Spider-Man: No Way Home MOVIE REVIEW: amazing fantasy explores sacrifice, what it means to be a hero

SPOILER FREE REVIEW!!! (unless you don't already know who all the villains are in this film)

The nostalgia evoked by this poster was enough to drain my bank account

“With great power, there must also come great responsibility.”


This line is ingrained in my heart and has back-dropped my motivations and actions throughout my life. Simply put, Spider-Man is my role model for kindness and doing good even when it seems that such kindness may destroy you. This emotional connection is refreshed each and every time I sit in the theater to experience the latest trials of our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. However, I’ve not gotten this feeling from Spider-Man: Homecoming or Spider-Man: Far From Home. This isn’t to say they are bad films or that Tom Holland is a bad Spider-Man, but the magic of the character seemed a distant memory. Peter Parker didn’t experience sacrifice or consequences for his goodwill, since either Tony Stark or Nick Fury (?) were there to right the ship. This time, Spider-Man: No Way Home solidifies Tom Holland as the Spider-Man I know and love, closing out a trilogy with subtle magnificence that makes itself known when seen through hindsight as a long term origin story. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a meticulously curated story about the makings of a hero, the depths of sacrifice, and the empathy that exists within us all.


Picking up where we left off, Spider-Man suffers the consequences of avoiding responsibility

Performances

The ghosts of franchises past haunt this film in the best possible way. Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sandman, Electro, and Lizard are an interesting trip down nostalgia avenue that manages to avoid the bloatation that killed Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (though I maintain the excellency of the latter). Rather than slapping their appearances down as a fond memory turned commercial incentive, each character is given their own emotional arcs that continue beyond their respective films.

The villains add to rather than distract from a heartfelt story of empathy and loss

Alfred Molina and Willem Defoe are the obvious standouts here as they are (subjectively speaking) the most adored of the screen villains. I worried that these actors would "show up for the paycheck" but was delightfully surprised by the genuine human mom