“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is undoubtedly one of the most hyped-up movies of 2021, with rumors of different properties colliding in the style of “Avengers: Endgame.” While it does live up to colossal expectations in some respects, it struggles to connect with audience members that are not attached to the Spider-Man universe. At its best, “No Way Home” is mindless fun wrought with fan service.
This film is carried by phenomenal characters. There are a few misses, such as Jamie Foxx’s Electro. While the character is a significant improvement from his introduction in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” it still feels as if Electro is just Jamie Foxx’s personality. Alfred Molina’s returning Doctor Octopus is the best of the returning villains, as his performance and rendition of the classic character are still enjoyable even nearly 20 years later. William Dafoe also continues to demonstrate his phenomenal acting chops, especially in the latter half of the film. There are certain characters in “No Way Home” that could have been better executed because of their importance, as they can oftentimes feel like a device to renew the interest of the audience. The plot could have been messy, considering that large-scale Marvel movies like “No Way Home” contain several plot lines that lead to a confusing end. However, “No Way Home” is rather straightforward and rarely deviates from the main character.
The cinematography is the main point at which “No Way Home” struggles. The camera often lingers on visually bland shots and focuses too much on the characters. The CGI is also particularly poor, even in the face of other Marvel movies that feature mediocre CGI. It does not look terrible at the beginning of the film, but continues to look worse as the film concludes. There are also scenes featuring the villains that often give off the vibe that they were shot independently from the rest of the film, which could be due to the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. “No Way Home” also has typical “Marvel humor” that plagues every film in the universe. It is still annoying and appeals to the lowest common denominator.
Fans of Spider-Man and the superhero genre in general are certain to love this film, but the longevity of the praise for “No Way Home” is questionable. While it is fun to watch, the film could suffer on subsequent watches since the main draw of “No Way Home” is surprise character returns. The film also lacks a significant conclusion. In order to set up future films, “No Way Home” ends in a whimper. With the initial excitement out of the picture, it would be unsurprising if audiences look at this film more critically in the future. It is not dramatically better than the films that came before it, even if it does stand out from the blandness of the rest of the Marvel franchise.