The end to the iconic Tom Holland Spider-Man trilogy and a perfectly developed origin story
Warning: the following article contains spoilers.
I would like to begin this article with an acknowledgement of the absolute beauty that is Andrew Garfield. I love you, Andrew Garfield, and there needs to be a third The Amazing Spider-Man. #MakeTASM3.
Okay, now onto Spider-Man: No Way Home.
We ended Spider-Man: Far From Home with a plot twist that no Spider-Man has experienced before: his identity becoming revealed to the public. Now, in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker must deal with the fall-out from Mysterio tarnishing his image and revealing his identity. Peter gets his charges dropped (oh, hello, Matt Murdock, and welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)!), and seeks help from Dr. Strange, asking him to make everyone once again forget that he is Spider-Man. In doing so, Dr. Strange accidentally opens the Multiverse and brings villains from the other Spider-Man universes into the current one — the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Electro, the Lizard, and Sandman.
Now, the main revelation of this movie was that Spider-Man: Homecoming was not the origin story of Peter Parker, but rather, the entire trilogy itself has been one long origin story. Every flaw in character and criticism that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man received is resolved in this movie.
For example, we never got to see who Peter was before becoming Spider-Man, nor did we get to see him change as a result of the death of Uncle Ben. The result of this was a Spider-Man who was perhaps too childish, too optimistic, and who lacked significant depth. In No Way Home, Aunt May’s death is what gave Peter the push to becoming the Spider-Man that is motivated to do good in his community — as he is given this great responsibility.
Additionally, a large criticism has been his identity revolving around Iron-Man. Far From Home partly resolved this, but No Way Home makes his character so much more than his relation to Iron-Man (although I adore their relationship). He now has a distinct identity and purpose. He no longer has fancy gadgets or devices to help him — at the end, he’s seen sewing his suit and listening to the police on a radio. Peter is now a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man rather than Iron-Man Junior.
In terms of the Multiverse — which has been a huge aspect of almost every movie/show in Phase 4 of MCU — No Way Home keeps it simple, which is a relief. There are significantly fewer plot holes as a result of the Multiverse than in other movies such as Avengers: Endgame.
The only questions I have are:
- Why didn’t Peter just ask Dr. Strange to make MIT accept him and his friends, or for everyone to forget Mysterio instead? and,
- What are the constraints of the portals that can be opened, if any?
The Multiverse has brought so many incredible aspects to the MCU, but Spider-Man: No Way Home really outdoes itself with appearances from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. The feeling I’ve been chasing since watching Avengers: Endgame in theatres finally returned when Garfield came through that portal, and I honestly don’t think any non-Marvel movies will ever make me feel that way.
Everything about the relationship between all three Peter Parkers is done so brilliantly, from Andrew Garfield saying “I love you guys” (which was improvised, by the way!), to the three of them recreating the Spider-Man meme, to Tobey Maguire stopping Tom Holland from killing Green Goblin at the end.
The highlight of it, however, was the fall. You know the fall I’m talking about. The classic, heart-breaking fall of MJ, which kept the entire audience on the edge of their seat. All I could think about when watching that scene was Gwen Stacy, and how much I would cry if I had to see Peter Parker standing in front of MJ’s grave. But thankfully, at the last second Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man swoops down, catches MJ, and lands promptly on his feet. The emotional “Are you okay?” had me completely in tears, and it was so fulfilling to see his character come full circle and gain personal redemption by saving MJ.
I grew up reading the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, which created a distinct version of Spider-Man in my mind with specific characteristics: nerdy, witty, humorous, and unable to balance his life. After watching Spider-Man: No Way Home, I can confidently say that this movie has solidified Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as the one that fits that version the best.
Until next time, Spider-Man.
P.S.: My prediction for the future of Spider-Man is that Ned will be the Hobgoblin in the next Spider-Man movie, and that the next one will feature Venom a lot more!