The 10 Best Performances In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Ranked

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Audiences primarily go to Marvel movies to see the action. Watching superheroes beat up supervillains is a ton of fun, and Spider-Man: No Way Home has the added joy of seeing familiar faces from other comic book movie franchises back on the big screen. Now that the movie has finally hit theaters, critics have almost universally agreed that it pulls off its meta premise spectacularly.

RELATED: 10 Burning Questions Fans Have After Watching Spider-Man: No Way Home

A huge part of what makes No Way Home work so well is that it doesn’t lean too heavily into its gimmick. The story is focused on the characters and their journeys, which paved the way for actors like Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Willem Dafoe to give impeccable performances.

10 Jamie Foxx As Electro

Jamie Foxx’s Electro has a cool new look in No Way Home – much more comics-accurate than his blue-skinned aesthetic in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – but the character himself is somewhat sidelined as the movie goes on.

Still, Foxx’s talents as a standup prepared him to handle deadpan MCU one-liners. He dryly tells an incredulous Ned that the tree imprisoned in Doctor Strange’s dungeon is just a tree.

9 Benedict Cumberbatch As Doctor Strange

In the early scenes of No Way Home setting up the multiversal conflict, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is introduced as a deadpan comic foil for Peter. He’s trapped in the Grand Canyon for the most emotional section of the movie.

Still, there’s a beautiful dramatic sequence in the Statue of Liberty finale as Strange says one last goodbye to a close friend before he forgets he exists. Cumberbatch brings his opening joke full circle with a heartfelt emotional payoff: “Call me Stephen.”

8 Zendaya As MJ

Zendaya’s MJ continues to be Spidey’s most interesting and lovable on-screen love interest to date in No Way Home. She shares tangible romantic chemistry with Holland (which makes more sense after the revelation that she’s dating him in real life).

While Zendaya nails the sardonic one-liners as always, she also nails the heartbreaking scene in which she has to quickly come to terms with the fact that she’s about to forget Peter exists and say a sincere goodbye.

7 Andrew Garfield As Peter Parker

After his hilarious fish-out-of-water introduction, Andrew Garfield gives audiences a glimpse of what The Amazing Spider-Man 3 might’ve looked like. He delivers a powerful monologue about what happened after Gwen’s death: he tried to go on being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but the rage and guilt took him to dark places.

RELATED: 5 Things The Amazing Spider-Man Got Right (& 5 It Got Wrong)

This version of Spidey gets a heartwarming moment of redemption when he saves MJ from falling to her death like Gwen did. Garfield nails the look: with a split-second reaction to a potentially deadly crisis, he overcame his worst mistake, and now he can finally start to move on. This scene provided the perfect ending for The Amazing Spider-Man continuity after it was cut short by Sony.

6 Jacob Batalon As Ned Leeds

As always, Jacob Batalon is hysterically funny as Peter’s best friend Ned. Batalon punctuates almost every scene he’s in with a hilarious punchline.

His funniest moment in the movie is the anticlimactic payoff when Tobey Maguire steps through the portal: “Oh, great, it’s just some guy.”

5 Alfred Molina As Doctor Octopus

Alfred Molina was one of the first returning cast members to be confirmed for No Way Home. He brings the same blend of dramatic nuance and classical villainy that made his turn in Spider-Man 2 a new benchmark for supervillains on the big screen.

As the character achieves true redemption in the finale, Molina gives an impeccable performance on par with his original game-changing work in the Raimi movie.

4 Marisa Tomei As Aunt May

Since her debut in Captain America: Civil War, Marisa Tomei has been a terrific Aunt May. She shares strong mother-son chemistry with Holland and brings plenty of humor to the role. She’s the moral center of No Way Home whose belief in giving people second chances informs Peter’s decisions.

May’s heartbreaking death scene is arguably the saddest moment in the whole movie – and an inventive way to introduce “With great power comes great responsibility” into the MCU.

3 Willem Dafoe As The Green Goblin

Willem Dafoe’s returning Green Goblin is the big bad of No Way Home. He proved to be even creepier without the mask. Dafoe is genuinely unsettling (and darkly funny) when he grins through repeated punches from Spidey. Like any role on his filmography, Dafoe throws himself into the character completely.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Green Goblin Is The Best Villain In The Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy (& 5 Reasons It's Doctor Octopus)

His only self-aware moment is when he repeats the oft-memed line, “I’m something of a scientist myself.” For the rest of the movie, he commits to being the villain that represents everything Holland’s Spidey stands against.

2 Tobey Maguire As Peter Parker

Tobey Maguire seamlessly immerses himself back into the role of Peter Parker in No Way Home. He’s older and he’s had time to reflect, but Maguire continues to embody the role perfectly: sweet, kind, wholesome, awkward, eternally optimistic like Luke Skywalker or Superman. He acts as a wise mentor figure to the two younger Spider-Men and imparts all the wisdom he has to offer.

He saves Holland’s Spidey from killing the Goblin, then the Goblin stabs him through the abdomen. This continues the Raimi tradition of the unappreciated underdog. Maguire’s Spidey never gets rewarded for doing the right thing – in fact, he often gets punished for it (the Goblin’s stabbing being a prime example) – but it never affects his belief in doing the right thing.

1 Tom Holland As Peter Parker

One of the things that make No Way Home’s execution of its ambitious premise work so well is that it stays focused on Holland’s Spidey and the culmination of his MCU journey. There’s a true sense of closure on this chapter of his story: he loses May, his friends forget who he is, and in the final scene, he starts a whole new chapter. Holland played it spectacularly, bringing all the emotional baggage from the previous movies to a head.

Holland had a lot of challenging emotions to play in this movie. He cradles his dying aunt as gun-toting Damage Control officers swarm the rubble of Happy’s condo complex. He wants to kill the Goblin and has to be stopped from making a grave mistake by Maguire’s Spidey. He plays a character living a dangerous life who makes a conscious decision not to remind his best friends who he is so they can be safe. Holland nails the character’s tricky emotional journey and anchors the movie with palpable star power.

NEXT: Spider-Man: No Way Home – Ranking Every Returning Character From Other Franchises

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