This Spider-Man sequel has all the necessary ingredients for a top-notch superhero movie, including hilarity and heart, action and anxiousness, and some happy surprises. There's so much in Spider-Man: No Way Home to try not to spoil, but, given that the three Tom Holland Spidey movies all play on the word "home," even the title holds some clues. At its core, the movie is about families (including the "found families" we make along the way), doing the right thing, and helping out. Peter makes a most unusual decision in the story, steering away from what might be the "normal" choice in a comic book story and choosing something more unconventional, perhaps even uncinematic, because it's the right thing to do.
Yet the filmmakers don't let things get preachy or self-righteous. There's plenty of time for some of the funniest bits of dialogue in any of the Marvel movies so far, as well as moments of undeniable warmth between characters who've become so soothingly familiar. Unsurprisingly, Spider-Man: No Way Home is also technically superb, with exhilarating effects sequences, expert cinematography, and a breathless music score. (It's still a little untidy here and there and can't quite reach the dazzling perfection of the thematically similar Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but what can?) Overall, this 27th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe feels in some way like part of a great Spider-Man TV show, built on characters we really care about, whose trials and tribulations are truly affecting.