Spider-Man: No Way Home


Brandon Smith, Contributor

Spiderman: No Way Home was released in December of last year and already it has become one of the most highly praised movies to come out of Marvel Studios. It is the second highest-grossing movie, only beaten by Endgame in box offices.

Currently, on Rotten Tomatoes, it has an audience rating of 98% and a 93% rating from critics.

The movie had something for everyone in its audience who follows MCU content. It was exciting for older fans who watched the original Raimi-Verse spiderman movies. Marvel fans, in general, enjoy it because the three Peter Parkers had such incredible chemistry together, and for fans of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, it was a chance for Andrew Garfield’s spiderman to receive some much-needed love since his movie was mostly hated by viewers. The appearance of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire was much anticipated by fans after rumors were leaked on social media. Senior Aimee Choup stated that even despite the rumors it was still such a surprise and deeply satisfying that her wishes as a fan were fulfilled by the movie’s production team.

I saw the movie opening week, and I must say I agree with Aimee. The cheers and screams of utter excitement were appropriate. While many people were sure that Andrew and Tobey would appear, it was still a shock because it was never outright confirmed by any reliable source. It was the uncertainty that made that moment so exciting. It was also exciting for fans because the movie does ride on the back of nostalgia a fair bit. The appearance of the other two Spidermen, as well as their fellow villain counterparts, was fan service to draw in audiences from every corner of the fanbase. No hate to the players of the game though because it was more than a welcomed surprise.

One shock to my system that I was not expecting nor do I think anyone else was, was the appearance of Charlie Cox playing Marvel Comics’ Daredevil aka Matt Murdock– a blind man who practices law by day and fights crime with amazing skill at night. It’s unclear if this is the same Daredevil from the Netflix TV show, but I have no doubt Marvel Studios or its fanbase will come up with explanations for his appearance in the movie. 

To speak of MCU Spider-man, it is important to highlight the main characters that we have been following throughout the MCU’s trilogy – Tom Holland’s Spiderman, MJ, Ned, and of course, Peter Parker’s best friend, Flash (jk I’m not gonna talk about Flash). Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been a bit controversial to many Spiderman fans. The original interpretation of the character has him start his superhero career on his lonesome. Marvel Studios however took a different turn. According to their interpretation, he did start alone, but Iron Man took him under his wing after he fulfilled the late Mr. Stark’s request in Civil War. Many have said that it was so wrong to have Spiderman coddled by Tony Stark and many fans believed that they would turn Peter Parker into “Iron Man, Jr.” after his death and the inheritance of Stark Industries. In this movie though, Peter Parker loses everything. Everyone has forgotten about Peter Parker and now he is left alone in the world and this has made fans happy again. The ending of Spiderman: No Way Home allows for Marvel Studios to keep the canon of their Spiderman trilogies while also soft rebooting the character, leaving a blank slate to create a more accurate version of the Spiderman character that fans love so much.

I have never been a huge Spiderman fan, but I can appreciate the meaning of his character. Peter Parker is meant to be a self-made character that everyone can mostly relate to. He is adored because he too faces poverty and other struggles of the real world, but despite that, he chooses to save the world every day because with his great power came great responsibility.

MJ and Ned, Peter Parker’s partners in crime ,were also great. Ned has been with us ever since the beginning of the trilogy and MJ was also there but her development as a character was not expanded upon until the second movie, Spiderman: Far From Home, when she became his love interest. My only request is that their characters be more involved in the MCU as they continue on into phase 4. Marvel Studios have ambitious plans for where they want to take the MCU, but it’s unclear how ordinary human characters like Ned and MJ will fit into the storyline, especially now that they are no longer in Peter Parker’s life. In the movie though, Ned does find out that he has a natural talent for the mystic arts, which is how Andrew and Tobey are introduced to audiences in the movie (I just had a flashback to that moment as I was writing this and just – wow, what a good scene, absolutely thrilling). Is this how Marvel Studios plans to incorporate Ned and MJ into their enlarging universe – more accurately, multiverse – of characters? It’s unclear to me at least, but I am not so sure about the decision to give Ned powers.

I don’t have many critiques, but one I do have is that Ned sort of just has the ability to open a portal. The movie makes passing remakes about his grandmother saying his family might have magic abilities, but it goes mostly unexplained. I suppose that that is the nature of magic – it sort of just is. Dr. Strange took weeks to learn how to open a portal, but it took Ned a few mere moments, so maybe he’s a protege? I’m not upset at the choice, but it wasn’t my favorite creative decision.

Another note is that this choice focuses primarily on Ned, but what about MJ? Will Peter Parker enter an unrequited love arc as he chases after her? I think so, but I also hope that another character is introduced to play rival to MJ – Felicia Hardy. Felicia Hardy is the true identity of the Marvel cat burglar, Black Cat (real creative naming). She and Peter have a romantic relationship in the comics, but we all as fans always root for the classic couple pairing. MJ and Peter Parker are OTP, so to speak. An introduction of a rival love interest could spice up Peter Parker’s journey in future MCU spiderman projects, and it is a great way of keeping MJ relevant to the MCU.

Another element of the movie is the appearances of the various villains that antagonize our three protagonists–from the Raimi-Verse, Doctor Otoctavius, Sandman, and Green Goblin and from The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Lizard and Electro. I am glad that none of the characters were dramatically changed in the movie. Each character remained true to their original motivations. Doc Ock was minded-controlled by the implant in his spine that controlled his “arms,”  Green Goblin was not magically cured of his Multiple Personality Disorder, Lizard held true to his beliefs that human evolution needed to take its next steps, and Electro wanted power after feeling so powerless working for his corporate overlords. I don’t include Sandman’s character in the lineup because he is unique. His only motivation is to see his daughter, but because of his sandy curse, he cannot. Sandman didn’t feel much like a villain to me, and I was half-expecting him to help the protagonists. The other characters have a reason to rebel against Spiderman after they begin to question his true intentions and their own desires, Sandman doesn’t. He wants to be cured but after believing Peter Parker’s true intention isn’t to cure but to kill them, he joins the villains in the fight? If the villains had prevailed, Sandman would have never been able to see his daughter again because he would have been snuck into the MCU. Instead, he should have either sided with the hero and had a nice rekindling moment with Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman, or he should’ve run into hiding in search of the place where his daughter would’ve been if he was in his own universe (assume that place exists, because the universes aren’t parallel but instead are alternate, the setting is similar but key landmarks are not present in the MCU that are in the Raimi-Verse such as OsCorp). Despite that minor hiccup, Marvel Studios handled the villains so well.

Two things that I will especially touch on are Electro’s redesign and Green Goblin’s character as the ultimate antagonist of the movie. Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man movies was poorly designed originally and I was very displeased when first watching it. The aesthetic color of his powers was awesome seeing him shoot blue lightning, but when they attempted to make a face out of what looked like a floating blue blob in the sky – horrific. Many fans felt the same way, but No Way Home features a normal-looking Jamie Foxx with the same incredible and aesthetically pleasing powers. Secondly, Green Goblin’s character was excellent, and I do believe it is the first time in the MCU where we see a villain whose only goal is to cause mayhem. Every other villain in the MCU, including Thanos, has always had some sort of morality to justify their action. Personally, the only one who I can say comes close to Green Goblin is Hela from Thor: Ragnarok. All she wants is the throne of Asgard, except that she is motivated by her father’s betrayal against her and the fact that she feels robbed of her rightful place on his throne after Odin’s passing. Harry Osborn is a mentally ill man, but his devious and destructive counterpart doesn’t harbor a grudge against the world or see that it is at risk of destroying itself unless a hard choice is made. The Green Goblin wants to be a villain just for the sake of it. The Green Goblin was sadistic and brutal. It was definitely the right choice to keep his character this way. The Green Goblin is the ultimate antagonist in this movie, not only because he’s the guy who convinces the others to distrust Spiderman but also because he represents everything bad in the world and it forces Peter Parker to grapple with his moral code. Spiderman does not kill, but when faced with such a menacing character who brings nothing but pain everywhere he goes and nearly kills MJ and does cause the death of his Aunt May, he considers breaking his moral standard. No one could argue that killing the Green Goblin is a wrong choice after causing so much pain, but the other Peter Parkers remind him that it is not his place to decide who leaves and who dies and his ultimate goal is to represent the best humanity has to offer. He can’t risk giving in to bloodlust or else he risks becoming just like the Green Goblin. His ultimate goal is to help everyone he can help and save everyone he can save. Green Goblin is saved at the end of the movie and it brings the brotherhood of spiderman closer together in their newfound relationship. I heard it said that Green Goblin was a better villain than Thanos because of this. I personally don’t have that opinion and would rank them evenly on the villain scale, but I can see why.

In summary, I think it was an excellent movie. There were smaller elements that added together to make the movie even greater. The movie was very funny. One of my favorite scenes was when, deaf lawyer, Matt Murdock caught a brick that flew in through a window, and when asked how he did that he responded, “I’m a really good lawyer.” It was a hilarious moment and good writing on part of the Marvel Studios team.

The average rating on my poll gave this movie an 8 out of 10 and in my own opinion, I agree with this rating. With a mix of nostalgia and ample hype, this movie was bound to be a success, but it had some issues that could not be ignored. Overall though, it was an incredible movie!