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Friday, December 02, 2022

Was ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ really as good as everyone says it is?

The third installment of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man serves as a love letter to lifelong Marvel and Spider-Man fans

*Warning: spoilers will be included*

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is back — in more ways than one. 

He’s also bigger than ever. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man’s newest installment, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,'' is the eighth-highest grossing movie in the domestic box office, according to Variety. The movie was released Dec. 17 so it has the potential to climb even higher.

The film was well received by critics and fans worldwide, earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 98% audience score, respectively. 

The movie picks up directly after 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” where Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio reveals that Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. Desperate for a time when the world didn’t know Spider-Man’s identity, Parker goes to Dr. Strange for help. But, with a spell gone wrong, the multiverse opens and chaos ultimately ensues. 

“Unique” is the best way to describe “No Way Home,” as it did something no other Marvel movie has done before: bring the return of around 20 years of Spider-Man characters into the film. 

An essential aspect of the film was the reappearance of Spider-Man’s villains. The crew included Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Alfred Molina’s Dr. Otto Octavius and Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman from the original Spider-Man trilogy, along with Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard and Jamie Foxx’s Electro from Garfield’s Spider-Man series. 

Fan-favorite super villains weren’t the only cast members to return to the big screen. Just as legions of fans speculated online, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire made a monumental return as their iterations of Peter Parker. 

Even in their first scene together, Holland, Garfield and Maguire demonstrated their on-screen chemistry after Holland delivered a powerful performance holding Aunt May as she died. The three Spider-Mans bonded over the losses they’ve endured in their lives and passed on the classic saying: “with great power comes great responsibility.” 

Garfield stole the show, especially in an emotional scene where he saved Zendaya’s MJ from falling to her death. The pain in his eyes was clear that this served as the redemption for his love, Gwen Stacy, who fell to her death in the 2014 “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Until “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” Garfield’s Peter, the only one to lose a father figure and a love interest, was viewed as the loneliest Spider-Man. 

Fans loved Garfield’s performance so much in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” that since the movie has come out, “#MakeTASM3” (“Make The Amazing Spider-Man 3”) has been trending on Twitter. 

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However, is the story worth the hype? 

William Butterworth, a 19-year-old UF business administration sophomore, got tickets to an afternoon showing of the movie on Dec. 16, before its official release. 

Butterworth described his viewing as more of an experience than a movie. 

“It was a packed theater. And it was kind of like going to a sporting event,” Butterworth said. “People were cheering, standing up. The crowd was going crazy. It was very exciting.” 

Unlike other premieres like “Star Wars,” Butterworth felt there was a different level of excitement he’d never seen before when Garfield and Maguire first appeared on screen.

Another important moment in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the interaction between Maguire’s Peter and Dr. Otto Octavius, otherwise known as Doc Ock. 

Holland creates a new inhibitor chip to replace the one that was damaged in “Spider-Man 2” and left Octavius to be brainwashed and controlled by his metal tentacles. In return, Doc Ock helps Holland beat Electro in the final battle sequence, showing that Doc Ock was never really evil — he was a victim of a scientific invention gone wrong. 

This scene showed the gratitude Octavius felt to finally have control over himself again. 

While the movie was filled with so many valuable lessons and themes, audience members were left confused by a few plot points. 

Kaitlyn Tucker, president of Gator Comics, viewed the stabbing of Maguire’s Peter by the Green Goblin as a major point of confusion. Tucker said it didn’t make sense how Maguire was seemingly fine in the scenes afterward. 

“I think it was definitely something that was just done for the shock factor,” she said. 

Other perceived plot holes included the presence of J.K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson in both Maguire and Holland’s universe. However, Tucker enjoyed Simmons’ return. 

“I can't imagine anyone else playing J. Jonah Jameson,” Tucker said. “I feel like he's so good in that role, and he brings that humor to it,” 

The film succeeded in bringing back classic characters as if no time had passed at all —   because for the villains who were transported to Holland’s universe it hadn’t.

Additionally, having the returners, especially Maguire and Garfield, play in extended storylines that serviced the plot is what made it one of the best Marvel movies to date. 

“I know so many people do want to see Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man to come back,” Tucker said. “But at the same time, I feel like this movie did such a great job of showing almost like them passing the torch to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.” 

Contact Alexis at acarson@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @Alexis_Carson99.


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Alexis Carson

Alexis Carson is a third-year journalism major and staff writer with the Avenue. In her free time, she loves watching horror movies and going to concerts.


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