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How Spider-Man: No Way Home Lives Up To The Hype (VIDEO)

FandomWire’s latest Video Essay explains why Spider-Man: No Way Home finally gets Spider-Man and lives up to the hype! Watch the video!

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Every so often a movie comes along that unites fans in an overwhelming state of frenzied anticipation. A movie that’s hype is so undeniably massive, that the film itself seems destined to collapse beneath the unrealistic expectations. More often than not this level of hype is reserved for sequels. Movies that are taking place in an established franchise or are a direct follow-up to a film that was hugely successful. They don’t come along every year, but when they do… you know it. Like with Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Tom Holland’s third solo film in the MCU had been plagued with speculation prior to release. Leaked images, fake trailers, rumors upon rumors. All of this, and the anticipation of seeing Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire reprising their roles as Spider-Men from alternate universes, added to the hype. The movie hit record-setting numbers with its pre-sale tickets and even caused some sites to crash. So, how does a movie live up to those expectations? When the bar is set that high, how is it possible to reach it? Well, strap into your spandex and refill your web shooter… unless you’re Tobey because we’re taking a look at how Spider-Man: No Way Home managed to defy the odds and live up to the hype.

LOSS AND GUILT

Spider-Man

Spider-Man entered the MCU in a big way. Going toe to toe with Captain America and earth’s mightiest heroes. It was the first time we’d seen a live-action Spider-Man interacting with other Marvel heroes on the big screen. In doing so, they skipped his origin entirely. No spider bite. No Uncle Ben. It had already been explored on-screen twice before with Tobey and Andrew’s iterations of the character and rehashing it again would have been redundant.

Related: The PERFECT Spider-Man Scene (VIDEO)

But in doing so, the MCU’s Spider-Man was missing a vital part of the character. Loss, and even more importantly, guilt, are necessary elements of Peter Parker’s journey. Endgame touched on this with Tony Stark’s death, but Endgame wasn’t Peter’s story. And Tony’s death, while traumatic, isn’t the same as losing a family member like Uncle Ben. No Way Home addressed this by forcing MCU’s Peter to suffer the loss of Aunt May. The person he loves most and the only real family he has left in this world. Tom Holland’s trilogy is essentially one long origin arc that has built to this moment. Sure, he had the name, the suite, and powers before, but he wasn’t truly Spider-Man. Not yet.

By allowing Aunt Mae’s death to take on the role of Uncle Ben’s, Peter is faced with the tragedy and guilt that guides the hero in his future decisions. Guilt is among the heaviest burdens to bear. And Peter feels that guilt because the decisions he made set the actions in motion that would ultimately lead to her violent death at the hands of Green Goblin. A role reprised and perfected by Willem Dafoe. It’s a pivotal moment in the character’s evolution. A turning point that’s necessary for Spider-Man to reach his full potential, because it’s those words of wisdom, “With Great Power… Comes great responsibility” that guide his moral compass as he’s faced with the seemingly impossible task of living a normal life, and wearing the mask.

SPIDER-MEN

Spider-Man Tobey Maguire Andrew Garfield

The vast majority of hype surrounding No Way Home was based on the anticipation of seeing Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire back in costume. The very idea of seeing all three live-action Spider-Men on screen together, fighting alongside one another, was enough to make any Marvel fan squeal with joy. It was an ambitious swing that easily could have resulted in cheesy fan service and nothing more. Instead, Tobey and Andrew acted as mentors to the youngest Spider-Man. When Uncle Ben dies in the comics and the previous films, Peter has Aunt May to help him through. And when Aunt May dies in No Way Home, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire to temporarily fill that role. Guiding him through the time when he feels at his most broken, while also receiving their own moments of significant redemption.

Related: What Makes A Great Trilogy? (VIDEO)

That was a vital part to doing this correctly. This isn’t just Tom Holland’s story. It’s Andrew and Tobey’s as well. And in order to do those characters justice, their stories are expanded upon. Andrew, by saving MJ, a task he’d failed to do with Gwen Stacy in his own universe and has been haunted by ever since. And Tobey as he stepped between Tom and Green Goblin, preventing Tom from succumbing to the hatred and the darkness that currently consumed him, while also saving Norman Osborn, something he’d tried and failed to do so many years ago. It was his inability to save Norman that had sent his friendship with Harry into a downward spiral that ended in tragedy.

The interactions between the three Spider-Men are raw, emotional, funny, and impactful. It’s fan service, but it’s fan service with a purpose. Both Tobey and Andrew had the title of Spider-Man stripped from them before their stories were complete. No Way Home allows them to continue their stories while passing the torch to a new Spider-Man. Tom has been wearing the suit since 2016, but in a lot of ways, his story as Spider-Man is only just beginning.

THE VILLAINS

No Way Home Villains

If you ask anybody what went wrong with Spider-Man 3 they’ll likely tell you it had too many villains. In fact, we covered that issue in a previous video that you should totally check out. We saw it happen with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well. Too many villains can cause the story to feel bloated. Jumbled. Things get lost as the story struggles to follow multiple story arcs while never devoting enough time to any individual one. So when it was revealed that No Way Home would feature no less than five villains, a lot of fans began to worry.

Related: How To Build A Cinematic Universe (VIDEO)

What was different about No Way Home… What was unique about its villains, is that they are all returning characters. The audience is already familiar with them. There’s no need to showcase their motivations or introduce them. This allows the story to flow at a faster pace without being bogged down by repetitive origin tales. And the fact that the villains are working together as a team, keeps them centralized within a single plot, rather than multiple branching plotlines.

But even more importantly, No Way Home made the villains directly linked to the story and integral to the evolution of the plot.

While The Amazing Spider-Man’s The Lizard and Spider-Man 3’s Sandman were relegated more to the background, Electro, Doc Ock, and Green Goblin each had the chance to shine in new ways that made their return more meaningful. Doc Ock and Goblin act as polar ends of the moral spectrum. Doctor Otto Octavius, who only turned evil when the artificially intelligent robotic arms took control of him in Spider-Man 2, gets a fitting redemption. Alfred Molina’s portrayal of the fan-favorite Spider-Man villain is among the best we’ve seen in a comic book film. Prior to joining with the mechanical tentacles, Otto was known for cheesy jokes about rubber bands and being a scientist who wanted to help people. Much like Spider-Man, he has faced loss and darkness. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is able to repair the inhibitor chip which allows Otto to regain control and mental composure. Allowing him to help the Spider-Men to save the multiverse and redeem himself for the atrocities committed in Spider-Man 2.

Green Goblin on the other hand goes full swing in the opposite direction. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin was always unhinged, but in No Way Home, Dafoe embraces the madness with zero restraint and acts as the leader of the villains. Guiding them in their attack on the Spider-Men. It’s an over-the-top performance from Dafoe that embraces the madness of the multiverse and gives Tom Holland’s Spider-Man an adversary that tests him more than we’ve ever seen before. It makes Tom’s journey through the pain, the hatred, and the darkness of losing Aunt May all the more impactful, because he’s not only fighting Green Goblin… He’s fighting against his inner demons, as well. Fighting against the primal urge to get vengeance against the man who took everything from him. Because if he gives in, he’ll be led down a path that he won’t easily recover from. That emotional turmoil… that moral quandary is the true antagonist of the film. Even more so than Green Goblin.

FACING THE WORLD ALONE

For as long as Peter Parker has been in the MCU, he’s had somebody to count on. Aunt May. Iron Man. Ned, his guy in the chair. No Way Home’s conclusion strips him of those comforts for the first time. With Aunt May and Tony Stark gone, and all memory of Peter Parker erased from the world, Peter sets out to carve his path truly alone. It’s a sacrifice he must make in order to keep those he cares about safe. Because he’s seen now how truly dangerous it can be for others when they’re close to him. And now… he has nobody.

Related: How To Craft The Perfect Time Travel Movie (VIDEO)

In order for Peter to truly become Spider-Man, he has to be broken first. And No Way Home accomplished that. It’s an incredibly dark story that managed to be endlessly entertaining. That’s an accomplishment that is not easily pulled off. No Way Home lived up to the hype through delivering stellar performances, harnessing nostalgia, giving laughs, action, and heart. But above all. It lived up to the hype because this is a movie that truly understands the character of Spider-Man. Sure, events are changed from the comics, but the heart and soul of the character is being poured onto the screen for fans to bathe in. It doesn’t matter who your favorite Spider-Man is, because in No Way Home they’re equals. Different… but the same.

Where do you put No Way Home in your Spider-Man ranking? How about in the MCU ranking? We want to know, so tell us in the comments. Don’t forget to like and subscribe for more fantastic content. See ya next time.

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Written by Reilly Johnson

Reilly Johnson is a businessman, journalist, and a staple in the online entertainment community contributing to some of the largest entertainment pages in the world. Currently, Reilly is the Editor-In-Chief of FandomWire, a subsidiary of Johnson Concepts.