It’s been over a week now since Spider-Man: No Way Home swung into cinemas and seemingly resurrecting the world’s box office single handedly (as of writing it’s the only movie in 2021 that’s passed the billion dollar mark) and it’s high time we brought up the alarmingly brutal plot twists that mercilessly pummel Peter Parker like the Green Goblin’s knuckles all the way through the movie until it’s gut wrenching ending.
A famous Spidey writer (I can’t remember exactly who – maybe it was J. Michael Straczynski) once said that if you write for Peter Parker and you love Peter Parker then it’s imperative that you make his life as unrelentingly difficult as you possibly can – if that’s the case then the makers behind the biggest Spider-Man movie to date must adore our web-headed hero as their treatment of him is tantamount to abuse.
So to address this, were going to have dive into a whole mess of spoilers (not to mention a bunch of really grainy pictures – sorry about that) to detail the emotional crippling final third of Marvel and Sony’s latest money spinner…
5) From May To Dismember
A frequent complaint about the MCU Spidey is the noticable lack of an Uncle Ben character. Oh sure, Tony Stark croaking after his Infinity Stone enema was traumatic for the lad, but we’ve never really had the on-screen life altering demise that the character is famous for – until now. After Norman Osborn is revealed to have reverted back to his bat-shit insane Green Goblin persona and convinces his fellow super villains to flee Peter’s attempts to cure them of their various powers, he focuses his deranged rage upon Aunt May’s benevolent influence on her nephew. After beating Peter until his ribs must feel like a packet of broken biscuits, the Gobin sics his glider onto May and then leaves, flinging a pumpkin bomb in his wake (classic Goblin).
At first it seems May is just winded, but after a shaky pep-talk which she finally drops “Power And Responsibility” into the MCU, it becomes alarmingly apparent that she in a very bad way and as Peter tearfully cradles her she rapidly slips away. In the shock, we realise that Marvel has cheekily made May the new Uncle Ben as a result of dodging the telling of the usual, massively overused, origin story we all know by heart.
4) Catch A Falling Starlet
After finding out that Doctor Strange’s spell didn’t just yank Spider-Villains in from across the multiverse but some other Spider-Men too, we get a tearful retelling of the climatic events from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from none other than Andrew Garfield’s Spidey himself as he relates the death of Gwen Stacey to a mourning Peter, MJ and Ned. As incredibly sad as this is, it also sets up some sweet cinematic payoff later as MJ is sent hurtling into the void thanks to some collapsing scaffolding. As the MCU Peter is thwarted from rescuing his girlfriend thanks to the continued evil fuckery committed by the Green Goblin – the ASM Peter dives after her, saving her from certain death and gaining a massive amount of much needed closure as he prevents her from splattering at the feet of the Statue Of Liberty.
The look of relief and pure emotion on Garfield’s face is utterly heartbreaking which leads the saved MJ to require “Are you ok?” and just like that, No Way Home manages to bring a plot point to an emotional close that not only occured in a film made seven years ago, but one that isn’t particually well regarded or even part of the MCU!
Peter’s solution to the rapid splintering of the Multiverese proves to be arguably the most heart-rending moment of all all the all people who are aware Peter Parker is Spider-Man start spilling over from infinite universes. Parker surmises that if everyone in existence forgets who Peter Parker is then that should stop people gate crashing into their world and send any visitors back home. A regretful Strange casts the spell and after a genuinely sweet farewell to his fellow Spider-Men, Pete promises that he’ll attempt to reintroduce himself to an absolutely gutted MJ and Ned, with the former professing her love for him.
But, when presented with the moment a day or so later, Peter opts not to at the last second in an effort to keep them safe from the chaotic shithole that his life frequently becomes and hefting the phenomenal weight of the world on his young shoulders, heads out into the cold a man with only a coffee cup and a Lego Emperor Palpatine to remember them by.
However, possibly the harshest moment proves to be a chance meeting with Happy Hogan at the grave of May who casually asks: “How did you know her?”. That groaning sound you heard spreading throughout the cinema at that moment is the collected emotions if everyone present getting booted square in the feels.
2) Bros Before Woes
Everyone knew it was coming (Hell, it turned Andrew Garfield into one of the most prolific liars of 2021), but the introduction of his and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Dudes from another dimension proved not only to be a highlight of the film but possibly a highlight of the MCU in general. After Ned stumbles upon them via some nifty wrist work using Doctor Strange’s sling ring, we’re gifted with numerous extended sequences featuring Garfield’s self deprecating Amazing Spider-Man and Maguire’s more centred adjective-less version bonding, joking and pep-talking one another with moments that generate a euphoric sense of Spider-Nirvana. Be it a harrowing exchange of their stories of loss, to Garfield helping Maguire to crack his bad back, to everyone’s reaction to Maguire’s biological web shooters, the umitagated joy it generated has raised a Snyderverse style outcry for Sony to make not only a Maguire-led Spider-Man 4 but even an overdue third outing for Garfield’s underrated web-head.
Whatever comes from this historic meeting of Web Swingers, Holland’s early claim of No Way Home being Spider-Man’s Endgame proved to be bang on the money.
1) The Clean Slate Protocol, Sir?
Oh sure, the title above may be a line from Iron Man 3, but No Way Home pulls a similar trick to leave the status quo of Tom Holland’s Spidey clearer than a bright June morning. Stripped of his Stark-Tech, his friends, the Avengers, Aunt May, Happy Hogan and (I’ll say it again for extra brutal effect) everyone who’s ever known him, we see Peter essentially starting his life all over again by moving into a sparse, single room apartment, sewing himself a brand-new, comic accurate costume (the blue is even shiny!) and hurling himself out of his window to selflessly right wrongs with the ranting of J. Jonah Jameson ringing over the airwaves.
While the tone is undeniably triumphant (as it should be) you still feel emotionally hollowed out like a manically depressed pumpkin and have the overwhelming urge to swaddle Tom Holland in a blanket and rock him while singing lullabies to soothe his constantly worried looking face.
So did I adore the dizzing emotional rollercoaster Spider-Man: No Way Home? Yes. Do I also feel I’ll be describing it’s contents to a therapist at some point? Also yes.