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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Spider-Man: No Way Home

also known as “Homem-Aranha: Sem Volta a Casa,” “Homem-Aranha: Sem Volta Para Casa,” “Người Nhện: Không Còn Nhà,” “Omul-Păianjen: Niciun Drum Spre Casă,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.

Reviewed by: Shawna Ellis
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Adults • Young-Adults • Teens
Genre:
Superhero Sci-Fi Action Adventure Sequel 3D IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
2021
USA Release:
December 17, 2021 (wide release—4,336 theaters)
DVD: April 12, 2022
Copyright, Sony Picturesclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues

Feeling defeated, insecure and pessimistic

Superheroes

The fantasy and unbiblical idea of the existence of multiple universes

Sorcerery in the Bible

Villains teaming up to destroy a hero

Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures
Featuring Tom HollandPeter Parker / Spider-Man
ZendayaMJ (Michelle Jones)
Benedict CumberbatchDr. Stephen Strange—Master of the Mystic Arts
Marisa TomeiMay Parker—Parker’s aunt
Jamie FoxxMax Dillon / Electro
Alfred MolinaOtto Octavius / Doctor Octopus
Jon FavreauHappy Hogan
Willem DafoeNorman Osborn / Green Goblin
J.K. SimmonsJ. Jonah Jameson
Benedict WongWong
Jacob BatalonNed Leeds—Parker’s best friend
Tony RevoloriEugene “Flash” Thompson—Parker’s classmate and rival
See all »
Director Jon Watts
Producer Marvel Studios
Pascal Pictures
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Does everyone deserve a second chance? When does something wrong become “our” problem?

As “Spider-Man: No Way Home” opens, we are in the immediate aftermath of the previous film in the franchise, “Far From Home.” Sensationalist newsman J. Jonah Jameson has just revealed Spider-Man’s secret identity as well as accusations of wrong-doing to the entire world. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is wrestling with this unwelcome notoriety as he just wants to get on with school and his blossoming relationship with MJ (delightfully portrayed by Zendaya).

Public feelings about Spider-Man are mixed, including those of the admission staff at MIT, which is the school of choice for Peter, MJ and Ned (Jacob Batalon). Peter has just saved the world, but it feels as if everything in his life is unraveling. The once-optimistic young man struggles with the weight of these and other issues, driving him to seek help from Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). What could go amiss when you combine potent but sensitive magic and the impulsivity of youth? Suddenly Peter has more than college admissions to consider as dangerous and powerful enemies begin seeking out Spider-Man.

This has been a much-anticipated film with more than the usual amount of speculation and hype. In an effort to not spoil the film for those who have not seen it, I won’t reveal more of the plot and characters than was seen in the theatrical trailer. It is best watched without foreknowledge of who is in the film and what exactly transpires. I’ve never enjoyed giving spoilers in reviews, and will instead try to focus on content.

Just as Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker has grown and matured since his first appearance in “Captain America: Civil War,” we see continuing maturation of the character in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” While still making mistakes due to his immaturity, Peter is entering the world of adulthood with increased burdens and responsibilities, including what to do with the problems created when he disrupts Dr. Strange’s spell.

His Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) tries to remind him that helping people is what they do, but Peter is not always so sure. On a few occasions we hear an exasperated and over-burdened Peter say, “It’s not my problem.” Biblically, we read in James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

Q & A

How can I know what is RIGHT or WRONG? Answer

How can I DISCERN whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Answer

What is GOODNESS? Answer

What is RIGHTEOUSNESS? Answer

What is HOLINESS? Answer

Are we living in a MORAL STONE AGE? Answer

All of this chaos leaves Peter in need of guidance from those who are older, wiser, and who understand what it means to balance power and responsibility, relationships and danger, morals and bitterness, mercy and revenge. It is heartening to see young Peter learning what it really means to be Spider-Man, but this also means that the film has a darker tone with choices that will have greater and more lasting consequences for the character.

Peter’s attempts to set things right often seem to lead to more problems, as well as accusations of weakness. One character cruelly jabs that Peter is “… strong enough to have it all, but too weak to take it.” Often we mistake mercy or even morality for weakness.

But the ultimate mercy-giver, Jesus Christ, was not weak. He had ultimate power but willingly chose to set that aside to make a way to save us (Philippians 2:6-8). And we definitely need saving! Over and over again, God’s Word shows us that we can’t fix things on our own.

One villain in this film rejects Peter’s offer of help, claiming “We don’t need you to save us! We don’t need to be fixed!” Too often we in the real world have these same attitudes, and it is not until we see our desperate need for a Savior that we can accept Christ’s offer. We should be thankful that we have a God who offers us a second chance through the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Jesus!

The audience with which I viewed the film cheered and clapped as the movie progressed, and I heard many praising the film for being simultaneously fun, heartfelt, and nostalgic. I found it to be very entertaining, well-acted and surprisingly moving in a way that greatly exceeds the previous installments. Unfortunately, though, it has some of the same problematic content as the other two MCU Spider-Man films. This is especially troubling because Spider-Man is a character with so much appeal for young children.

Content of Concern

LANGUAGE: There is vulgar and crude language peppered throughout, with several uses each of the usual vulgarities. Sometimes these are used repetitively for extra comedic effect (such as Strange telling the teens twice to “Scooby-doo this sh*t”). In another instance a few of the characters repeat a vulgar phrase in turn, making it highly “quotable” for younger viewers. It was good to see that they stepped down the near-use of the F-word which they had toyed with in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” but at one point Dr. Strange is holding a coffee cup that replaces that word with a picture of a fox to read, “for fox sake.” There were also multiple misuses of God’s name, including one paired with damn. Profane language includes several uses each of damn and hell.

SEXUALITY: Aunt May refers to her relationship with Happy Hogan as a “fling.” Adults walk in on Peter and MJ while she is helping him change out of his suit and assume that there is something more happening. Peter is shirtless and wearing boxers in this scene, but even after donning a shirt he spends the next few minutes with no pants. Another male character is naked for some time but not seen below the waist. Some of May’s clothing reveals cleavage. When discussing organic rather than mechanical web shooters, someone asks if he can shoot it out of “anywhere else” in a way that seems a bit suggestive. A couple shares a few kisses. In a mid-credits scene a character suggests going skinny-dipping.

VIOLENCE: Expect a similar level of violence as previous films in the franchise, with characters thrown, beaten, crushed, shot at, stabbed, electrocuted, and nearly blown up. There is frequent peril to both regular humans and those with powers. Some blood is shown, but nothing overtly gory. A character dies and others are sometimes presumed dead. Some monstrous images and scary villains might frighten young children.

OCCULT: There is heavy use of fantasy magic, including a spell with physical components such as stones and mysterious liquids. The unbiblical theory of the existence of a multiverse is explored. There is talk of fate and destiny. One character likens himself to a god, saying, “Gods don’t have to choose, we take.”

OTHER: A mid-credits scene takes place in a bar with a character who is drunk.

Despite the negative content, this film has powerful messages about redemption, responsibility, sacrifice, compassion, teamwork, loyalty, the worth of a life, and what it means to consistently choose to do the right thing. It is too bad that these wonderful themes are tainted by the addition of problematic language and situations, but even so, this would not be a film for young children due to peril, frightening imagery and confusing situations involving magic.

Teens and young adults will probably be particularly drawn to the young heroes of the film. Tom Holland’s sensitive portrayal of Peter captures all the confusion and angst of a boy growing up in a unique situation, MJ is likable and relatable as she tries to help the one she loves, and Ned is a great and loyal friend.

Technically, the movie is well-made, although almost visually overwhelming at times (in the typical fashion of Marvel movies). We are taken from frenetic battles to intimate conversations, from light-hearted banter to grief and angst, and I found that it all worked. The characters were believable for the most part (although Dr. Strange’s motivations could be questioned at times), and the nostalgia element was delightful without being too much for a casual uninvested viewer. I left this movie thinking it has been my favorite Spider-Man movie, and even after a second viewing today it lost none of its initial charm and heart.

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy— • “G*d d*mn” • “Oh G*d” • “Oh my G*d” (3) • “Good G*d” • “G*d” • “h*ll” (5) • “d*mn” (2)
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderately Heavy— • possible F-word and a euphemism for one • “Butt-a** naked” • S-words (4) • A** (7) • “Screwed up” • “We s*ck”
  • Occult: Moderate
  • Nudity: Mild— • Man is apparently nude, but his lower half is not shown • Shirtless men • Cleavage
  • Sex: Mild— • “It was a fling and we flung” • Peter and MJ swing into his bedroom and May finds him in his underwear standing next to MJ. Thinking that this is sexual, May reminds Peter of the importance of safe sex. • A published story suggests that Peter seduces MJ • A schoolmate asks MJ if she and Spider-Man are going to have spider babies. • Kiss and a near kiss
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—“With great power comes great responsibility” is Peter Parker’s legendary credo as Spider-Man.

When it comes to the friendly neighborhood superhero’s latest film, it could be said that “with great hype comes great expectations.”

Newsflash: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a Spider-Man event that is the epic scale of an Avengers movie, which is sure to please Spidey fans who have spent nearly 20 years watching seven live-action Spider-Man films since the first one in 2002.

With a $200 million budget, the highly anticipated tentpole is widely expected to claim the top-grossing opening of the pandemic era.

Buoyed by a a 95 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and stellar audience exit scores, “No Way Home” is thrilling, funny, surprisingly emotional, moving and provoking tears, suspenseful and ultimately, a celebration of the Spider-Man character.

“No Way Home” stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. The movie picks up after the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), which ended with the world learning Spider-Man’s secret identity and with the villain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) framing him for murder.

It’s the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man that the hero’s identity is revealed, bringing Peter’s superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk.

With Peter unable to walk down the street without being booed and cheered, he goes to Doctor Strange, asking him to cast a spell to make the world forget his secret identity.

However, Peter insists on Doctor Strange tweaking the spell, which leads things going awry and opening a door to the Multiverse—alternate versions of lives on Earth. The disruption opens the way for appearances from villains from previous Spider-Man films, including Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Electro (Jamie Foxx), and Lizard (Rhys Ifans), which ties together the installments that starred Toby Maguire (2002 to 2007) and Andrew Garfield (2012 to 2014).

“The problem is you trying to live two different lives, ” Doctor Strange tells Peter. “The longer you do it, the more dangerous it becomes! Be careful what you wish for, Parker.”

Chock full of amusing surprises and plot twists, “No Way Home” carries a strong moral, redemptive message that everyone deserves a second chance, including super villains.

“I’m sorry, kid, ” Doctor Strange tells Peter. “If they die, they die. It’s their fate to die.”

However, Peter disagrees and snatches a spell box from Doctor Strange, which would kill the villains.

Holland really shines in his deeply emotional and sometime dark portrayal of the conflicted Peter Parker, who wants a win-win result for the bad guys, and his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon).

Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) urges Peter to do the right thing and give the bad guys a second chance to make things right.

Speaking of second chances, Jesus gave mankind the ultimate second chance when he died for our sins and gave people a path to redemption. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“No Way Home” features a powerful message against revenge, promoting teamwork, aiding those in need, doing good deeds, and, naturally, the link between power and responsibility.

“No Way Home” is rated PG-13 for sequences of action/violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. The movie has lots of violence, including comic book-style fighting and peril, with characters getting punched, slammed and slammed around, falling from high places. Characters also die, and bystanders and lives are threatened, while some suffer bloody cuts and scrapes.

“No Way Home” features many mostly light obscenities and profanities, including several uses of “s—t,” “ass” and “what the h—l,” and a character says “I’ll be d—n.” God’s name is misused several times and someone mentions his apartment is a “spiritual oasis.”

Of course, there’s occult content regarding Doctor Strange’s spells, although Peter regrets his request to use magic to change his circumstance.

Without revealing any spoilers, the third act of the film is the best part. There were times I was laughing one minute then nearly brought to tears in the next. It was borderline surreal watching all the characters find a solution to Peter’s Multiverse dilemma.

“No Way Home” is a triumphal culmination for the Spider-Man character throughout multiple franchises and it perfectly showcases why he’s so beloved by fans, who will be satisfied with their great expectations for the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Positive—Having just come back from the movie after my local movie theatre showed it a day early, and being a huge Spidey fan since childhood, I’m excited to state my thoughts on it. In terms of enjoyment, this was a very fun film, and the amount of references to the other Spider-Man films was far more than I expected. Keeping spoilers out of it for the moment, the amount of stuff thrown in for the fans meshed well with the story without feeling as if it was just there for the sake of being there.

I also heard less profanity in this movie than I did in the previous MCU Spidey movies (though unfortunately still more than in the Spidey movies that aren’t part of the MCU), which was a nice change. The only really objectionable part of the movie asdie from this was the “spell” cast by Dr. Strange near the beginning of the movie, which ends up becoming pivotal to the story. However, though it is called a “spell” by the characters in the movie, the “magic” in this movie appears more like cinematic science than actual occult practices, so this might just be a case of the characters calling something a “spell” that actually isn’t (kind of like how the streaming service called “Vudu” isn’t actually voodoo and a “Dirt Devil” vacuum cleaner isn’t really a devil). This isn’t going to make the film acceptable for all viewers, which is why it’s worth mentioning.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Curt, age 24 (USA)
Positive—BRILLIANT! Excellent performances by EVERY single cast member. Excellent well-written dialogue, plot, storytelling and character development. Superb special effects. Lots of fun! Really enjoyed what they did with this. Audience cheered and applauded.

Luke 12:48 and Luke 6:27 evident throughout. We all agreed: Best Spider-man movie yet and best most enjoyable movie in general we’ve seen in years! Stan Lee would be very pleased.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Tori, age 50+ (USA)
Positive—Okay, this will be a long review as there is so much to talk about with this film, but I will do the best I can to avoid spoilers. This was a great movie and that’s coming from someone who doesn&rsquot;t like the Tom Holland Spider-Man. The 2002 film Spider-Man was the first Marvel movie I ever watched and so it will always have a special place in my heart. Tobey Maguire will always be my favorite Spider-man. I’ve also seen the Amazing Spider-man duology with Andrew Garfield and thought they were fine, but I still prefer the original Spider-man trilogy.

So, when I heard that Tobey Maguire, William Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Rhys Ifan, Andrew Garfield, Thomas Haden Church, and others were reprising their roles in this movie, I became very excited. I instantly wanted to see it and I have to say, this film exceeded my expectations. This is the best way to create a live-action spider-verse. Even though the film is two-and-a-half hours long, if you are a Marvel fan, it will hold your interest the whole time.

The story and overall plot of the film was very well crafted and actually made sense. I loved the idea of all these Spider-man villains entering the universe of one Spider-man and the other two Spider-men having to help him. The acting is great from all the actors and actresses. Tom Holland is great at portraying Peter Parker AKA Spider-man, as a still awkward, but very noble teen who just wants to do the right thing. Zendeya added the right amount of emotion to her character of M.J. And, of course, Alfred Molina and Thomas Haden Church shine in their roles of Doc. Ock and Sandman.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Mia, age 19 (USA)

Neutral
Neutral—Bad language, fair plot, magic as a deus ex machina

I agree with the reviewer about the totally unnecessary foul language. It was otherwise entertaining to watch but magic weakened the storyline. I’m OK with magic (after all, C.S. Lewis used it in the Narnia Tales) but was used as a bail out here, I think. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Dale Robinson, age 72 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I left the movie half way through, it was so boring. It was just so stupid how him and girlfriend kid were trying to fight all of these aliens from other planets. Sure these movies are never realistic, but this just was so stupid to even try to believe that could happen even in the fake world. I was so bored I left, which I have rarely done. And I have liked all other Spider-Man movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 1
Stephanie, age 47 (USA)

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