Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.
Though slightly off the MCU’s formula, Spider-Man’s latest film has garnered plenty of critical and commercial acclaim since its release last December. Earning $600 million at the box office in its opening weekend, “Spiderman: No Way Home” proved to exceed fan expectations and astound audiences as a gripping addition to the MCU franchise.
After Peter Parker (Tom Holland)’s public introduction as Spider-Man, the web-slinger is unable to separate his personal life from his superhero alter-ego. Faced with the consequences of the intertwining of his two lives, he seeks the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The stakes become multi-dimensional as Peter must deal with adversity and come to terms with the sacrifices Spider-Man must make.
“No Way Home” sets a new precedent for superhero movies as multi-studio projects become more common than ever. Audiences and critics alike were shocked when they saw Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprise their roles as friendly neighborhood alter-egos. Fans of Marvel Television’s “Daredevil” Netflix series were also thrilled to see Charlie Cox reprise his role, this time taking a step into the official MCU. All in all, Spidey fans got a breath of fresh air when Marvel hit the reset button with the character and sent him back to the Spider-Man originally envisioned by comic book creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
The elephant in the room, and likely a prime contender for Best Indirect Marketing, is hands down the appearance of Maguire and Garfield in the third installment of Holland’s Spider-Man, which leaves more questions than answers for the viewer. future of the MCU. Once everyone’s dollop of nostalgia wears off, the question arises: will we see them again? Even though there is no concrete answer from the studio, there is a lot of speculation circulating online, especially after the official trailer for another Sony-Marvel collaboration “Morbius” recently premiered.
The new realm of possibilities has surely convinced fans that they’re listening, as seen in Charlie Cox’s introduction to the MCU for example. I personally believe that the best surprise in “No Way Home” was definitely hitting the reset button on the character. Fans rarely think Marvel chief Kevin Feige and his movie empire are listening to their cries, but Spider-Man’s latest movie is proof they’re actively hearing fan complaints. Many of these stemmed from the departure from the source material when it came to integral personality traits, as well as the overarching 20-year compendium of films that Holland’s Spider-Man was burdened with from his debut in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” The reset button has been pressed in “No Way Home” and fans are finally excited to see a fresh, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The newest addition to Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy proves to break the Marvel mold. As audiences and critics alike grow weary of the quick jokes traded over character development and plot sophistication, “No Way Home” pivots that notion to a more emotional hold that many have found welcoming. These changes and tweaks are mostly due to longtime producer Amy Pascal’s work with the character on the big screen. Love her or hate her, her passion for her work involving Spidey is undeniable. Pascal even went so far as to throw a sandwich at Feige during Marvel’s first production pitch for the character. True or not, his tenacity to portray the character faithfully is unquestionably noble.
Many Spidey fans are also hailing Marvel and Pascal’s collaboration as an “anti-Avi Arad” sigh of relief in reference to the notorious executive producer, who allegedly orchestrated the demise of Garfield’s Spider-Man series and “Spider-Man 3.” by Maguire (2007). They find him responsible for the movies’ more controversial attributes, like the half-baked inclusion of Venom and the early termination of Garfield’s Spider-Man movies. Either way, Arad and Spider-Man’s split gives fans a much needed break knowing that all that’s to come is a refreshing take on the beloved character.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” left critics and fans satisfied with a nostalgic marvel. While the character’s future is uncertain, we can say with certainty that we’re about to witness the rise of an amazing new Spider-Man.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is now streaming exclusively in theaters until July 2023.