entertainment

Spider-Man: No Way Home review - 'Tom Holland delivers possibly one of Marvel's greatest performances'

The British actor centres a Spider-Man instalment that sees the MCU at its most chaotic, writes Joe Passmore.

2021-12-15

Words: Joe Passmore

(This review is spoiler-free)

After being exposed as New York’s famous web-slinger thanks to Mysterio’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) sinister plans, Parker (Tom Holland) goes to his sorcerer friend and last hope Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to try to magically bend reality so that nobody knew his secret. When the spell doesn’t go to plan, this results in a multiversal mishap which imports some of Spider-Man's most menacing enemies from the past - enemies this Peter Parker has yet to meet…

With an array of iconic villains such as Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) all taking up screen time alongside Stephen Strange, Spider-Man himself as the usual supporting cast including girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), the movie has a lot to cover. We thought The Eternals was ambitious, but No Way Home brings us a whole new breed of pandemonium, as director Jon Watts juggles giving the spotlight to many popular characters.

No Way Home is definitely Marvel at its most chaotic, but for the most part, Watts pulls it off in a surprisingly coherent fashion. That’s not to say it doesn’t descend into messiness at points, as knowing what to do with each of these villains isn’t always seamless and sometimes feels confusing, but overall, enough boxes are ticked off to keep fans happy.

Holland has always been good, but here he takes Peter Parker beyond anywhere we’ve seen him before, giving possibly one of Marvel’s greatest and most complex performances to date. Peter possesses everything we expect from a superhero, but with a relatable core of emotion, humour and love – a balance that even some of the biggest superhero hitters can’t always get right.

The script is solid, though unfortunately, the Marvel humour is more on the hit or miss side than the last couple of movies - though that’s not to say there isn’t a fair share of major laugh-out-loud moments too.

The main issue with this adventure is that for a film of “surprises”, it falls a little more on the predictable side than we expected, partly due to too many hints and reveals from the trailers and marketing. The first half of the movie in particular plods a bit, but you’ll be gasping, cheering, laughing and don’t be surprised if you shed a tear or two as the second half makes up for it in all its fan-service glory.

All in all, Marvel continues its roll with another big phase 4 success. No Way Home isn’t always perfect, but has enough gags to make it a fanboy favourite.

Rating: 3.5/5

Spider-Man: No Way Home is in cinemas now.