The world has been abuzz over leaked behind the scene photos and possible appearances of previous Spider-Man actors for months. Spider-Man: No Way Home made its debut for critics and press across the country Monday night, giving a glimpse into what fans can expect from the film.
Currently, the film is 94% fresh based on 108 critics reviews as of Tuesday evening. Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the film as, “A bigger, bolder Spider-Man sequel, No Way Home expands the franchise’s scope and stakes without losing sight of its humor and heart.”
This is the eighth live-action solo Spider-Man movie and the third starring Tom Holland within the 27 movies currently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: No Way Home promises to be a culmination of everything fans have seen before. Somewhat literally, as the Multiverse brings in characters from other movies in the franchise for a nostalgic mash-up of sorts.
For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. When he enlists Doctor Strange’s help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in their world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse.
Here’s what critics are saying:
Justin Chang from Los Angeles Times says, “while the action ultimately turns as murky as in any Avengers epic, the smug, depersonalized air that often mars those glorified cinematic frat parties is notably absent. And for all No Way Home’s vertiginous heights and precipitous drops, few things here shake you more fully than the anguished closeups of Holland, in which Peter’s genetically modified strength — and his all-too-human vulnerability — are on tear-soaked, grime-smudged display.”
Esther Zuckerman from Thrillist says, “Spider-Man: No Way Home works better than it has any right to, but it also asks for emotional beats that fall short and seems to lose the thread on what made Holland’s iteration of this character charming. Does it matter? In the grand scheme of things, probably not. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a goliath that feels destined to eat the world, a potent combination of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe and nostalgia for what came before.”
David Fear from Rolling Stone agrees, “This is, in so many ways, business as usual, just another typical Spider-Man story filled with typical Spider-mannerisms, another chapter in the ongoing, ever-morphing, never-ending Marvel saga that’s more addictive than cocaine-laced M&M’s.
But when the movie decides to detour into cracked, buddy-comedy territory — that’s when the fun begins. Humor has always been a part of the Spider-Man movies; even the dourest Spidey story has jokes about the notion of a kid shooting sticky web out of his wrists.”
Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly also agrees, “what seems at first like pure fan service turns out to be some of the best and by far the most meta stuff Marvel has done, tender and funny and a little bit devastating. (There were audible sobs in the theater at an industry screening.) It’s also Holland’s last time in the suit (unless it isn’t); if and when Peter finds his way home, maybe this bigger, broader Spider-Verse will find a new way — or a new form altogether — to take him there.”
Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair said, “Holland is at least given some heavier material than normal, which he lifts with a superhero’s ease. Watching him stretch his emotive muscles does make one yearn for him to go exploring, shaking off this all too comfortable home for good and seeking his fortune elsewhere in the movie world. (And, one hopes, in sturdier fare than his recent two efforts off of the Marvel campus.) Holland has built a legacy that will long linger in the Spider-Man firmament; better he should place it on the mantle now than wear out his welcome. The odds of that actually happening are, of course, slim to none.”
Richard Roeper from Chicago Sun-Times said, “There’s nothing new or particularly memorable about the serviceable CGI and practical effects, but we remain invested in the outcome in large part because Holland remains the best of the cinematic Spider-Men, while Zendaya lends heart and smarts and warmth to every moment she’s onscreen. We continue to root for these two to make it, even if the multi-verse isn’t always on their side.”
Peter Debruge from Variety also seemed to like it and said, “Returning director Jon Watts — whose bright, slightly dorky touch lends a welcome continuity to this latest trilogy — wrangles the unwieldy premise into a consistently entertaining superhero entry, tying up two decades of loose ends in the process.”
John DeFore from Hollywood Reporter had this to say, “No Way Home does use its multiversal mayhem to address the only real problem with the Holland-era webslinger: the Iron Man-ification of the character, in which his already amazing powers keep getting overshadowed by the gadgets given to him by billionaire jerk-hero Tony Stark. This is the least fun of the Watts/Holland pictures by a wide margin (intentionally so, to some extent), but it’s a hell of a lot better than the last Spidey threequel, Sam Raimi’s overstuffed and ill-conceived Spider-Man 3.”
Alonso Duralde from TheWrap said, “The most superheroic feat on display might be the film’s ability to keep human-sized emotions and relationships front and center even as the very fabric of time and space twists itself into knots.”
Kate Erbland from indieWire agrees with the accolades and said, “The road to the closing moments of No Way Home — both warm-hearted and heartbreaking — might have hit a few bumps, but the darkness is worth it. After all, when was the last time the third film in a franchise got audiences truly thrilled for what comes next? Maybe there is no way home, but Holland, Watts, and company make a case for something else, something even better.”
Well, there you have it, it seems the critics are smitten, which should make for an impressive opening at the box office!