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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ just premiered. Here’s our immediate review

Is ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ good or is it a mess of nostalgia?

Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
Sony Pictures

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” had its premiere Monday night in Hollywood and across the country at different press screenings. I attended a press screening Monday night, and here’s my immediate reaction the movie.

What happens in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’?

The story of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is pretty simple. Taking place after the events of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” when Peter Parker (Tom Holland) was outed as Spider-Man, Parker seeks out the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that would reverse that situation. But things go wrong and soon Spider-Man villains from the past — specifically, past villains from the Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man” films and the Andrew Garfield “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies — emerge to face off against Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Thoughts on ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

There’s no question that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is brutal. It’s a heart-wrenching film that puts viewers through the ringer. Don’t go into this film expecting not to feel anything.

It’s easily the best of the MCU Spider-Man movies. It doesn’t slow down at all and keeps you invested throughout. There are a few clunky moments where you have to remind yourself what happened previously, and there’s not nearly as many lighthearted moments as earlier Spider-Man movies. But it works really well as the concluding movie of the MCU Spider-Man trilogy.

It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be and exactly what you don’t expect it to be. That’s all I will say for now.

Is ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ a mess?

One of the biggest concerns going into “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the idea that it could become too messy. Like the 2007 film “Spider-Man 3,” this new movie featured a number of Spider-Man villains as well as new heroes and characters we’ve never seen before in the MCU. Spider-Man with Doctor Strange and a slew of villains is a lot for one movie, right?

Well, I’ll say this — the film does a better job managing its characters and storylines than I thought it would. Everything gets a proper amount of time and attention with a few clunky parts throughout. The film could have used another five minutes to wrap up some threads, which is saying something for a near 2.5-hour movie.

Should you see ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’?

Any fan of Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will enjoy this film.

But if you don’t know anything about Marvel, it might be a hard blockbuster to enjoy. Yes, there’s the typical fight scenes, crashes, battles, drama and everything that comes with a major motion picture. But the nostalgia brought on throughout the film won’t work for those who know nothing about it.

It’s the must-see film of the winter season without question. It will break you, put you back together and break you again. But it’s a film that reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of why we see movies — they show us the pitfalls we go through and how we climb our way out of them, like an amazing and friendly heroic spider.