By Jack McLaughlin
It’s no secret to anyone I know that I am a passionate fan of the Spider-Man movies. I’ve rewatched the Tobey Maguire trilogy more times than I can count, and have even gone as far as to have a shrine dedicated to him in my bedroom with copies of the movies I find at Savers.
This series has had an important impact on me, and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the ultimate culmination of all the things I love about them.
The Tom Holland Spider-Man movies up to this point have been serviceable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but “No Way Home” felt like the first of the three that truly told a Peter Parker story.
Following the events of “Far From Home,” Peter Parker’s identity has been revealed to the public, and he seeks the help of Doctor Strange to cast a spell that makes everyone forget that he’s Spider-Man. After botching the spell, a familiar mix of heroes and villains from different universes start appearing.
This is by far the best performance Tom Holland gives as Spider-Man. After five years in the role, he shows more confidence than ever before. He finally gets the chance to shine without being in the shadow of Iron Man like in his previous appearances.
The first villain introduced is Doc Ock, portrayed by Alfred Molina. He captures his energy from “Spider- Man 2” and delivers a proper continuation of his role without compromising his redeemed character arc in this film.
Jamie Foxx returns as the quick-witted Electro – an improvement to his original appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” His role is light-hearted, constantly poking fun at the absurdity of himself and the other villains around him, like the Lizard. A highlight is when he casually talks to Sandman about how he got his powers by falling into a vat of electric eels.
The most impactful performance of all is Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin. Though strikingly similar to his first appearance in the 2002 film, director Jon Watts somehow made the Goblin even more menacing.
His first fight with Peter demonstrates the abundance of sinister energy Dafoe brings to the
performance, giving us the most intense scene we’ve seen in a Marvel film to date.
Just as we think the story is taking a break, it suddenly introduces the two previous incarnations of Spider-Man, played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield respectively.
This was the best surprise by far, and caused theater-goers to break into a wild applause unlike anything I’ve seen from an audience.
Both of the Spider-Men have great chemistry with Holland, and all three get the chance to have fun, nostalgia-inducing character moments together before they team up for the big finale.
As a Tobey fan, seeing Maguire on-screen alone was worth the price of admission, but I left surprised that he was not the standout performance
Andrew Garfield has the important task of redeeming himself after his two outings as the character didn’t exactly sit well with fans and critics alike.
After seeing it four times now, I can safely say he steals the show and gives us the most entertaining performance of the two returning heroes.
Garfield's iteration of Peter Parker focuses on where he’s been since the tragic ending of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and shows a character who has gone through an emotional journey that we don’t get to see, but can perfectly visualize because of his performance.
The finale is a delight for any fan with tons of references and character moments that were satisfying to see play out on-screen. My favorite of these is the reunion between Doc Ock and Maguire’s Spider-Man, who get a sweet moment of brevity packed with references to “Spider-Man 2” that genuinely felt like two old friends reuniting after years.
It concludes with the door open for more stories featuring Spider-Man and the ever-growing
possibilities of the multiverse. After this, I know I’ll be there day one for whatever is next for Spider-Man.
Rating: (A) An amazing appreciation of Spider-Man’s legacy.