This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Sam Morrison’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The cynic in me doesn’t want to go this high in rating, because ultimately I do have issues with it. You can't compare a movie like this to an art house film, so take the rating knowing it’s simply because the experience I got from injecting this drug of a film into my veins, and the dopamine released during that high, was unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time.
First of all, spoilers ahead. I’m marking the review, but all the same, just beware if you haven’t watched yet.
Can we all take a moment to appreciate Charlie Cox stopping by to say a few words? The look on his face said it all to me: it felt like he was ecstatic to be here. Just a little cameo I feel most won’t appreciate, but as a lover of the show he helmed, I wholly welcomed his return to the character. I hope it doesn’t stop there.
Other than him, I’ll admit; the first act had a hard time really pulling me in. I’ll come right out and say it: I’m just not a fan of Tom’s version of Peter or Spider-Man. Yet they found a way to make me change my mind.
What Tom goes through in this film rivals or even trumps some of the pain the other Peters went through. The moment he loses May, I saw Andrew’s pain in his eyes. When MJ and Ned go to console their friend, and Peter breaks down in their arms, my empathy meter shattered and I too let tears out.
He finally endures reality and the painful endeavors that brings alongside being Spider-Man. It’s transformative. I don’t see this high schooler anymore, but a man who has broken enough from his recklessness that he has to come to grips with what he’s caused. And in turn, fix those mistakes all his own. It’s the ingredient that was desperately missed in the first two entries. They’re not just kids messing around anymore.
Then the villains from the other two universes come around, starting with Octavius, arguably my favorite villain in the live-action lineup. Alfred Molina looks fantastic in the getup almost twenty years forward. And then Dafoe, who almost feels like he hasn’t aged a bit, or lost the maniacal energy that made his villain so fascinating to watch. Sandman, Lizard, Electro, they’re all here, played by their original actors.
And the moment of truth hits. Andrew and Tobey step through their portals, into Tom’s universe. And rather than applause, everyone around kind of fell silent. Like they were broadly smiling, choking back tears of approval. Just like I was.
Their chemistry just worked. Feeling like long lost pals, trading stories of loss, only as if they hadn’t seen each other in ages. When you connect so well with people who share your gifts, the word stranger doesn’t even come to mind.
I won’t analyze the film scene for scene, as some things are much better left seeing with your own eyes. Nobody wants the text version of this glorious collaboration. But I will bring up one last scene. There’s that moment where Tobey and Doc get to interact, and a clip of the music from that film plays in the background. No longer could the tears be held back. The dam broke, and I felt that part of my childhood return. Only myself and they were older now. And it still felt like home, after all this time.
No Way Home is the perfect celebration of Spider-Man as a character, as well as all the entries that came before this. Joining together hand in hand, no one was focused on the negative and what elements didn’t work in the past. There was no time to dwell on that.
As a bold proclaimer of somebody who never bought into this iteration of the character, it’s unreal how easily they were able to get me rooting for Tom. If I can feel so strongly about this film and a version I originally didn’t like, I would love to feel what the fans felt who have loved him from day one. I think I got a taste of that, and it made for one of the happiest theater experiences I’ll ever be fortunate enough to get.