Spider-Man: No Way Home review round-up: a Marvel “epic” that lives up to the hype

The reviews for Spider-Man: No Way Home have dropped. If you want to go in completely fresh, look away now. While spoilers are kept to an absolute minimum here, some of the early reactions to the Spidey threequel might do more than whet your appetite.

Still here? The good news is that No Way Home doesn’t disappoint. While review scores are mixed in places, the general consensus is that it matches the likes of Avengers: Endgame for fan service and sheer spectacle. A high bar, indeed – so join us as we swing through the critical (and audience) reaction to Spider-Man: No Way Home, starting with a review round-up.

Den of Geek (opens in new tab) – 4/5

“Spider-Man: No Way Home ends a strange year for Marvel on a strong note. While 2021 featured an enjoyable if redundant prequel (Black Widow), a compelling debut for an obscure hero (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and an experimental if divisive spectacle featuring even more unknown characters (Eternals), No Way Home channels the entire spectrum of Spider-Man movies while setting the character on a course all his own at last. Make sure you stay for the credits.”

The Guardian (opens in new tab) – 3/5

“Bringing Spidey even further from home and even closer to the centre of all things Marvel was always going to happen but the question remained over how director Jon Watts would be able to juggle that many more plates without any or all of them crashing to the floor. He does a pretty solid job here, tasked with a considerable upping of the ante while bringing back numerous baddies from the previous Spider-Man universes, delivering a propulsive, slickly choreographed adventure that will appease a broad fanbase this Christmas.”

Screen Daily (opens in new tab)

“With Cumberbatch serving as Peter’s new tough-love father figure, and Zendaya and Batalon supplying irreverent comic relief, No Way Home sometimes struggles to balance its different tones and thematic ambitions. But after too many MCU chapters that felt like placeholders, this bittersweet Spider-Man adventure taps into what remains resonant, even mythic, about the idea of superheroes. Like Peter Parker, the film is very easy to root for.”

The Wrap (opens in new tab)

“While the screenplay does slip in enough exposition to explain who everyone is — while being a little bit fuzzy about the rules of who does and doesn’t get to multiverse-hop — No Way Home does expect at least a baseline of familiarity with the three Maguire movies and the two Garfield outings… Knowing those earlier films certainly has its rewards here, but 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.”

/Film (opens in new tab) – 7/10

Despite its flaws, despite the blatant nature of the fan service, it works. As clunkily executed as it can be, 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… It’s a happy marriage of fan service and character writing that ultimately works — despite the overlong winking banter and riffs between certain characters.

IGN (opens in new tab) – 8/10

“Amidst the laughs and the tears is a deep, heartfelt empathy that’s felt missing not just in the early MCU, but in the Spider-Man films that preceded this one. That’s not the fault of the creators or the performers of those respective series, but more a result of the times in which they were made, and what audiences were expecting at those times. The early live-action era of superhero fare was much more focused on thwip, thwip, bang, bang than the complex emotional impact of it all. Spider-Man: No Way Home’s empathy finds itself woven into the storyline in a way that doesn’t feel overly didactic or pandering, but instead truly drives home the ethos of Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility.”

Screen Rant (opens in new tab) – 3.5/5

“Perhaps what makes the film so much fun and engaging is that there’s a balance — the lighthearted tone gives way to more emotionally heavy moments, but it always swings back without being jarring. Watts packs the film with a lot of action, with one particular sequence offering stunning visual effects (by Chris Waegner), as well as masterfully choreographed stunts by George Cottle and Hugo Duran. Spider-Man: No Way Home goes all in but doesn’t forget to stay rooted to the titular character’s personal story, which is fraught with themes surrounding identity, power, and taking action. At long last, Peter steps up in a big way and it greatly strengthens the film.”

Spider-Man: Now Way Home social media reactions

Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home

(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios)

What about those who were just in the audience and took it all in from a fan perspective? “No Way Home is fucking great. Endgame levels of ‘Wow they nailed it,’” says one fan (opens in new tab). Another also has Endgame on the brain (opens in new tab), saying No Way Home “feels as epic as Infinity War and Endgame” and is “a movie that was built for the big screen.”

/Film’s Peter Sciretta says (opens in new tab) it was “more emotional” than he was expecting and Fandango’s Erik Davis boldly claims (opens in new tab) it’s the “best live-action Spider-Man movie.” Others have described it (opens in new tab) as “dark, full of emotion, and packed with surprises” and that it “pays off nearly 20 years of movies.” (opens in new tab)

Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 15 in the UK and December 17 in the US. For more on where the MCU is heading next, check out our guide to Marvel Phase 4.

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