The Reel Review
Picking up from 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, when the superhero’s identity is revealed to the world, Peter Parker asks Doctor Strange to cast a spell to hide his identity, in this latest Marvel fantasy/action film starring Tom Holland, Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch. The spell goes horribly wrong, ripping open the Multiverse and unleashing Spider-Man’s previously conquered villains back into the present day.
With a clever, Inception-like story that pulls together a slew of characters from the prior Spider-Man films, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the franchise’s answer to 2019’s epic Avengers: Endgame. Director Jon Watts loads his well-paced saga with acrobatic action sequences that pay nice homage to prior films. But it is the performances across the board – in particular, an outstanding Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei – that are the hearts of this film. If Oscars were given out for tears alone, this cast would clean-up. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon have solid chemistry with Holland’s Spider-Man. Benedict Cumberbatch is hilarious as the dry-witted Doctor Strange.
Yes, the far-fetched premise is a bit out there, even for a Marvel superhero fantasy film and there are special moments that only fans who’ve seen all the prior films will get. But in addition to its fan service, Spider-Man: No Way Home also has heartfelt messages about redemption, surviving devastating personal loss and second chances, all of which resonate loudly in our current, politically divided, pandemic era. After a lackluster Spider-Man: Far From Home, this sequel succeeds in being the introspective and massively entertaining crowdpleaser that Spider-Man fans deserve.
• Tom Holland helped save Spider-Man: No Way Home from cancellation by forcing renegotiations between Sony and Disney, to ensure that this and future Spider-Man films still take place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as Sony’s own Spider-Man franchise.
• Spider-Man: No Way Home is the first film to break $1 billion in global box office revenue since the COVID pandemic began.
• Tom Holland and Zendaya have reportedly recently rekindled their off-and-on romance, which began while filming 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first in this latest Spider-Man trilogy.