By Anna Berkowitz
Spider-Man: No Way Home expertly combines 20 years of Spider-Man films to make one of the best Marvel movies in recent years. Not to mention that it’s made over a billion dollars since opening amidst a pandemic. With a healthy dose of nostalgia and an eye towards the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director John Watts pulls off the epic feat of weaving three franchises together that were not created to overlap.
The large supporting cast, especially Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin – and yes, spoiler warning, Tobey Macguire and Andrew Garfield as our nostalgic Spider-Men – are excellent. And despite the wealth of characters, each is given enough screen time to make an impression. Like any good Marvel movie, it balances the right amount of humor, gravitas, and tragedy, supplemented with brilliant special effects and well-choreographed fight scenes.
The scenes between Peter, MJ, and Ned – Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon respectively – are lighthearted and witty, and act as a welcome break between some of the more action-packed and serious scenes. Unlike the previous two films, Holland gets a chance to showcase his more mature acting skills, and he is at his best as the film finally completes his transformation from a kid just trying to do good in his neighborhood to a fully fledged superhero.
While Marvel films can often fall into the inevitable third act, CGI-fueled, mega fight scene that can get a little dull, No Way Home avoids this well and gracefully manages to keep the audience engaged throughout the entire two-and-half-hour runtime. Beyond being an excellent action film and a great addition to the Marvel canon, the film highlights how hope and redemption can and should triumph over revenge and anger.
Additionally, returning Peter Parker to his Queens roots at the end of the film was an especially inspired decision by Watts, serving the dual purpose of bringing the character full circle after an epic trilogy whilst also paying respect to the origins of the character. After fighting monsters, aliens, and going to outer space, Tom Holland’s ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’ ends up in the same place he began, protecting the working class residents of New York.
Hi, I’m Anna Berkowitz. I’m from Berkeley, California, and I’m a General Course student, in my third year, studying International Relations and Literature. In the limited time that I have outside of the wonderful world of academia, I enjoy running, reading, playing flute, and spending all my money on cinema tickets and books. I love writing about new films, and tv, especially anything in the science fiction or fantasy genre. If you’d like to get in touch about anything at all, my email is email@example.com, and my Instagram is @anna.berkowitz