Spider-Man: No Way Home review full of spoilers: “A masterclass”

No Way Home blocked the tricky landing.

sony

It’s next Avengers: Endgame. It’s bigger than Avengers: Endgame because it combines 20 years of movies, instead of 10. It’s the movie that will save cinema, and it features the best best friend handshake ever.

Get ready for all those hot takes and more here in CNET’s spoiler-packed global review of Spider-Man: No Coming Home. Tom Holland’s third Spider-Man movie is breaking box office records, and the reviews are, for the most part, rave reviews. These were Spider-Man’s bonanza years of crowd-pleasing and fan-service, and somehow it sticks to the landing.

Check out how CNET staff members reacted to Spider-Man: No Way Home below.

spoiler warning

“A Master Class”

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Spider-Man: No Way Home is a masterclass in balancing MCU Peter Parker’s story with nearly 20 years of legacy elements. Green Goblin is particularly intense, and Willem Dafoe is clearly having an amazing time being a total freak. Ditching the silly flight suit was a wise move; the new look allows Dafoe to do a lot of facials and brings him much closer to the horrible comic version of the character.

The arrival of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield Peters was beautifully timed, bringing hope in a super dark time. It was fun catching up with Maguire after 14 years – I was super relieved that he and MJ stayed together. However, Garfield reminds us that he’s the most talented actor to play the part (but got stuck with a messy movie in The Amazing Spider-Man 2); he overflows with charm every moment he is on screen.

–Sean Keane, London

“Best Track: Charlie Cox’s Perfect Matt Murdock Cameo”

David Lee/Netflix

Pretty much everything you’ve read about in the online rumor mills is in the film – even the now-iconic mid-air combat, which has its missing characters retouched. The upshot is that, just like with an Apple press event when all the news has been leaked ahead of time, the surprises aren’t really that surprising, though they’re still pretty cool.

All three Spider-Men do what they came to do, though I would have liked to see more Maguire-Garfield interaction as a pair of fish-out-of-water (universe?) heroes, and they could have recovered a bit of excess Happy Hogan screen time. One of the film’s best grace notes is how stunned the characters in the first two spider-verses are that magic (of the Dr. Strange variety) exists on Earth-616 (or is it Earth-199999? ). In fact, in the film’s denouement, Spider-Tom resets to something closer to those more grounded incarnations, complete with a hand-sewn costume and a seedy new neighborhood to patrol. Best Bit: Matt Murdock’s perfect cameo from Charlie Cox. Worst: They couldn’t find a place for the 1970s Spider-Man Nicholas Hammond TV show.

–Dan Ackerman, New York

‘Redemption’

Sony Pictures

I’ve always said Avengers: Endgame is the best MCU movie because it’s the movie that pulls from over a decade of movies to make an amazing, cohesive movie. Then we have No Way Home, and it does even better. It combines three different universes that were never meant to be linked, and it works.

What I appreciate the most about No Way Home is the redemption it brought to Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx. They’re two great actors who were put in a bad sequel, but they got another chance. Foxx stands out as the sweetest supervillain Spider-Man has ever faced, while Garfield delivers everything you’d expect from a great hero. I think the biggest compliment for No Way Home is that it’s easily on par with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which many consider the best Spider-Man movie.

–Oscar Gonzalez, New York

“Feeling of closure”

Marvel/Sony

No Way Home isn’t just a great movie on its own, but it kind of retroactively makes previous movies — dating back to Tobey Maguire’s original trilogy — better. The film could have easily incorporated the cast of previous films into one-off cameos, but No Way Home brilliantly incorporates many of these characters, so they’re key to the plot and development of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.

Andrew Garfield, as mentioned, received a mediocre film, and the way the film resolved its arc of saving Tom Holland’s MJ (after, spoilers, losing Gwen Stacy the same way) was powerful, just as Maguire prevented Holland to kill Willem Dafoe. Green Goblin. Little notes of grace like Maguire reconnecting with Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock and Garfield talking with Jamie Foxx’s Electro were good moments that offered a cathartic sense of closure.

The ending, when Holland’s Spider-Man chooses to live in a world where no one remembers his Peter Parker, brings back this unlucky classic character who doesn’t have Stark luxuries and technology or help from the Avengers. By turning the “Home” trilogy into one long origin story, it allows us to better appreciate the films while preparing for what’s next.

–Roger Cheng, New York

“Incredibly moving”

marvel studios

I am struck by the emotional impact of this film. Not only was it exciting to see all three Spider-Men come together, but it was also incredibly moving to see them relate to each other’s pain and loss. Nothing makes a superhero more approachable than problems they can’t solve and their struggles to come to terms with a fate they can’t change.

I loved the advice the older Spider-Men gave Tom Holland’s character to never get bitter about what happened in the past because that won’t solve anything. It got me thinking about how everyone watching in that theater had surely experienced some form of loss and grief, and we could all take a moment to disconnect from that pain and find solace in those characters — and , by extension, into each other.

— Abrar Al-Heeti, San Francisco

“Real Issues”

sony

My favorite thing about this film is its commitment to the real issues and the consequences that flow from them. It would have been easy for the writers to find a quick fix from Dr. Strange to make an all-around happy ending, but Peter is forced to make a real sacrifice and give up the things that are most important to him.

The dynamic between the three Spider-Men was absolutely brilliant. Some people might think the “joke” got old over the course of their dialogue (like how Spider-Man’s eldest superhero body could actually make webs), but I was eating every minute of it. All three absolutely nailed their characters and where they could have been realistic in their lives many years later. Although it proved once and for all what I’ve always thought: Andrew Garfield is the King of all Spider-Men.

Andy Altman, San Francisco

“Mixing the Vibes”

sony

If there’s one thing you absolutely have to give this movie credit for, it’s how perfectly it blends the vibe of every Peter and his set. Tobey Maguire’s maturity Peter always carried more weight in that responsibility, so it was all the more gratifying to see him as a wise mentor to not just Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but Andrew Garfield as well. Meanwhile, Garfield’s Peter was by far the most troubled, so seeing him finally let go of his emotional baggage and guilt in No Way Home just felt right to me.

Yes, this is me echoing all requests for an Amazing Spider-Man 3.

Tom Holland himself did a lot of heavy lifting, but I think it was more important that No Way Home brought back Peter’s wild scientific brain. From mid-dimensional math to developing cures for not one, but five different ailments, Peter grounds science in a world that seems more magical than reality half the time. Science gives him something to cling to.

–Steph Panecasio, Sydney

‘Educative’

sony

No Way Home turned out to be an incredibly educational film. It taught me several things. The golden ratio is a unique mathematical relationship that can be found in the natural world. Tobey Maguire is 46 (and still in incredible Spidey form). And, unequivocally, Andrew Garfield is the best Spider-Man ever and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 has to happen. Please search #MakeTASM3 for more information.

–Jennifer Bisset, Sydney

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