Overhyped and Underwhelmed: “No-Way Home” Is Clichéd, Even for Marvel



The latest installment in Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, “No Way Home,” cashes in on nostalgia at the loss of advancing Holland’s Peter Parker storyline.

Spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” below.

Marvel movies are not artistic masterpieces by any means, but they do bring a certain excellence of their own to viewers. I am definitely a fan, though I don’t attempt to map out the complex web of references that ties the shows, movies and storylines together. The Spider-Man narrative has always been a favorite of mine, though, partly because I am a young adult myself.

Though I’m not one to keep up with movie releases, Dec. 17 was on my radar as the release date for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The movie is the third installment in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man film trilogy. There’s no doubt that my expectations were high, but I was sorely disappointed, to say the least.

I understand the necessity of catering to fans as comic based movies. But this most recent film did not need to spoon-feed us the plot. Capitalizing on nostalgia is an easy and safe direction to go in our current climate, but it is one that’s overdone and redundant.

People whooped and cheered in the movie theater at the sight of past Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. It was the merger of their favorite teenage superhero from different stages of their lives. But producers picked the lowest hanging fruit to ignite blatant sentimentality in their fanbase. Catering the entire plot to this past/present Spider-Man union left little room for any advances in the current Spider-Man storyline. It ultimately reversed the progress of the two previous Holland movies. And by wiping everyone’s memories at the end of the movie, the plot of “No-Way Home” became superfluous.

With TikTok playing a relatively new and crucial role in the media, it’s no surprise that the Spider-Man actors became hugely popular within the app after the movie’s release. With videos and opinions quickly going viral, it’s no secret that TikTok trends have a strong influence over creating group mindsets. One such opinion is the “Andrew Garfield Renaissance” prominent on social media platforms like TikTok, Reddit and Twitter.

What’s telling, however, is the lack of celebration that the film’s side characters received online. Minor characters’ moments are worthy of some attention, but they have been completely ignored by the drama caused by Garfield and Maguire’s respective cameos. Instead, in a change from the previous Holland movies, the side plots were left underdeveloped. 

For example, Peter Parker’s best friend and “guy in the chair,” Ned (Jacob Batalon), discovers he has the ability to open a magic portal in “No-Way Home.” This is a major moment and huge surprise to the audience. Yet seconds later Garfield appears, and Ned’s abilities are never played out or rationalized. 

If you’re a millennial mega-fan who grew up dreaming of a day that the three teenage superheroes you idolized would someday conquer their enemies together, then you will definitely enjoy this movie. If you don’t fit that niche description, the only thing I can assure you of is that you’ll enjoy your popcorn.