News

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, diandrareviewsitall.com

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, rachelsreviews.net

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 CineMovie.tv

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 CineMovie.tv

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, rachelsreviews.net


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, rachelsreviews.net

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

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