A tremendous weight of expectation rests upon the shoulders of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and even after the internet has pillaged away at it far before its release, it stands strong.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is solely about second chances when boiled down to its core and stripped apart for a lesson at its heart. While the moments of high-energy action may command the screen, the Homecoming threequel doesn't settle as an action film alone. The story of redemption is where Spider-Man: No Way Home is at its richest, and is at its most heartfelt. There's a certain nostalgic tenderness that pulsates itself through the film, and beneath that surface, lurking darkness. Hit-or-miss humor interludes the threats of impending doom that are bound to strike and reminds itself to relax from time to time.
A film that can be viewed as wittily-executed fan service becomes more than that. It keeps itself within reasonable limits when seeking balance in character arcs. As Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is asked to mature at an exponential rate, the concept of morality constricts tighter and tighter around him. In the face of his own tragedy, he is asked to overcome an identity crisis that divides his world. Spider-Man: No Way Home stands as Holland's most impressive performance yet. He navigates rage, love, loss, grief, and forgiveness with excruciating rawness. Even if there is a high volume of other central and secondary characters joining him on his journey, the film ultimately belongs to him.
Choosing to approach Spider-Man: No Way Home as a character study blown into multiversal proportions had every right to spin itself out of control. However, the film presents itself with a genuinely authentic attitude. The scaled-back and flatteringly minimal means of executing Holland's threequel value quality over quantity; just what was needed to execute an ambitious cinematic event with grace. Keeping the characters at the forefront of the film is almost effortless for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and it refuses to lose touch with itself. Though there's a lag for the film to pick up the momentum that motivates it to keep going, the breaks in establishing cinematic pace start to drift out of sight.
Parker quickly learns that with great power, comes great responsibility. For as age-old as the sentiment is, and for as how frequently the advice is offered, Holland's interpretation of the titular wall-crawler demonstrates a deep understanding of what it means to him. An outward reflection of Parker taking on the responsibility of his power gives a glimpse of how Holland will continue to carry himself as Spider-Man, and his performance marks a transitional moment in his franchise.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is truly an open love letter to the Spider-Man
franchise crafted with such thoughtful care. It finds sincere fun within its fondest moments, provides that human touch that the comic book genre is in need of. 7/10.
*There are two post-credit scenes.*