more of Andrew Garfield's Spidey, I don't know how they could do it. Even if Garfield wanted to get back into the tights, without Emma Stone I am not sure there is a story to tell. I still want one, but Garfield would be very picky about the script being good before he would agree to return. I spent so much time talking about the heroes that I kind of forgot to mention the villains. Now I will say Sandman and the Green Lizard were given nothing to work with, but Electro, Doc Ock and the Green Goblin were all amazing. In Doc Ock's case, he was already so well developed in Spider-Man 2 that it was just great to see more of Alfred Molina's amazing performance again. I always thought Green Goblin was great in Spider-Man, but what they did in No Way Home added so much more. Willem Dafoe is such a great actor, and he stole so many scenes in this film, he was great at playing the broken Norman Osborn, but he was so sinister and intimidating as the Goblin. Jamie Foxx is an Academy Award winning actor, he delivered as Electro. The character of Max in Amazing Spider-Man 2 was kind of a let down, he was sad and lonely loser. In No Way Home, Foxx gave Electro so much charisma it is insane. The blue version we got in his first appearance sucked, as it took away from Foxx's performance. In No Way Home I think we got to see the Electro that fit so much better, I wish they had that version in Amazing Spider-Man 2.

I was thinking of a way to use Maguire and or Garfield again in the role of Spider-Man/Peter Parker, and I had an idea that I wish I could do something with, so I'll just share it here. I would a do a trilogy centered around either Garfield or Maguire, an older Spider-Man who will mentor a younger hero (Miles Morales). The first film of the trilogy will tell two stories that only intertwine near the end of the first film. We will see Miles' origin story and his early attempts at being a hero; we will see him trying to emulate his hero Spider-Man. We will also focus on Spider-Man and his life as Spider-Man as well as Peter Parker. If it is Garfield, we will see him meet MJ and their relationship will bloom and if it is Maguire, we will see his life with MJ. Eventually their stories will collide, and Peter will start to mentor Miles as the film will end. The second film will continue the relationship between Peter and Miles; but it will end tragically with Spider-Man/Peter dying at the hands of a villain (no idea who yet). The third film will follow Miles as he battles the villain as well as his grief, there will be a scene of him going to MJ so they can have each other. I know it is a very rough idea, but I think I laid a foundation that a more skilled writer could do something with. I skipped a lot of stuff in my explanation like Miles' personal life, but obviously, that would be a big part of the film. My idea is a combination of elements from Into the Spider-Verse and the Ultimate Spider-Man comics (which I never read).

My final thought on the film is that I think the film did a great honoring the character of Spider-Man and it left the MCU in the background. I was thinking No Way Home would be a very big part of what the MCU is currently doing and now I know that I was wrong. The multiverse is a big part of the film, but it was more or less wrapped up by the end of the film and there were no real things hinted at that were related to Shang-Chi, Eternals, Guardians, Thor or Black Panther. This was more or less a stand-alone story, yes, it is tied to the MCU, but it is not overly reliant on the other films that Spider-Man was not a part of. The Nick Fury reveal at the end of Far From Home was paid off in a throw away line of dialogue saying that the authorities know Nick Fury is currently off-world. If that was the biggest tease to something coming in the MCU than I will say I'm impressed at Marvel's restraint. I think with Doctor Strange's sequel looking in 2022 I was expecting more hints to the future of the MCU in this film. Based on the acting, script, action and enjoyment I had I am going to give Spider-Man: No Way Home a 9/10. I think it delivered a compelling story that left the audience surprised and moved, Tom Holland gave his best performance yet as Peter Parker. The supporting cast of this film all delivered and gave performances that I felt were better than I expected with Garfield, Maguire, Foxx, Molina and Dafoe being the standouts. I think Zendaya and Jacob Batalon also were great, but they were not given enough to blow me away like the other performers did. I will say Zendaya's MJ is becoming a favourite character of mine, she is not only smart, but her personality is something refreshing. I can see myself re-watching No Way Home a lot once it is available to buy digitally.

Thank you for reading and please let me know what you thought of No Way Home.

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