Spider-Man: No Way Home is a great nostalgia trip, but it's no Spider-Verse

One looks to the future, while one leans heavily on the past

Spider-Man: No Way Home Poster Doctor Strange Spider-Verse poster Miles Morales
(Image credit: Sony Pictures / Marvel Studios)

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now out in cinemas worldwide, which puts Tom Holland, remarkably, in the Spidey suit for the sixth time in five years. By now you've likely heard that the movie is receiving quite a positive reception, with fans already losing their minds multiple times throughout the film (I should know – I'm one of them). Despite this, I can't quite get over how much better Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse executed on certain elements.

Warning: major spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – you've been warned 

No Way Home has done what was once thought impossible. It brings together three generations of Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield swinging back into action alongside Tom Holland for one epic encounter against their rogue's gallery from throughout the years. It's a wonderful sight, special even. 

As someone that grew up watching the Raimi trilogy as a kid, before then transitioning over to the Marc Webb duo during my teenage years, and now a full-grown 'man' with the MCU, seeing three live-action Spider-Man together is wild. Completely, utterly wild. Only in my wildest dreams could this happen. And yet, an animated flick from the writers of The Lego Movie pulled off a version of this three years earlier.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of the biggest shocks of 2018. While its blend of computer animation with traditional hand-drawn comicbook techniques (not to mention a dynamite soundtrack) was a revelation all on its own, it was the idea of bringing together multiple different versions of Spider-Man from throughout the multiverse to the big screen that really made it like nothing we'd seen prior.

It was big, bold, adventurous and ambitious, giving us a contrasting perspective through the eyes of Miles Morales (who gets a nod in No Way Home but we're still waiting for his live-action debut), all while balancing five other interpretations of the character. That's no easy feat. It's maybe due to animation being more forgiving, in general, but I felt a lot of the back and forth between all of the Spider-Men (Spider-people?) played better here. Maybe it was just the writing. Maybe it was because it was all brand new and looked to the future, as opposed to leaning on the past. 

Notalgia is a dangerous tool in Hollywood. We're all guilty of indulging in it. Some films handle it well, some ram it down your throat until you choke on it. No Way Home falls slightly on the better side, but it's still excessive. 

Like many, I was shocked when Garfield and Maguire entered the movie about halfway through its runtime. In my mind, I thought they would turn up at the end, say hello, fight the bad guys and get back to their own universes in what would only end up being a brief but memorable extended cameo. Nope, they are essentially main characters for the second part. 

In Spider-Verse, it opens with a montage of references to Spider-Man's most memorable moments - including the infamous dance scene from Spider-Man 3 – and that was enough. No Way Home is a fun car journey with friends you lost touch with yet you know you'll never speak to again after, whereas Spider-Verse is a rocket-fulled rollercoaster with your new best bud on an adventure that you'll talk about for years to come. Both are great, but only one will last the distance. 

What are your thoughts on the latest Spider-Man film? Make sure to read our Spider-Man: No Way Home ending explained, including those post-credits scenes and what it all means for the future of the MCU.

Matthew Forde
Matthew Forde

Matthew is the Staff Writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matthew is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattForde64