Embargo lifted on the third Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man movie last night, and as expected, many positive reactions followed. But unlike a lot of first-response waves, this one worked differently. Usually, the junket press sees the movie first and predominantly gushes on Twitter. That’s followed a week or so later by more measured critical response. This time, however, most reviewers saw the movie at the same time, and all held their reviews for simultaneous publication. So even those typically “more measured” critics are part of No Way Home‘s first reviews round-ups this time. And they love it. One could say they’re mad about the Multiverse, as it currently boasts a rare 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. (Heaven help the poor writer who first breaks that streak.)
In a spoiler-heavy review at Variety, Peter DeBruge writes that director Jon Watts “wrangles the unwieldy premise into a consistently entertaining superhero entry, tying up two decades’ of loose ends in the process.” CNN’s Brian Lowry says, “There’s always a degree of messiness when venturing into areas like time travel or alternate universes, but No Way Home largely powers through that, sprinkling enough wit and warmth to gloss over the inconsistencies.”
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Meanwhile, at The Wrap, Alonso Duralde raves that “The most superheroic feat on display might be the film’s ability to keep human-sized emotions and relationships front and center even as the very fabric of time and space twists itself into knots.”
Even The Hollywood Reporter‘s John DeFore, who has plenty of criticisms, ultimately breaks positive, noting, “Some of the fan service plays fairly well here; some is unsubtle enough you expect an actor to look into the camera and wink at you after delivering his line. But in the end, No Way Home does use its multiversal mayhem to address the only real problem with the Holland-era webslinger: the Iron Man-ification of the character, in which his already amazing powers keep getting overshadowed by the gadgets given to him by billionaire jerk-hero Tony Stark.”
Similarly mixed, Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist finds it “maximalist, chock full of familiar characters and callbacks, and sometimes all that greatest-hits reminiscing is diverting and and entertaining. But it’s also not very necessary, making for a very regressive, fan-service-y Spider-Man legacy-sequel that’s overly nostalgic for its heydays.” Again, though, he ultimately comes down, if narrowly, on the side of a fresh tomato.
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For the fan press, however, the results are less mixed. Germain Lussier at io9 writes “Jon Watts and his team have found a way to make this Spidey story more heartbreaking, more character focused, and, also, even more fun than you are imagining. It can sometimes get a little too wrapped up in the story but, overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home is an absolute blast. It’ll will [sic] make you laugh, cry, and smile from ear to ear.
Our own review, which is overall positive despite some reservations about too many characters at the expense of coherent storyline, can be found here. In the end, it seems like most reviewers and fans simply like the lead characters enough that they enjoy hanging with them. Even through a few rough spots.
Make up your own minds starting Thursday night. What are you expecting, based on No Way Home‘s first reviews? Let us know in comments.
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