It’s been a while since I’ve watched a film and felt the need to talk spoilers but Spider-Man: No Way Home is a film that I saw almost a week ago and can’t stop thinking about. So this is your warning, this is going to be full of spoilers (but won’t necessarily be a play by play of the movie) so if you want to know my general thoughts on the film you can check out my spoiler-free review, though to be honest I recommend going into Spider-Man: No Way Home knowing as little as possible.
Now onto the spoilers!
I saw Spider-Man: No Way Home at a 7:30pm showing on opening night and I haven’t had an audience like it outside of midnight showings of Infinity War and Endgame. There was a buzz in the air before it started, a guy even came dressed as Spider-Man, and the reactions from the audience to certain characters appearances was so good and unexpected. In the UK we don’t do big and loud reactions to things at the cinema and to be honest the reactions weren’t huge but there was certainly some “woos!” and “yeahs!” and laughs and even a few claps but after that initial “oh my god it’s actually happening” reaction, the noise goes down to silence very quickly and it’s not continuous applause like you see on some of these viral audience reaction videos on twitter. But yeah, definitely hadn’t experienced that kind of thing outside on a midnight showing so that was a nice experience.
OK so I knew there’d been rumours for ages that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield would be making an appearance in this film but I’d done my best to avoid all spoilers and interviews so while I was pretty sure it was going to happen, I didn’t know for sure.
How they did turn up was so unexpected but wonderful. Having Ned and MJ being the ones who first met them in a normal setting and to bring them to their Peter was a nice touch. I loved MJ asking them to prove it and how Ned just called Tobey’s Peter “just some guy” because of course he’s wearing normal clothes with his suit underneath. I was especially surprised and pleased by how when they did arrive, they were more than glorified cameos. You get to learn about what their lives have been like since we last saw them and they feel like slightly older versions of the characters we used to know. They really did help Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and understood him in ways no one else could.
I saw Spider-Man (2002) in the cinema with my dad, older sister and her then boyfriend when I was ten years old and now, I’ve seen Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man in a film at the cinema once again and this time I’m 30 and I saw it with my mum. It’s a weird thing to think about how long the character and that actor playing him has been in my life and it did make me a bit emotional see Tobey Maguire back in the role.
I loved seeing all three actors/Peter Parker’s interact but there was something especially soothing about seeing Tobey Maguire back again. I loved how he was older and wiser than the other two and seemed to have found the balance between being Peter Parker and Spider-Man and how him and MJ were happy. I loved him telling Andrew’s Peter Parker he was amazing and was building his confidence and how that when the other two Peter’s learnt that he shot webs from his wrists he first thought they were teasing him when they were just curious. Like, out of all the Peter Parker’s I always felt that Tobey’s was the nerdiest and the most down on his luck, he was bullied by everyone but Harry and MJ and that affected him so much that he even thought other versions of himself were picking on him. And then how he (and Andrew’s Peter) don’t know what the Avengers are but he still tells Tom’s Peter “that’s great!” and is so excited about his achievements – that’s the Peter Parker I love, he’s always been kind and would big people up, whether that was MJ or Harry or even the girl across the hall in his apartment building so of course he’d be complimenting alternate versions of himself and be seeing the best of them.
When he stopped Tom Holland’s Peter from killing Green Goblin (and got stabbed for his efforts – was a little concerned for a second that Marvel was gonna kill “my” Peter Parker) and he didn’t have to say anything and just with a look he could talk Peter down and stop him making a huge mistake it was just perfect! I think that’s what so well with Tobey’s Peter for me, he did feel more experienced and even though he was older than the other two Peter’s he was just as strong (if not stronger) and he was quicker on the draw compared to Andrew’s Spider-Man when they first met. He’s just so comfortable in his own skin and it was so nice to see after knowing all the issues he’d had in the previous films.
OK now a bit about Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. I always liked him as Peter Parker/Spider-Man but I just wasn’t too keen on the films he was in so I’m really happy to see him in a film I love and now other people can see he was great in the role.
Andrew Garfield’s manic energy really works as he bounces off the other two and he just looks like he is having the time of his life. When he saved MJ – just brilliant and as soon as she started falling, I thought that he must save her. It gives him redemption over what happened to Gwen and the chance to forgive himself for what happened and to make sure another Peter Parker doesn’t have to go through what he went through. I thought both Garfield and Zendaya played the “are you OK?” moment so well too.
I am totally seeing Andrew Garfield playing his Peter as bisexual by the way. I remember him saying things in the publicity for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 about why can’t MJ be a guy and many think him pushing for Peter Parker to be queer is one of the reasons Sony stopped making those films with him as the lead and rebooted the character. In Spider-Man: No Way Home he throws up a peace sign to Tobey’s Spider-Man as they disappear and Tobey’s Peter even asks if he “has someone”, using a gender-neutral term (which I personally like to see as another sign that Tobey’s Peter is a pretty chill dude that just wants to make everyone feel comfortable). I don’t know, Andrew’s Peter just feels like disaster bi energy to me, especially in comparison to the other two versions of Peter Parker.
Some not Tobey and Andrew specific things I really enjoyed.
I appreciated how they got Doctor Strange out of this film and used him in a way that didn’t mean that he took over the spotlight. I also like how the spell went wrong and his fight with Spider-Man in the mirror dimension, thought that was pretty cool. As a sidenote I’m intrigued to see what I make of Strange in his own movie next year as I really didn’t like the character in Doctor Strange but I didn’t mind him in Infinity War, Endgame or Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s like I don’t like him as a lead but don’t mind him as a secondary character or acting opposite other characters I love.
I was really surprised by how quickly they kind of wrapped up the everyone-knows-Peter-is-Spider-Man thing. Like sure, Peter and his friends and family was still dealing with the fallout but the legal fallout was sorted out pretty quick. Though, Peter did have a great lawyer in Matt Murdock and the way he caught that brick and then clearly instantly regretted it because he’s supposed to be a defenceless blind lawyer made me laugh. I do love how Charlie Cox is being brought into the MCU and after I’ve now finally watched all the Marvel Netflix shows I hope some other actors/characters make a return too. Though I think a certain someone’s going to make a return in Hawkeye this week.
I didn’t really think about how seeing Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina back as Green Goblin and Doc Ock would make me so happy. But they did, even before all the other reveals happened, just having those two back as a couple of great villains was an absolute joy.
Oh and a character who wasn’t even in Spider-Man: No Way Home but made me feel things was Harry Osborn once again. First of all, when Norman was in Aunt May’s soup kitchen and he was so sad that his son didn’t even exist, that got to me. But when Ned asked Tobey’s Peter if he had a best friend and he said oh so deadpan “Yes, he tried to kill me and then died in my arms. It was heart-breaking” I simultaneously laughed and also got sad because yes Harry tried to kill Peter but he loved Peter (and MJ) so much that he literally died for Peter and saved his life. Harry died saving someone he loved after fighting side by side and I wish Peter had somehow clarified that because Harry was good and deserved so much more. Yeah, after my big Spider-Man rewatch got me loving Harry Osborn I did not expect those feelings to make a reappearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
I did not expect Aunt May to die. I did think she was being perhaps a bit too naïve and pushy about rehabilitating the villains but she (and Uncle Ben in the other movies) is the driving force of Peter wanting to do good so it makes sense. I honestly thought she was OK to begin with even though that glider properly took her out. Also, once again Jon Favreau is the one to make me unexpectedly teary eyed and when Happy gets to the apartment and see’s what’s happening, the look on his face wrecked me.
I’ll finish this up by talking about the ending. Having the world forget that Peter Parker existed is so sad but it’s also something that I think really works. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is back to his roots. He has no Stark tech or super suit, he has no support system, and he didn’t even finish high school. It will be really interesting to see how the Peter goes forward and it gives the filmmakers space to introduce other characters. I’m sure at some point Peter will tell Ned and MJ and make them remember but I hope it’s not straightaway. They are going to MIT and Peter’s not so it gives the space for him to make new friends and love interests for a while and have stories separate to them. That would make when they do remember him and the three of the reconnect more impactful too.
There are probably other things I forgot but this is long enough. I’m interested to see where Spider-Man goes in the MCU next and I just loved any and all interactions between the three Peter’s.
I really hope the filmmakers have got interviews with Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland together to release once enough time has passed or maybe to coincide with the DVD release because I’d love to see interviews with the three of them. It was special for the audience to see them together so I’d love to hear what they thought of it all and if there’s not interviews there better be loads of behind-the-scenes stuff.
Well done if you got to the end of all this. I think it’s around 2,000 words long and it is practically a word vomit of thoughts and emotions about this dumb Spider-Man film. I’d love to see it again but with the pandemic I’m not sure if that’ll happen any time soon.
If you’ve seen Spider-Man: No Way Home I’d love to hear what you made of it. For me it truly was one of the best cinema experiences I’ve ever had.