Spider-Man: No Way Home First Reviews: Ridiculous and Ridiculously Fun

Critics say Tom Holland's third solo outing as Peter Parker is as full of Easter Eggs as anticipated, but also surprisingly emotional and strengthened by an epic third act.

by | December 14, 2021 | Comments

The eighth live-action solo Spider-Man movie and the third starring Tom Holland within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (of which it’s the 27th entry), Spider-Man: No Way Home promises to be a culmination of everything fans have seen before. Somewhat literally, as the Multiverse brings in characters from other runs of the Spidey franchise for a nostalgic mash-up of sorts.

Does it work? Considering the movie’s high Tomatometer score out of the gate, the answer seems to be yes. However, while some are calling it one of the best superhero movies of all time, others do see some problems in the storytelling. But hey, imperfection is part of what makes Spider-Man such a relatable fan favorite, right?

Here’s what critics are saying about Spider-Man: No Way Home:

Has Marvel done it again?

Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t just the best of the eight live-action Spider-Man films, it’s one of the superior films of the entire Marvel Studios franchise. – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

One of the best MCU films and easily ranks up there with the top Spider-Man films. – Jon Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

I not only loved Spider-Man: No Way Home but believe it to be the best Marvel movie of all time. – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

My favorite Marvel film thus far. – Diandra Reviews,

Simply put, Spider-Man: No Way Home is the best film in the MCU. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

The best superhero movie of all time, and easily the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet… Easily the best live action Spider-Man movie. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

How does it compare to the last two Spidey movies?

It is a definite improvement from the last film. – RAchel Wagner,

No Way Home feels more like a Spider-Man movie. It’s a bit corny yet endearing, heartfelt and incredibly fun — which is as it should be. – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

While not quite as utterly delightful as Spider-Man: Homecoming, it matches and often exceeds the already strong Spider-Man: Far From Home. – Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

From a visual standpoint, it’s the biggest of the three. From an actual story perspective, it’s the weakest. – Luke Y. Thompson, SuperHeroHype

Will hardcore Spider-Man fans be happy?

These filmmakers really understand Spider-Man. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Spider-Man: No Way Home is everything we can wish for in a Spider-Man film. – Jon Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

This film brilliantly pays homage to the legacy of Spider-Man. – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

No Way Home is a reminder that Marvel Studios undeniably gets the Marvel Comics characters down to the core. – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

Will you need to have seen the other Spider-Man movies?

Director Jon Watts makes sure that viewers who have only followed Holland’s Spider-Man films aren’t lost. – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

Spider-Man: No Way Home is an epic superhero feast for fans, but it should not be the first Spider-Man movie that people should see. – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

The connection and understanding of the previous movies’ plots are essential. – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

This film does base a lot of humor and emotional beats around the idea of audiences connecting with what’s happening based on previous films. – Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

Spider-Man: No Way Home is at its best and its worst when it's recalling other movies. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

Is there a lot of fan service?

While there is a lot of nostalgia and fan service, the film doesn’t rely solely on that. – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

There’s a ton of callbacks and plenty of fan service but it’s always in service of the story at hand. – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

Fan service doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing, especially when it services a larger thematic purpose: grappling with Spider-Man’s legacy. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Even those uninterested in the film’s White-House-lawn–sized supply of Easter eggs can enjoy Holland and Zendaya’s teen-romance chemistry and Holland and Batalon’s buddy-comedy banter. – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Sadly the film trades real storytelling for crowd-pleasing Easter Eggs. – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Does it feel like a live-action version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?

The film is a celebration of the character on the screen, like a live action Into the Spider-Verse, though not quite as overwhelmingly stunning. – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

No Way Home feels like a live-action retread and reworking that’s nowhere near as successful or inventive. – Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

Is it all that different from 2018’s Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? The difference I see comes through in the filmmaking. – Aaron Neuwirth, We Live Entertainment

It often plays like if Into the Spider-Verse cared more about the cameos than about Miles Morales. – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

How is it to see the old villains again?

It is such an amazing reminder of how good the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies were to see Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina in their roles. – Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

These characters are not back just to put fans in seats, they are actually used incredibly well in the story. Every one of them has a story, a plot point, and an arc in this movie. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

What would have made the film stronger, however, is Peter getting his own villain rather than solely having to fight the ones from the past (as good as it is to see them back). – Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant

Are there too many villains?

It never quite crosses that threshold… It always manages to bring the focus back to Peter Parker and his problems. – Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

While this creates an interesting juggling act for the film, much of what is impressive about it is both how it handles all of them, and how it puts the story in a position to reflect on the totality of the character’s big screen legacy. – Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Multiple villains invariably do water down the central conflict. When everyone’s a compelling movie star, and the story has to find screen time for all. – Luke Y. Thompson, SuperHeroHype

How is the script?

Director Jon Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers performed a miracle here juggling the drama, humor, action, and emotional elements of the story.Lupe Rodriguez, Haas

Peter makes one bad decision after another… But that’s Spider-Man in a nutshell.Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

When the film dares to ask heady questions about fate and humanity – debating whether these things are immutable – it falters, providing superficial answers akin to a Magic 8 Ball. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

If you poke too many holes in the narrative, Spider-Man: No Way Home starts to become undone. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

Does the movie get emotional?

The film will have you reaching for tissue paper. – Lupe Rodriguez, Haas

The most somber story we’ve seen yet centering on Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. The threats are more extreme than anything he’s previously faced alone, but also amped way up are the emotional stakes and maturity. – Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Certain moments are very emotional, and I was surprised by how powerful those scenes were. – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Does it take a while to get going?

The first half of the movie really weighs things down and not in a good way. – Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

For much of the first 20 minutes of the film, No Way Home is astonishingly low stakes. – Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

There also is a lot of time in this movie with people in rooms talking. – Rachel Wagner,

But does the third act redeem that slow start?

The first and second acts are very messy, but the third act pulls it together to pack one hell of an emotional punch. – Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

The final act [is] one of the more breathtaking of any recent superhero film. – Jeffrey Lyles, Lyles’ Movie Files

The final act of Spider-Man: No Way Home is joyful in the best ways, dark in other ways, and overall the most fun the MCU has in years. For many, this third act will stand as the best in the franchises’ history, and they wouldn’t be wrong. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

How is the action?

The battle scenes are MASSIVE… There are several big action scenes, and they just get bigger and bigger as the film goes on. Each one topping the previous one, which feels impossible, trust me. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

The action of Spider-Man: No Way Home is often quite dazzling. – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

Some of the best Spider-Man action we’ve ever seen. – Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

A lengthy part of the movie that takes place on the Statue of Liberty will be talked about by fans for years. – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

The action is more brutal than ever before, trading some of the fantastical web-slinging action to more hand-to-hand combat and bloody brawls. – Sheraz Farooqi, Cinema Debate

Are there any issues?

As for the CG fest, it feels more awkward than usual at times. Certain scenes look as if they utilized blue-screening solely so the actors on set wouldn’t even know what was happening. – Luke Y. Thompson, SuperHeroHype

They are presenting a perfect world… where nobody is evil or bad and everyone can be redeemed or “cured” of their sociopathic or evil tendencies. That’s just not reality. – Rachel Wagner,

The only major stumbles are in the mid-credit and post-credit scenes, when the franchise overlords have to impose their corporate will to whet appetites for the next movie while we’re still digesting the one we just saw. – Sean P. Means, Movie Cricket

Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

Is the movie worth seeing in spite of its flaws?

There is only 50% of an excellent movie here, but that 50% is worth showing up for. – Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool

Spider-Man: No Wy Home is a mixed bag… Equal parts fantastic and frustrating. – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Spider-Man: No Way Home will probably be a “love it or hate it” film. – Carla Hay, Culture Mix

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the very definition of the sum being less than its parts. – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

While the whole may not exceed the sum of its parts, some of those parts are great indeed. – Luke Y. Thompson, SuperHeroHype

Will it leave us wanting more Tom Holland Spider-Man movies?

It sets the stage for a promising second trilogy that brings the character back to his cinematic roots and builds upon the foundations set forth today. – Diego Andaluz, AwardsWatch

If they’re handing off the baton to other filmmakers to continue Spidey stories this is a good way to do it. There’s closure and surprises galore here, but also a clear avenue for further adventures. – Joey Magidson, Awards Radar

If it is the end of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, I am OK with that. I don’t want that to happen, but it gives fans a closure. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters on December 17, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Thanksgiving ESPN Alien obi wan serial killer nbcuniversal LGBT chucky National Geographic Reality Competition Superheroe Marvel psycho all-time Cosplay Best Director book adaptation unscripted DC Universe Emmys cancelled television 1990s crime thriller MSNBC Awards Tour aapi Photos comiccon telelvision medical drama 4/20 crime drama Year in Review name the review golden globes period drama 72 Emmy Awards Marathons Discovery Channel art house IFC SDCC women critics El Rey Rock The Walking Dead franchise emmy awards a nightmare on elm street dexter Spectrum Originals Tomatazos spanish dark BET TV renewals rotten movies we love DGA PlayStation Biopics harry potter Universal Pictures werewolf live event Netflix TCA Winter 2020 Acorn TV scene in color film series what to watch vampires ratings Mudbound award winner video on demand scene in color series 2015 BBC One Showtime Best Picture Hulu cooking Extras Lionsgate hidden camera trailers kong genre Wes Anderson Sundance Now rt archives 2020 Ghostbusters stand-up comedy TCA Oscars rt labs parents TruTV Star Trek TV movies boxoffice TIFF Writers Guild of America festival Amazon marvel cinematic universe based on movie deadpool Toys Rocky The Arrangement sag awards Action Broadway saw Dark Horse Comics Bravo gangster high school interviews game show Arrowverse tv talk Universal Endgame WGN black cars Classic Film Captain marvel fresh TLC Tubi critic resources science fiction OneApp Disney Plus FXX Sony Vudu worst movies Sundance TV technology thriller hispanic Disney Channel justice league Fargo 007 Musical archives spinoff Geeked Week crime Fantasy Legendary VH1 Television Critics Association satire 73rd Emmy Awards Watching Series TNT versus teaser Lifetime Spike Schedule french godzilla Best Actress basketball HBO Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Family Crackle San Diego Comic-Con rt labs critics edition films Superheroes Polls and Games action-comedy Drama Mary Tyler Moore HBO Go animated revenge Podcast football kaiju reviews Premiere Dates asian-american blockbusters Tumblr 2016 Oscar Hallmark Christmas movies new star wars movies Ovation Sci-Fi pirates of the caribbean Comedy Mystery Song of Ice and Fire Country Apple TV+ Image Comics NBA cancelled TV shows TV Land anthology casting Countdown jamie lee curtis Heroines romance Winter TV TBS Tags: Comedy Trailer AMC Plus FOX king kong 21st Century Fox comic book movie WarnerMedia comic Kids & Family Pixar news stoner biography canceled police drama joker 2017 dc cancelled TV series 94th Oscars Paramount Plus spy thriller boxing television golden globe awards adaptation die hard Apple TV Plus twilight Britbox Certified Fresh stop motion true crime fast and furious japanese trophy OWN live action free movies discovery indiana jones Pet Sematary Animation Cannes social media docuseries Red Carpet 24 frames adenture spider-verse halloween tv NBC facebook nature Paramount DC Comics TCA Awards Amazon Prime Video Calendar Hear Us Out Disney streaming service Pop TV quibi Box Office Film Festival 99% ABC ViacomCBS Rom-Com spider-man X-Men Hollywood Foreign Press Association CW Seed Food Network A24 Pacific Islander documentary universal monsters Mindy Kaling spain scary AMC directors Reality classics cops young adult broadcast witnail Super Bowl Paramount Pictures Film screen actors guild prank mockumentary American Society of Cinematographers Funimation screenings CBS dreamworks Christmas ABC Family 79th Golden Globes Awards movies streaming movies Character Guide The Walt Disney Company australia Set visit adventure elevated horror Interview SundanceTV ID SXSW 2022 Comics on TV Exclusive Video comic books best Hallmark South by Southwest Film Festival Logo christmas movies concert child's play Holiday GLAAD slashers streamig Martial Arts king arthur E! Neflix Fall TV 2018 History Pride Month Elton John CMT LGBTQ summer preview See It Skip It GoT Star Wars Celebration BET Awards streaming know your critic Trivia Black History Month video Lifetime Christmas movies theme song The CW Academy Awards Sundance biopic crossover Sneak Peek wonder woman Opinion book Turner Classic Movies latino natural history Turner comedies doctor who sopranos Mary poppins royal family Nickelodeon sequels YA zombies richard e. Grant Election NYCC obituary Tokyo Olympics hispanic heritage month Marvel Television Esquire reboot cults Winners renewed TV shows IMDb TV Television Academy VOD heist movie summer TV preview 2019 disaster Best and Worst Netflix Christmas movies zero dark thirty Masterpiece razzies Epix Shudder singing competition hist anime composers strong female leads Lucasfilm italian TCA 2017 Disney Focus Features New York Comic Con USA Network BBC America 20th Century Fox international Comic-Con@Home 2021 Infographic Amazon Studios Avengers worst psychological thriller RT21 slasher Paramount Network Brie Larson Freeform Western movie Emmy Nominations kids Amazon Prime Pirates dogs Grammys Peacock MGM Disney+ Disney Plus mcc finale romantic comedy Travel Channel Music PaleyFest Pop First Look legend TCM rom-coms 71st Emmy Awards Holidays political drama President Cartoon Network Indigenous Chernobyl war dceu blaxploitation talk show ITV IFC Films Walt Disney Pictures VICE new york space 93rd Oscars comics toy story YouTube Premium Quiz TV black comedy Mary Poppins Returns Summer transformers Tarantino GIFs E3 TV One FX Comic Book Valentine's Day nfl laika remakes The Witch YouTube miniseries monster movies Trophy Talk suspense posters CNN Women's History Month ABC Signature festivals USA dragons Columbia Pictures south america historical drama Prime Video BBC venice Anna Paquin travel mutant Teen vs. new zealand Comedy Central BAFTA 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards marvel comics rotten DirecTV DC streaming service HBO Max Shondaland diversity sports hollywood cats popular target scene in color 90s blockbuster Baby Yoda independent debate Star Wars Fox News supernatural children's TV cartoon Instagram Live Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2021 dramedy james bond leaderboard Syfy superman indie Musicals binge Sony Pictures zombie docudrama superhero comic book movies Warner Bros. Ellie Kemper RT History First Reviews Native Fox Searchlight Nominations APB FX on Hulu Starz scorecard japan MTV jurassic park cancelled CBS All Access foreign summer TV Creative Arts Emmys Black Mirror sequel PBS feel good mob toronto Rocketman HFPA MCU Awards The Purge canceled TV shows olympics Binge Guide scary movies Stephen King SXSW mission: impossible The Academy series Spring TV green book target lord of the rings Video Games A&E Adult Swim documentaries cinemax scene in color 45 robots politics Apple Crunchyroll halloween criterion game of thrones batman Marvel Studios Horror breaking bad Nat Geo YouTube Red ghosts sitcom spanish language Best Actor aliens