Review: A return to glory “Spider-Man: No Way Home” exceeds high expectations (Spoiler-Free)


Randeepxsingh, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This is the official poster for the theatrical release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Mitchell Wood, Sports Editor

After endless speculation and anticipation, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” finally swung into theaters on Friday, Dec. 17, setting a post-pandemic record and becoming the second highest opening-day earner in box office history.

For the first time in his cinematic history, Spider-Man is unmasked and stripped of the thing he protects most: his secret identity. Worlds collide as the high stakes of a superhero life engulf the humble life of high schooler Peter Parker and those he loves. 

Desperate to fix the lives of those closest to him, he and Doctor Strange attempt to restore his secret. Things go wrong, and the worst of Spidey’s rogues from different universes are unleashed with the stakes raised to all-time highs. 

This movie is a celebration of Spider-Man and brings together three generations of the character’s live-action interpretations in an experience debuting exclusively in movie theaters. 

Junior Jack Kilstrom’s excitement for the film was due in part to that exclusivity. “Seeing the movie in theaters is not something I take for granted,” he said. “The cinematic experience which theaters provide is made for movies like this one, the audience experience was unlike anything I had really ever experienced as a casual fan.”

The standout of such a jam-packed movie is its main star, Tom Holland. Making his sixth appearance as Spider-Man, Holland is clearly comfortable, as the heart and humor from the 25-year-old actor might just be the best he has ever put to screen.

Co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Balaton share astonishing chemistry with Holland and excellently portray a group of real high school friends. The relationship between Zendaya’s MJ and Holland’s Peter Parker is the heart of the film. 

A common complaint of Holland’s Spider-Man interpretation is the way in which the studio forced other standouts from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) such as Iron Man and the Avengers into his stories, making them feel less like Spider-Man stories and more like MCU chapters. 

The previous installment “Spider-Man: Far from Home” pushed this point to its limits, and it became evident that the studio desperately needed to re-evaluate the direction the character would be taken for the finale of the trilogy.

As so it became time for Spider-Man to truly realize what it means to be a hero. Though it seems strange to specify, this move is truly a Spider-Man movie.

It is no secret that A-list actors Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx returned to reprise their roles as some of Spider-Man’s most famous foes from the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield films. While their returns as Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Electro respectively were highly anticipated by fans, their presence in the film is not for the sole purpose of filling seats in the theater, as their characters help fulfill genuine parts of the story.

Dafoe elevates himself above his co-stars, with the actor making his return to his beloved interpretation of the Green Goblin after nearly 20 years of absence. It is almost as if in those years Dafoe had been patiently plotting his triumphant return to the iconic character. Menacing and not pulling any of his punches, Dafoe brings his all.

When Dafoe originally pitched the movie back in early development, he demanded that he would be able to take his role to its fullest. “To do this physical stuff was important to me,” 66-year-old Dafoe said. “I don’t want to just pop in there as a cameo or just fill in in close-ups. I want to do the action because that’s fun for me.” 

The film is short of perfect, though. Some messy visual effects and awkward directing choices do hold it back and can take viewers out of the experience. When compared to other movies in the MCU, the editing and camera shots tend to feel very similar. Lacking a real striking visual style, director Jon Watts left a little to be desired. 

Leading up to the highly anticipated release, fans have been left speculating about the possibilities of a multiversal-scale Spider-Man movie. Who would appear? What would the future hold? 

Well, finally, the world can find out and enjoy all of the surprises.

Senior Raksha Kumar got the chance to see the film on opening day. A long time fan of Holland’s Spider-Man, she is excited about what the future could have in store for more movies to come. “I loved the movie and enjoyed all of the fun references and moments it had in store,” she said. “In my opinion the future is bright for fans like myself in regards to what the studio does next with the character.”

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a fan and film experience unlike any other – and one you are not going to want to miss in theaters.