‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ multiversal journey is nostalgic and brings an exciting future to the Marvel Cinematic Universe


Kaila Babyar

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” brings the multiverse to the big screen, which the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to build on for years to come.

Aidan Renteria, Photographer

From all the movies that came out in 2021, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” directed by Jon Watts, was the film I was looking forward to the most. I have not been pleased with the recent movies, “Homecoming” and “Far From Home,” due to the lack of consequences and standards that I love about Spider-Man, such as Peter trying hard to attend school on time and barely being able to afford his apartment/home. Yet, “No Way Home” fixed Tom Holland as Spider-Man for the better, which his recent movies have felt lackluster. 

Spider-Man has been one of my favorite superheroes as a kid. He represented something larger than just being a superhero, a good person. Peter works hard trying to help his aunt, he works at F.E.A.S.T. a charity group, and he does his best to help his friends no matter what problems they have. This movie contains so much of that comic book feel that has been left out, which I absolutely cherish. “No Way Home” is a great conclusion to Watts’ Spider-Man trilogy, leaving a lasting impression for the future of Marvel. 

Watts’s newest Spidey film follows Peter Parker, portrayed by Tom Holland, after the event from “Far From Home.” The Villain, Mysterio, has publicly revealed the true identity of Spider-Man and blames him for the attack on London. The city begins to be split over how they perceive Spider-Man, either a dangerous vigilante or a hero. Peter then comes up with an idea to erase the world’s remembrance of him being Spider-Man. He seeks out the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Dr. Strange, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, in desperation asking for everyone in New York to forget that he is Spider-Man. With this request, Dr. Strange begins casting the spell, but in the middle of casting Peter asks him to change the content of the spell multiple times causing Strange to lose concentration on the spell making him have to shut it down. Peter soon learns that the spell somehow was not confined correctly and people who know who Spider-Man is from different dimensions are not transported into his world. With this in mind, Peter is now on a quest to find those who have been sucked out of their worlds and help them.

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has not been my favorite iteration of the beloved Marvel character, yet the growth in the movie was lovely to see. Nothing is wrong with his performance. I think he is a decent high schooler, but the plot and experiences of his Spider-Man did not really feel like Spider-Man to me. He was in Iron Man’s shadow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but he truly found himself in this motion picture. He faces so many challenges such as trying to fix the villains from the other dimensions, the citizens of New York thinking he is the murder of Mysterio, having everyone on the planet forget about his existence, as well as overcoming the death of his aunt May, portrayed by Marisa Tomei. 

Peter Parker goes from a happy teen to a kid having to face huge consequences that will forever change him. A reason why Spider-Man is loved by so many is because he is an everyday kid who goes up and faces evil, even though he has everyday problems like you and me. That is something I respected about Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy because it was not afraid to have Peter Parker have to deal with fighting Green Goblin or Doc Ock, but also have to worry about paying for next week’s rent for his apartment or being able to show up to class on time. 

That is what Spider-Man is to me. This movie brought back that version of Spidey I respect. Tom Holland perfectly captured those lonely and heartbreaking moments in this movie. In the first half of the film, he was the goofy teen he has been acting as for the last 5 years, but once he fails saving the villains and the person closest to him, his aunt May, he has one of the moments that makes him the Spider-Man I have been waiting for since his introduction back in “Captain America: Civil War.” No Way Home brilliantly showcases why Tom Holland is Spider-Man and I can not wait to see where this version of the character goes in future films. 

Zendaya and Jacob Batalon did a great performance playing Peter Parker’s best friends. Zendaya did a fine job playing Peter’s girlfriend, his MJ, but I did not feel the connection between as much as I did with the two previous live action Spider-Men and their partners. It just did not feel as important since they only started dating at the end of “Far From Home”, and this movie made it seem like they have been together for a while. Zendaya did her best presenting an awkward girl in high school on the big screen, yet the relationship was not as powerful as it could have been for me. 

Spider-Man was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 by legendary comic creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The character has grown since his initial creation in 1962, the web head has been fighting villains of all sorts with the quote that forever changed him, with great power there must also come great responsibility! (Aidan Renteria)

While for Jacob Batalon, Ned, you feel that connection with Peter is so much more personal, yet he sidelined him for Zendaya’s character. In “Homecoming,” Ned was such a fun addition that really stood out to me, but he did not get to shine as much in it. With the parts he was in, it was great. They were great all together and were building off of each other. The friendship between the three behind the scenes can be seen throughout the movie. It all feels natural when they are all together, but that is expected when they have been working together for this long. I was pleased with both of these side characters performances and am sad it will not ever be the same after the ending scene. 

Michael Giacchino, the composer of the soundtrack for this film, did an amazing job, which helped immerse me as a viewer into the story. The themes for certain scenes were great, which is all you can really ask for when it comes to music in movies. The theme especially at the end when Peter Parker is setting up his things in his new apartment and goes out swinging around the city in his new suit was such a powerful moment that the music Michael Giacchino implemented made it one of the most fascinating scenes in the movies. Although personally this film’s music is not as good as Danny Elfman’s music for the Sam Raimi’s trilogy (totally nostalgic), I really enjoyed it.

With superhero movies beginning to be oversaturated, director Jon Watts threw in a lot of characters in a movie, yet somehow made it work. Having that many characters be integral to the story can be messy at times, but it worked well in this movie, although many of the villains acted differently from their counterparts from their previous film it was done pretty well, especially Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin. Something I loved about this movie was all the fan service that was implemented. 

When the previous two live-action Peter Parkers, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, were brought into the new movie my mind was blown. I was watching the two Spider-Men I grew up with team up with the new one to save the day. Plus watching that with friends, just made it such a treat to experience it was something I will never forget. Also the inclusion of the man without fear himself, Daredevil was a little cameo I enjoyed. The cinematography was pretty decent throughout the film, but it really shined on certain scenes, such as when Peter is standing in the rain after defeat and when the three web heads were fighting together. Watts had so much to deliver and he really pulled it off. Everything I wanted to happen happened and more. He did a great job with this film and I can’t wait to see where he takes the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man next. 

“No Way Home” is not just an important movie to the MCU, but something I will always remember watching with my friends. In this film Peter Parker transforms from a happy teenager to being a broken individual. He is a different person from the beginning of the movie to the end. I love Spider-Man not because of his powers, even though they are really cool, but because of Peter Parker. The Peter in this story goes through so many challenges and losses, yet he still decides to put on the mask to face evil. I have always been a huge Spider-Man fan since I was a kid, but this movie really was something I could have only dreamed of as a kid. 

This movie, in my opinion, is 8.5 out of 10. This movie was a treat and loved watching every minute of it. It was really like watching a comic book put into real life. It was just so enjoyable to see on the big screen. I would say even if you have not seen the previous Spider-Man movies, you should watch No Way Home, though I do recommend you do watch the previous Spider-Man films. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” takes aspects from the previous films and builds on them to improve the Peter Parker we see in this new chapter of his life. The action, the cast, and the story is all great and has me so excited to see where Marvel Studios goes next. As the great comic book legend himself, Stan Lee, says, excelsior!