Opinion: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a heartfelt spectacle
Spoiler Warning!

Plank Article Lucas Rucker ’24

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the long awaited sequel to “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and was released in the United States on Dec. 17, 2021. The film was directed by Jon Watts, and stars Tom Holland, Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, Jacob Batalon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marisa Tomei, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Thomas Church, Rhys Ifan, Jamie Foxx, and J.K. Simmons.

The movie is about Spider-Man (Tom Holland) dealing with the consequences of the previous movie, where his secret identity, Peter Parker, was revealed, which ultimately ruined his reputation and the lives of his friends and family. 

Peter tries to fix this situation by asking Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberpatch) to cast a spell that would erase his real identity from the minds of everyone in the world. The spell malfunctions when Peter tries changing it. Instead of erasing people’s memories, it starts bringing in those who know Peter is Spider-Man from every other dimension. From this point on, the movie follows Peter as he tries to redeem and heal the villains from other “Spider-Man” movies. 

At first glance, I thought this story was not going to work. “Spider-Man” movies are notorious for having too many villains, and I feared that this would drag the movie down. These concerns were exacerbated by the rumors of there being two other “Spider-Men” in addition to the one played by Tom Holland, which could further dilute the movie’s plot. I was almost sure that the movie was going to be a confused mess.

My low expectations were blown away, as it turns out the movie was not just competent, but at times truly excellent. That is not to say that the movie doesn’t have flaws, which it certainly does, but surprisingly almost none of those flaws emerge from the film’s ambitious scale and scope. I would definitely recommend watching this movie, and if you are a “Spider-Man” fan, it may very well be a dream come true.

From now until the end, this review will feature spoilers. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I would recommend skipping to the last paragraph.

The cast’s incredible performances were one of the movie’s highlights. Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin really stood out to me, and you could tell actors like Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, both returning as their respective versions of Spider-Man, and Alfred Molina, playing Doctor Octopus, were having fun in their old roles. 

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Rhys Ifan, playing the Lizard, and Thomas Church, playing SandMan, as it seems they recorded low quality voice lines without even showing up on set. Other than these two, the performances were wonderful. I was especially impressed by how each actor stayed true to his or her character’s personality from the original films without skipping a beat.

Another strength of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the writing and the overall plot. Some jokes didn’t land, but most worked for me. Aunt May’s death and the bittersweet ending really blew me away, as both were bold choices that I think really paid off. I think the general lack of fanfare for the returning characters was another bold choice, but worked as it helped make their entrance feel more natural. I found the banter between the three Spider-Men very charming, and the heart of the movie really shined through them.

The soundtrack was another really memorable aspect of the film because it featured iconic music from past “Spider-Man” movies. The amazing song choices really helped make the characters’ entrances into the film feel more natural. I found the use of Tom Holland’s theme song, which remained the same throughout the trilogy, especially memorable in this movie.

As for me, the best part of the movie was the ending. It felt like Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, after years of being a highly unorthodox interpretation of the character compared to previous Spider-Men, had grown into a more traditional Spider-Man. I’m excited to see where this takes him next.

Overall, this movie was very impressive. Watts managed to stay true to returning characters while still keeping their focus on Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and respecting his character while transforming it at the same time, which is why “Spider-Man: No Way Home” scores 6.16 Rucker Points out of a possible 7.13.