Spider-Man: No Way Home Full Movie Breakdown (With No Spoilers)
It’s strange to do a spoiler-free review of the Spider-Man: No Way Home full movie without spoilers. First, it’s because if you’ve followed any of the headlines about his movie, some pretty significant spoilers are out there in the world like the identity of a certain web-swinging superhero. Yet, even with all that’s been revealed, what the Spider-Man: No Way Home movie is about is not really touched on in the full trailer and marketing push. Sure, we get the basic plot points – which we will allow you to discover in our write-ups of the trailers – and we have an idea as to why what’s happening is going down. Yet, the reason for it all is something central to the core of what it means to be Spider-Man.
As Tom Holland has said in the press tour, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a movie that celebrates the MCU Spidey, but also the full cinematic history of this iconic character. And it is a celebration. Yet, one could also argue that it’s a bit of an argument about who the character of Spider-Man really is. No Way Home touches on this in a way that no movie other than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has.
We often talk about what certain actors or directors “got right” and “got wrong” about Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Yet, the central conflict of this film has to do with what those Spider-folks got wrong and could have done better. In fact, Tom Holland’s final outing as Spidey (of his initial contract, at least) is all done in service of giving fans the purest Spider-Man they can get.
No spoilers, so if you’ve not seen the film yet, read on!
The Spider-Man: No Way Home Movie Is a Full Retrospective of Cinematic Spidey
Image via Sony Pictures
When Andrew Garfield was first cast as Spider-Man, fans were upset. They expected Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to be the Spidey on the big screen for years to come. As time went on, Garfield’s Web-Head became the iconic Spidey for another mini-generation of kids. The problems inherent in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise had precisely nothing to do with Garfield’s performance. Still, when Tom Holland got the nod to be Peter Parker in Captain America: Civil War, all the fans grew optimistic if only because Spider-Man was finally in the MCU. In what could still be the final Spider-Man in the MCU film, the storytellers use the multiverse to make the argument that all iterations of Spider-Man are valid.
Yet, what makes our current Spider-Man unique is that, unlike his cinematic predecessors, he will do anything to save lives, even those of the villains. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio dies because of his own recklessness, and we don’t get to see Peter process what that means to him. Instead, in his last villainous act, Mysterio revealed Spidey’s identity to the world. This creates a whole new chain of problems, including the appearance of familiar villains. (Well, villains familiar to us, not to Holland’s Spidey.)
When the first Spider-Man movie hit theaters, there was still a reticence to comic book themes even in comic book movies. At their core, these films are action movies, and in action movies (mostly) the Goodie kills the Baddie. So, it makes sense that the villains who faced Spider-Man early on met that sort of end. But when Holland’s Spider-Man is faced with the same problem, he goes out of his way to try to save these horrible people. You know why? Because it’s what Spider-Man would do.
The Most Important Part of Spider-Man’s Character Is Selfless Sacrifice
Image via Sony Pictures
While everyone and their grandparents know the role Uncle Ben plays in Spider-Man’s origin story, we don’t actually know it in this universe. Uncle Ben has never been mentioned, merely hinted at. So, we assume we know why Peter became Spider-Man, but we don’t actually know why. The other key part of the Spider-Man: No Way Home movie is the full reason why Peter Parker became a hero. Again, we’re not spoiling anything here, so go see this movie. Nonetheless, we will say that the reason the MCU Spider-Man is a hero is much more subtle. He’s not motivated by guilt. He’s motivated by something stronger, something more powerful. He does good things simply because he can.
Also, when it comes to sacrifice, the MCU Spider-Man hasn’t really given up much. In fact, the first two films were basically fun romps that showed how wacky it would be to be a kid and a hero at the same time. Throughout the full movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home forces Peter Parker to sacrifice. He loses a lot in this movie. And that’s what makes this one of the most vital Spider-Man movies in the Marvel canon. Experiencing loss can break anyone, even a Spider-Man. Yet, when the time comes for Spidey to either be selfish or selfless, Holland’s Peter Parker does what any good Spider-Man would do: He chooses selflessness.
I hope we see more of this Spider-Man and his supporting characters in the MCU. It means that Sony has to work out a deal with Tom Holland, and that Sony has to agree to a new partnership with Disney. If it does not come to pass, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a fantastic film to end with. It’s a story that really underscores what it means to be Spider-Man, and how doing so always means giving up on something you really want for yourself.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in movie theaters today.
What did you think of the full Spider-Man: No Way Home movie and what it means for the future of Spidey films? Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions in the comments below. Also, while this is spoiler-free review, the comments will almost certainly be full of them.
Featured image via Sony Pictures
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.