This review contains spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home”
After a year of zero Marvel releases in 2020, Marvel ended 2021 with a bang with “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” This film was well worth the wait after being delayed almost half a year from its original release date, taking the audience on a journey that combined both the old and new in a stunning display of cinema.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was highly anticipated not only due to the rumors swirling of previous Spider-Man actors returning, but also because this film almost didn’t happen. In August 2019, a dispute between Sony and Marvel over contract negotiations almost ended with the two companies splitting completely. Thank goodness we ended up getting the movie after all; I needed answers to the last “Spider-Man” movie desperately.
“No Way Home” picks up right where “Spider-Man: Far From Home” dropped off on a cliffhanger with Mysterio not only revealing Peter Parker’s identity as Spider-Man but also labeling him responsible for the London drone attack and Mysterio’s own death. This reveal and Mysterio’s false accusations cause Peter’s life to be turned upside down as well as the lives of his loved ones.
To fix this, Doctor Strange and Peter, two of the smartest characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seem to regress to one shared brain cell and use a dangerous spell to erase the memories of all who knew Peter as Spider-Man. Of course, the spell backfires — otherwise, there would be no movie — after Peter continuously interrupts Doctor Strange’s spell with exceptions for who can remember his identity and pure, glorious chaos ensues. Their actions rip open the multiverse, and the movie kicks into top gear.
The long-anticipated wait to see Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire in this film, both of whom have played Peter in former “Spider-Man” movies, culminated into an overload of excitement and joy for both myself and the entire theater that erupted into applause on opening night. Their comical entrances set the stage well for quality humor present throughout the film, and many of the scenes with all three Spider-Men were opportunities for good laughs, especially when they all explain how they shoot webs — one of my personal favorite moments.
The interactions between all of the Spider-Men are still vivid in my mind weeks after seeing the film. Tom Holland, Garfield and Maguire truly bring the film from great to spectacular, and their on-screen dynamic showcases a unique bond over their experiences maintaining the responsibilities of a superhero.
Meanwhile, the entrances of prior “Spider-Man” villains are full of suspense as the audidence starts seeing tell-tale signs from Green Goblin’s bombs to sand bellowing up indicating Sandman. Maguire’s films are a dear memory from my childhood and I still can’t decide which was more exciting: the appearances by Doc Ock or the Green Goblin.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” achieves the grandiosity of mixing beloved characters in a way that other MCU movies wish they had reached (I’m looking at you “Avengers: Endgame”). This movie helps unite fans who’ve argued which Spider-Man actors and movies were better in the past by smashing them all together in this movie, making it a top contender for the best “Spider-Man” film.
Even though the film relied partly on nostalgia from the audience, shown through iconic lines like “I’m something of a scientist myself” or the famous “with great power comes great responsibility,” it doesn’t depend on that feeling alone.
Another important aspect of the movie is that it fills us in on what Maguire has been up to as Spider-Man since we left him, and helps wrap up the loose ends of Garfield’s Spider-Man career after his time as Spider-Man came to an end far too early. Still, the film truly seemed to be Holland’s arc into becoming the main Spider-Man we all know and love — one who can stand on his own in his own right while not just being another Avenger.
But, even though it’s nice seeing all the actors from other “Spider-Man” movies, this universe is still in chaos as the multiverse is being ripped open. In order to fix all the chaos that he started, Peter has Doctor Strange conduct the memory spell as it should have originally been done — with nobody remembering Peter. Of course, this leaves many questions: Do people off-world remember him? How does he buy an apartment at the end? When will his girlfriend M.J. and his best friend Ned remember him? I need answers.
So, Marvel, if you could please put off all other films and release the next segment in the “Spider-Man” series as soon as possible, this fan and many more will appreciate it.
Elizabeth Secor is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @esecor2003