Photo credit: MARVEL STUDIOS

Film Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home is a masterful crossover that stays true to the source material

Just a spoiler-free word of advice: you’ll really want to stick around for both end credits.

Alicia Ang

Strength: Memorising lyrics. Weakness: Having least 144 tabs open at all times.

Published: 16 December 2021, 1:52 PM

Spider-Man: No Way Home premiered in Singapore on Dec 15, and tickets (predictably) sold out fast during pre-sale. That was no surprise, as it was anticipated to be Marvel Studios’ biggest crossover since Avengers: Endgame. 

What might be surprising is the fact that even though it’s such an ambitious attempt, the movie is fantastic.

No Way Home follows Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, grappling with the aftermath of having his identity revealed by Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home. He approaches Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) to make everyone forget his identity, but tampers with the spell and causes villains from across the multiverse to enter his world.

The movie hinges on the idea of fixing your mistakes, as well as the classic Spider-Man theme of trying to help everyone even when it hurts you. As the old adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and we really see that shine through here.

No Way Home comes just over a month after Eternals, which premiered on Nov 4 in Singapore. Despite being almost as long- two hours and 28 minutes to Eternals’ two hours and 37- it feels much punchier, with the plot moving briskly and without too much exposition or dead space. The movie may be two and a half hours long, but all of it seems necessary to the plot.

The person that helps to sell the sheer scale of this crossover is Peter Parker himself. Tom Holland is the youngest of the silver screen Spider-Men (he landed the role at 19, while Tobey Maguire was 26 and Andrew Garfield was 30), and his youth helps to sell the premise. Though No Way Home deals with some insanely high stakes, you never forget that he’s just a scared teenager from Queens, New York, with too much on his shoulders.

The rest of the characters are just as good, with every one not only fitting in the movie, but calling back on the stories and character arcs of previous movies to make for a truly masterful crossover. 

MJ and Ned, played by Zendaya and Jacob Batalon, add a natural comedic flair even in heavy scenes. Their presence is grounding both to the audience and to our long-suffering Peter, and their chemistry as a trio is dynamic.

You’ll also see some hallmark Spider-Man villains make an appearance. Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and Electro were teased in the trailers for No Way Home, with Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Foxx reprising their roles from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films.

Notably, Doctor Octopus really steals the show. Though Spider-Man 2 was released back in 2004, Alfred Molina is just as convincing 17 years later. Like in Spider-Man 2, the character’s inner turmoil and Molina’s poignant acting add heart, depth and even humour to the movie.

The movie also plays with the concept of the multiverse. As we delve further into Marvel’s Phase Four, the multiverse will become a much larger part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It was set up as far back as Doctor Strange in 2016, established in the Loki series, and is further fleshed out here. 

Because of this, you can treat No Way Home as required viewing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is slated to come out in 2022.

In fact, you’re really going to want to stick around for the end credits. Without giving away too much, there are some more hints at said multiverse and what’s to come in future movies.

Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home is an ambitious crossover that succeeds in most, if not all, of the things it set out to do. Not only is it a great homage to the past Spider-Man series, it also sets the scene for the future of the whole MCU. 

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