Review: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ hits home run at box office

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” broke box office records upon its recent release in theaters. The Tom Holland sequel crossed the $1 billion mark in ticket sales recently due to Marvel’s successful track record and a “who’s who” or rogue’s gallery of Spider-Man villains in the film.

MJ (Zendaya) catches a ride from Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." Courtesy JoJo Whilden / Sony

BAXTER — Fans of Spider-Man can always rely on the costumed superhero to save the day.

Peter Parker who has the web-crawling powers of an arachnid, however, gets an assist from Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, in Spider-Man’s latest big-screen adventure.

RELATED: Now showing at Lakes 12 Theatre and Sunset Cinema
Doctor Strange, the surgeon-turned-sorcerer and defender of Earth against intergalactic threats, plays a pivotal role in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a new release from Sony.

The latest sequel playing only in theaters like the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Jenkins is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that includes The Avengers.



“Spider-Man: No Way Home” currently holds an impressive 94% approval rating among critics and a 98% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The critics consensus reads: “A bigger, bolder Spider-Man sequel … expands the franchise's scope and stakes without losing sight of its humor and heart.”

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The superhero movie is big on action but rooted in intimate character development with the titular hero played by Tom Holland as he tries to balance his personal life and hero work.

Moviegoers may remember the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’s identity was revealed at the end of “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” the last sequel in the movie franchise.

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Spider-Man was publicly outed as high school student Parker by Mysterio, a special effects wizard and former disgruntled Stark Industries employee who Spider-Man battled.

Hailed as a hero by some and crucified by others, including veteran actor J.K. Simmons who reprises his role as editor of The Daily Bugle, Parker wishes his identity had remained a secret.


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Parker turns to Strange for help. But when Strange casts a spell to make the world forget Parker is Spider-Man, something goes horribly wrong and that’s when things really get interesting.

Villains from Sony's previous Spider-Man films start appearing in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

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Dr. Otto Octavius aka "Doc Ock," Norman Osborn aka "Green Goblin," Max Dillon aka "Electro" and more from the various Spider-Man universes and timelines show up to do battle with Holland.

Minor spoiler alert: Doctor Strange then tells Holland’s Spider-Man some unwelcomed and surprising news after the teen engages with the various “who’s who” of Spider-Man villains — “They all die fighting Spider-Man,” Cumberbatch tells Holland in trailers for the sequel.

"Spider-Man: No Way Home" stars Tom Holland taking on various Spider-Man villains from past movies. The new release is playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch


Holland’s Spider-Man decides to attempt to rehabilitate Doc Ock, Green Goblin and Electro — played by the actors who originated the roles on the big screen, who are Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Foxx — before sending the bad guys back to their original universes.

The battle royale between Spider-Man and his enemies is a dream come true for fans of Spider-Man and superhero movies by Marvel Studios, and Spider-Man has to rely on his previous experiences fighting the villains but gets help in unexpected and crowd-pleasing ways.

"You have power. And with great power, there must also come great responsibility."

— Aunt May

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is rated PG-13 and runs about two hours and 30 minutes. The motion picture also includes Oscar winners such as Marisa Tomei in an expanded and pivotal role as Parker’s legal guardian Aunt May.

According to The Associated Press, “Hollywood closed out 2021 with more fireworks at the box office for ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ which topped all films for the third straight week and already charts among the highest-grossing films ever.”

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The comic book character Spider-Man has been a source of contention between Sony/Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios. Marvel Comics owns the right to the character and Sony owns the right to make motion pictures that include the character.

Holland’s version of Spider-Man has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, including an extended cameo in “Captain America: Civil War,” where he was introduced to audiences and recruited by Tony Stark aka “Iron Man” played by Robert Downey Jr.

Holland continued playing the character in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” standalone Spider-Man movies, besides appearing in The Avengers blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” wildly exceeded box office expectations, grossing $253 million from 4,336 theaters in North America as of Dec. 19, a few days after its debut solely in theaters.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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