As if this is even a question. The short answer is, yes. It is worth watching. It is worth watching multiple times. But I imagine that you’re reading this because you want something more than the ravings of a fanboy. You are wondering, “Does it live up to the hype? Is it worth the time invested?” Let’s examine the details and see.
I know we usually say this in all our reviews, but I am telling you now…SPOILERS AHEAD!! And for this movie, they are HUGE spoilers. I cannot accurately describe the awesomeness of this movie without giving away key moments that will horribly spoil the film. So, if you have not yet seen No Way Home, stop reading right now. I mean it. This is your last chance. Turn back now, or forever be committed to having knowledge you may not be able to handle.
Here we go. Beginning the review in three…..two….one…..
Double check. Are you SURE you have already seen No Way Home and are ready for spoilers? This is a time for conviction, not uncertainty.
Okay then. Here we go.
No Way Home picks up immediately where Far From Home leaves off. Mysterio has framed Spider-Man for his death and revealed to the world that Spider-Man is none other than Peter Parker. What follows is a series of unfortunate events. The public is divided, either fully believing Mysterio’s claims or completely defending Spider-Man as their friendly neighborhood hero.
Peter is either demonized or besainted in the view of the public, and this spills over into the lives of his friends, Ned and MJ. Feeling guilty that because of him, those closest to him cannot live normal lives, Peter seeks out the help of Doctor Strange, hoping there is a mystical way of making the world forget that Peter is Spider-Man. Doctor Strange agrees, but Peter accidentally corrupts the spell. Instead of making the world forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man, it begins bringing into the MCU people from other universes who already know that Peter is Spider-Man.
Again compelled by his sense of responsibility, Peter sets out to collect the beings from the other universes. Peter successfully traps them all, but he also learns that some of these men are destined to die fighting Spider-Man. If he sends them back, it will be to their deaths. Peter cannot live with that. He battles Doctor Strange and saves the villains, attempting to “cure” them of what makes them villains. One is successfully cured, but another is treacherous and convinces the rest of the villainous group to betray Peter.
Left in the trenches of tragedy, Peter gets some unexpected help from the Spider-Men of the other universes. In an epic battle royale, they are able to neutralize the villains and send them back in hopes that, free of their superpowers, they will have a chance at life. The win is not complete, however, because the only way to stop other villains from coming to the MCU is for the world to forget not just that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but forget that Peter Parker ever existed. Living up to the hero we know him to be, Peter agrees and tells Doctor Strange to erase him from the memory of the world. The day is saved, though no one will remember that Peter Parker — Spider-Man — was the one who saved it.
The Fan Service Moments
It is confirmed that both Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man not only appear in No Way Home, but they play prominent roles in the action. The special moments from the villains alone — from Green Goblin’s laugh to Lizard’s offer to give a makeover — were special and a nice nod to the plotlines of Sony’s other Spider-Man properties. But No Way Home takes it up a notch by allowing the three Spider-Man to interact. They are each uniquely their own Spider-Man, and yet, in other ways, so similar.
The pinnacle of this is when the three Spider-Men are standing on the Statue of Liberty having a casual conversation while waiting for the villains to arrive. So much about the interaction, the comradery–nay, the brotherhood–of the way these men talk to each other and discuss amazing things makes a touching part of the film. Holland and Garfield are curious about Maguire’s organic webs. Garfield bemoans that he is the only Spider-Man to have not fought an alien of any kind. Discussions about complicated romantic relationships, stiff backs, even awkward best friend issues give so much for fans of all the Spider-Man franchises to geek out about.
The Emotional Moments
These were things I was not ready for, and trying to explain the impact they have in words will not do the scenes justice. But I do want to point out one scene that I think deserves it’s own highlight. In the battle at the Statue of Liberty, MJ is knocked from the scaffolding and starts to fall. Holland moves to catch her but is yanked away the Green Goblin at the last second. Garfield leaps from his perch, dives after MJ, and in a heroic moment, saves her. He looks into her eyes and asks with breaking voice, “Are you okay?” as tears stream down his cheeks.
You may recall from Amazing Spider-Man 2 that Gwen Stacy fell from a tall height, and Garfield was unable to save her. This beautiful moment, where he is able to save MJ, is a moment of redemption for Garfield. In a way that still stings my eyes as I discuss it, he is able to make up for not being able to save Gwen. The significance of that moment and the fact that the writers would include it alone is worth whatever hoops they needed to go through to get this crossover.
The film has the occasional language issue, and there is a scene where May assumes that MJ and Peter were “having a moment” that they were not actually having. Outside of this, the content of the movie is clean. People die, and there is action violence, but not any more so than the other Marvel movies. If any of the past Spider-Man films have been acceptable for your family, then No Way Home will fit right in with the rest of them.
Just go see the movie. It is a love letter to everyone who has been watching these movies since the beginning. It’s not often that I can say a movie surpassed my expectations. This one, though, knocked them out of the park. It is worth every cent to see in theaters. While a refresher viewing of the previous films, especially Maguire’s and Garfield’s films, isn’t required, it would help to make sure some nods are not missed. Either way, it is a beautifully done movie and quite possibly Marvel’s best one to date.
For me I give 2021’s Spider-Man No Way Home, 10 Web-Cartridges out of 10!