It is December 15th, 2021 and it has been a few hours since I experienced ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home‘. Chances are I will publish this at a later date purely for chronological reasons but these are my actual first impressions of the movie without spoilers. There will be a spoiler extravaganza later on in the month but this is just a fresh perspective on what might be the best ‘Spider-Man‘ movie yet! Yes, even battling ‘Into the Spider-Verse’, it is THAT good.
Without spoiling a single thing, (which is incredibly hard to do), ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ did everything I wanted it to and more. My greatest fear going into this movie was that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man would be sidelined. It sorta happened in ‘Homecoming‘ and obviously even more so in the ‘Avengers‘ movies. This is why ‘Far From Home’ was my favourite entry of his, it was the first time I felt like I was actually seeing Spider-Man and not just the MCU version of him. This movie actually solidified him as Spider-Man. Thankfully, Holland gets to truly shine in this movie as this iconic character. While the movie has a blast showing off the cool surprises it has in store, it never once does so at the risk of losing interest in Holland’s Spider-Man. You are invested in his story before all of the Multiverse stuff starts happening and by the end, it truly feels like you are watching a proper Spider-Man movie and not an MCU Spider-Man movie. This trilogy genuinely feels like a gradual progression into the Spider-Man we know and love.
While the movie features Doctor Strange and acknowledges many MCU events, (actually who are we kidding, they only ever reference the last two Avengers movies now), the movie still feels grounded, Holland’s Spider-Man finally gets his own tone and his own voice. We get to see him roam around New York which weirdly enough is something he has barely done so far. I feel like if you take New York out of Spider-Man, it loses a bit of that nostalgic charm. Luckily we get to see and explore plenty of New York in this movie and it felt great. The iconic villains from previous ‘Spider-Man’ movies didn’t hurt in making this feel like an original ‘Spider-Man’ movie. Everyone was fantastic, they do what they do best and it was genuinely trippy seeing them interact. I’m still not totally sure on the logistics but I honestly don’t really care. Hearing the audience roar with excitement when Doc Ock and Green Goblin appeared in the bridge scene was fucking insane. Usually, audiences here do not interact with the movie. The most the last two ‘Avengers‘ movies got were gasps, silent crying and awkward applause at the end. Here, however, people were crying, clapping, screaming and cheering as loudly as possible. It was truly my favourite theatrical experience. THIS is what I mean when I say that movie theatres are the ideal way to watch a movie.
All of this being said, at the end of the day, what makes this movie feel like a Spider-Man movie is Tom Holland. We have seen him lose loved ones, mentors and parts of his life over and over again and this movie arguably challenges him the most but seeing him rise above it is what makes this story so emotionally rich. How far is too far till someone like Peter Parker feels broken down and unable to continue? This movie challenges that concept so fucking far, it’s actually insane. It’s why the third act is so emotional, it’s because all of these things that are happening, they are happening for a reason and they will shape Peter Parker into the hero he is destined to become. Every Spider-Man faces an incredible amount of loss, the loss that could ruin someone. Tobey’s Peter losing his Uncle Ben, Andrew’s Peter losing Gwen Stacy, Miles losing his Uncle, this character is shaped by loss. Spider-Man isn’t popular because of his cool suits and abilities, he resonates with people because he is resilient. He finds the good in himself and in others and uses that to move forward. Rewatching ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ before this movie really helped put that into perspective. Even ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ showcases this, it’s just never been portrayed so brutally and so effectively.
MINOR SPOILER FOR THE MUSICAL SCORE OF ‘SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME’.
Considering I can’t get into spoilers all that much, that’s all I’ll say about the plot. Moving on to the visuals, this is easily the most cinematic of the live-action Spider-Man movies. Every location was used to its utmost potential. Every villain’s entrance is so memorable, Electro and Sandman’s entrance might be my favourite purely because of the setting. I won’t say where they show up but it does involve a sunset and the change in atmosphere is unreal. In fact, I can’t express how much I appreciate a sunset/sunrise situation in a movie, it makes so much more of a difference and it’s used plenty in this movie. Of course, if we’re talking about tone, you have to mention the score and Michael Giacchino does as best a job as he can trying to make a cohesive score. There are definite musical highs in the movie where the score completely takes over as it wells up in emotion, however, in terms of giving this movie a signature sound while bringing back old themes? That’s where it fell a bit flat. Truth be told I haven’t heard the score alone but the moments where Giacchino includes old themes feel so half-baked and it’s because it doesn’t feel natural. Again I have to listen to the score by itself but in the movie, it felt abrupt and off. That’s probably the only nitpick I have as of now.
Overall, I genuinely cannot wait to experience ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ again and again. I haven’t felt this way about a live-action blockbuster in ages. I laughed, I cried (multiple times), I clapped and I cheered. THIS was the cinematic experience I was looking for. THIS is what I was missing when I said I miss movie theatres. I am working three ten-hour shifts this opening weekend and while I know all too well how exhausting it’s going to be, I’m honestly ecstatic to help people experience this movie.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is now showing exclusively in theatres.