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Early Spider-Man: No Way Home’ reviews praise “thrilling” but “muddled” film

Reviews have been muted, but broadly positive nonetheless

By Patrick Clarke

Zendaya and Tom Holland in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Zendaya and Tom Holland in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (Photo: Sony / Marvel)

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ has received its US premiere in Los Angeles yesterday (December 13) with the first reviews indicating a muted, but generally positive reaction from critics.

The film tied the MCU iteration of the superhero, played by Tom Holland, to previous film series. It Featured the return of a number of villains as well as former Spider-Man actors Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.

In a three-star review, The Guardian criticised the film for its “convoluted plot” and “relying on fan service as a driving force,” but nevertheless praised the film despite its problems.

“It’s flawed for sure but still moves with more deftness than most (arriving after Eternals is a blessing for any Marvel film) and there’s an ending that suggests an awareness of its roots (post-credits scene aside), hinting at a promising way forward rather than back,” the review said.

It also praised director Jon Watts. “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.”

 IndieWire described the film as “often thrilling, occasionally muddled”, calling it an “emotional, unsteady sequel.” Awarding it a ‘B-‘ rating, it also praised the film despite its flaws. “After all, when was the last time the third film in a franchise got audiences truly thrilled for what comes next?

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, unfavourably compared the film to the animated ‘Into The Spider-Verse’, which also featured a plot based on parallel universes.

Tom Holland 'Spider-Man'
Tom Holland in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (Photo: Sony).

“Who thought it was a great idea to tackle this material so soon after practically the same thing happened in 2018’s animated ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?'” the publication said.

“That rollicking, eye-popping adventure was so fresh, funny and exciting that ‘No Way Home’ can really only look stodgy in comparison, relying on the novelty of faces we haven’t seen in a while and building up to the kind of operatic emotional moments the previous Watts films tended to avoid.

A positive review from Deadline focused on the plight of cinemas. “In light of the pandemic this movie is a holiday gift not only to moviegoers, but also to exhibitors, because if EVER there was a film poised to save the movie business – just like Spidey always saves the day – it is this splendidly-crafted endgame.”

When tickets for the first public screenings of the film went on sale last month, cinema websites in the UK and US crashed due to huge demand. Resale tickets emerged on eBay, with prices ranging from $200 (£150) to $25,000 (£18,700).