Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home ★★★

Review by Kate Erbland

There’s little question that diving deep into the psyches of superheroes can render some dark finds (hell, Batman has turned that into a signature move over the course of numerous film franchises and television series, and that’s just one bat-eared dude), but the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s treatment of the state of young Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) soul has continually added fresh dimension to an ever-expanding franchise. Spidey has always been an emotional dude — baseline biographical bits like “is just a teen when that damn spider bites him” and “is orphan” help that along with ease — but Holland’s appealingly wide-eyed superhero has spent a number of movies grounding wild action in a human frame. Being a superhero is both hard and lots of fun, and few MCU heroes have been able to quite so ably strike that balance in the midst of world-destroying action sequences.

Not so with this Peter Parker. The most believable on-screen Spidey — which is not to say that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield didn’t bring their own special sauce to their individual Spider-Man franchises, cough cough — Holland’s take on the webslinger has always felt like the most human, the most real, the most “holy wow, I’m a superhero!” version of this beloved character. Which also means we’ve seen this Peter Parker in some pretty tough spots — his bond with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man is some of the most darling stuff to pop up in the MCU, obviously its end was tear-streaked — and that we’re inevitably going to end up in some deep, dark places.