Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon all return in their respective roles as Peter Parker, MJ and Ned Leeds. (Image via Instagram/@spidermanmovie)

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Lives Up to the Hype and More

The movie of the year has finally come to the big screen as it has taken over the world. Now that some time has passed, it’s time to analyze where this movie stands.

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Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'

The movie of the year has finally come to the big screen as it has taken over the world. Now that some time has passed, it’s time to analyze where this movie stands.

Warning: Spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ahead!

The wait is finally over. After years of furious rumors and speculation accompanied by pure excitement, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” hit theaters and is quickly becoming one of the most popular movies of all time as it continues to destroy box office records and enamor fans around the world. It would be an understatement to describe the film as a love letter to the character — it is a thank you to the many Spider-Men who have shaped our culture. Although this movie faced some insurmountable expectations, it somehow lived up to them all and then some. Now that a bit of time has passed, it’s time to digest and review “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

The Return of the Spider-Men

Let’s get right into it. Everybody knows why this film was expected to be so special. For over a year now, rumors saturated the internet, hinting that former Spider-Men Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would reprise their roles in this multiversal movie. As everybody that watched the film now knows, this wish came true, and audiences shed tears around the world because of it.

Garfield especially nails his respective Spider-Man. While his movies were the most criticized in the franchise, “No Way Home” managed to amplify all of his eccentric attributes and add depth to the weakest dimensions of the character. His exuberant nature was more visible than ever, his villains were far more complex, and Garfield’s love for the character shined through. His “moment” was saving MJ, but the most memorable part about Garfield’s performance for me is how he screamed “Peter Three!” while he and the other Spider-Men planned their attack. It’s not a special piece of dialogue, and it’s only two words, but the way Garfield delivers this line is just a beam of light shining through his personal love for Spider-Man.

Seeing Maguire back in the role of Spider-Man was nothing short of a “pinch me if I’m dreaming” moment. For many avid MCU fans, this Spider-Man is perhaps the first superhero they saw on the big screen. As a highlight of so many childhoods, Maguire does what he needs to do. His lack of knowledge about the Avengers, his reunion with Doc Ock and saving Holland’s Spider-Man from killing Norman Osborn are highlights of his performance.

However, to be honest, I feel as if they could’ve done a bit more for the character. He did not seem to receive the same “moment” that Garfield got in saving MJ. They arguably failed to establish him as the more experienced, grounded Spider-Man. Also, he did not wear his mask nearly enough, which robbed fans of a clearer look at the iconic outfit and how Maguire’s Spider-Man grew to fight. It seems that where they lacked in Maguire’s adaptation, they made up for it with Garfield’s.

The Villains

Are there even words to describe not only the nostalgia for the returning villains, but the actors’ performances themselves? Alfred Molina as Doctor Octavius recaptures the poetic pain and ends his arc as he becomes the hero he wished to die as. Willem Dafoe somehow further emphasizes Green Goblin’s already established psychotic rage and lust for chaos, giving a bone-chilling, horrifying performance in the process. Somehow, they managed to bring Jamie Foxx’s Electro from the ashes and resurrect him as a charming, relatable, badass adversary. The villains were perhaps the highlight of the movie even without nostalgia-tinted glasses. What they managed to bring together and execute so well all at once is admirable.

If there is one thing to criticize, it would be that I hope the inclusion of these characters doesn’t mean that Holland won’t face his own versions of them in the future. There is so much to be done with a rising Norman Osborn in New York City, as Spider-Man is forced to know the dark truth that from a different universe, Osborn is a rampaging terrorist who killed his beloved Aunt May.

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man

Every single criticism directed toward Holland’s Spider-Man was resolved by this movie. His character arc was brought to a close and made the previous two installments of his franchise better. He experienced the heartbreaking trauma of losing Aunt May as she uttered the famous line, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” He sacrificed his ego and life so his friends could accomplish their dreams.

Despite the world turning against him, he took initiative to not only save the city from his mistakes, but he tried to cure the villains that his contemporaries once helped kill. Most of all, Holland delivers his best performance yet as Spider-Man rises to become a battle-tested, independent hero with the experience of defeat, loss and sacrifice. The last shot of him swinging through New York City — where everyone still thinks he’s a murderer — still on his way to help others, speaks for itself.

 

Most of all, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a moment for the entire world. The web-slinging, wall-crawling hero of the film brought the world together for the first time in a long time amid the never-ending turmoil of the last couple of years. The crumbling political climate, the pandemic, war and the deaths of so many beloved people contributed to a world where it seems everybody is experiencing pain in the present and fear of the future. While the bleak, dark clouds weigh over the heads of society, people have been looking for an ember of light, hope and even the simple pleasures of fun. The irony of watching fictitious characters save worlds on the big screen is that they also bring humanity together in real life. It has been so beautiful to see everybody gather in excitement for this movie and more than satisfied with its release.

While people have been desperate for politicians, leaders, etc. to make a change that can bring society back to its feet, only a superhero movie could give us a glimmer of happiness, distraction and boost the morale of billions of people across the world, even if it is just for a couple of days. As humanity seeks healing, it’s things like this that remind us all we are not that different from each other. Deep down, we are all kids playing with action figures and dreaming of the stars. Things like this will help bring happiness back to a world that needs it now more than ever. More than anything,  “Spider-Man: No Way Home” gave the world something to agree on and be happy about; this movie is exponentially awesome in every sense of the word.

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Daniel Buccafusca

East Stroudsburg University
Psychology & English (Creative Writing)

A versatile creative and professional racecar driver looking to be the best person I can be.

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