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"Spider-Man: No Way Home" - A Film Breakdown

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.


This is a breakdown/analysis of the film. There WILL be spoilers. Below is the link to my non-spoiler review if you prefer that.

The film opens exactly where Far From Home left off. Mysterio has framed Spider-Man for murder and revealed his identity. J. Jonah Jameson of The Daily Bugle of course capitalizes on this, turning most of New York City against him. It's so good to have J.K. Simmons back as Jameson. Come on, the man was born to be Jameson. His voice alone is proof of that.

The DODC, the FBI, and the NYPD all interrogate Peter, Ned, MJ, May, and Happy, which is also when Peter finds out Nick fury has been off-world for a year, meaning he was not around during Far From Home. It's doubtful peter even knows about the Skrulls, so imagine his mind absolutely blowing up when he hears that. Nice little hint at what's to come in Secret Invasion?

We get our first surprise when Matt Murdoch (yes, it's Charlie Cox of Netflix's Daredevil) makes an appearance as Peter's lawyer. That was a brilliant way to re-introduce Daredevil, which ties in perfectly to the reveal in Hawkeye episode 5.

Neither MJ, Ned, nor Peter are allowed in MIT due to the controversy surrounding Spider-Man. Peter carries this guilt on his shoulders because he feels like it's his fault this is happening.

Oh, quick call-back. MJ working in a small bakery was a nice little reference to Mary Jane in the Tobey trilogy working at a diner before she made her big break in stage acting.

With Tony gone, Cap gone, pretty much all the Avengers scattered or doing their own thing, Peter turns to Doctor Strange for help. Apparently, Wong is now the Sorcerer Supreme, which you can tell is really burning Strange up because he was snapped away for 5 years. "He won it on a technicality." Strange says, clearly frustrated that his entire plan which saved the universe meant nothing because he wasn't present.

Peter explains his situation and, after some brief pushback, Strange agrees to help. "Hasn't he been through enough?" Strange asks Wong, sympathizing with Peter. Wong clearly isn't happy but allows Strange to help. "Just leave me out of it." He says as he takes off through a portal, assumedly back to Kamar-Taj.

As Strange begins to cast the spell, Peter starts having second thoughts. He wants MJ to remember him...then Ned, then May, then Happy. Peter tampers with the spell so much that it goes haywire. Strange is able to contain it but not before some familiar faces return.

Peter, with the help of Flash Thompson, is able to track down a member of the board at MIT and pleads his case, not for himself but for his friends. Enter Doc Ock. The bridge battle is really cool, but the scene is more funny than anything. Doc's arms are able to absorb some of Peter's nanotech from his suit. What Doc doesn't realize is that Peter can control his suit's tech no matter where it is, much like how Tony was able to control his Iron Man suits from anywhere in the world. Spidey is able to control Doc's tentacles now, traps Doc with his own devices and takes him back to the Sanctum Sanctorum where Strange traps him in a cell. Peter discovers that Lizard is also trapped there. Strange explains that Peter's need for his friends to remember him caused the spell to pull everyone who knows Peter Parker from every universe into this one. Thankfully, Strange was able to contain the spell before something far worse happened. Strange gives Peter a device which will weave mystic energy with his webbing, which will send anyone he uses it on back to the Sanctum. Here's where Electro and Sandman come in. now, a lot of people wondered why Electro looks like normal Jamie Foxx instead of blue Jamie Foxx. When Spidey fires the mystic web into Electro, it initially goes through him because he's pure electricity when he arrives. So I think a combination of the mystic energy and being in a new universe gave Electro his body back.

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Oh, and really quickly, the black suit we saw in the trailer is called the Inside/Out suit. It's quite literally his normal suit turned inside-out. But, hey, looked cool.

May calls Peter, saying one of his multiversal people were at FEAST, the homeless shelter May runs. Peter rushes over there to find Norman Osborn who is extremely confused. He mentions Oscorp doesn't exist, so we can mark that off the list of people Tony sold Avengers Tower to back in 2016 when Spider-Man: Homecoming took place. Baxter Building maybe? Danny Rand? Who knows. Anyway, Peter promises to help Norman and takes him to the Sanctum. Now that everyone's there, Strange reveals he has constructed a device (the box we see in the trailer) that will reverse the spell and send everyone back home. Doc Ock sees Norman and is astonished, revealing that Norman died. Sandman then in turn reveals Doc Ock died. So Peter, being the pure soul he is, doesn't want to send everyone back home to their deaths. He wants to cure them. Strange has a cold moment, telling Peter "their deaths do not outweigh everyone else's lives." Peter refuses, and steals the box from Strange, which leads them into an amazing battle that you have to see to appreciate. Peter is able to outsmart Strange, showcasing just how brilliant Peter really is and how arrogant Strange still is. Peter traps Strange in the Mirror Dimension and returns, promising a cure for everyone so they won't have to die. Peter figures out a cure for Doc Ock, who turns good just like he did at the end of Tobey's Spider-Man 2. Electro allows Peter to help, but just as the Stark tech is about to fix him, Electro rips it off, not wanting to give up his power. The true betrayal comes from Norman though, who not only convinces all the villains to turn against Peter but also bombs FEAST and kills Aunt May in the process. This whole scene is so emotional and heartbreaking that it's truly hard to watch, especially when she tells Peter he did the right thing even as she's dying. "With great power there must also be great responsibility", a quote that's reiterated by none other than Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man a few minutes later after he and Andrew Garfield come through a portal which Ned opened. Ned has magic, whaaaaaaat? Please, please explore that in future films, Marvel.

Tobey and Andrew were both mentors of sorts to Tom, who just wanted nothing more than to kill Norman for his aunt's death. Tobey and Andrew both tell him stories, one of Ben's death and the other of Gwen's death. The three work together to make cures for each of the villains, which is a dream in and of itself. But then to see them swing together and battle against the villains together....that was something Spidey fans only dreamed of until now. Marvel has been making dreams come true ever since The Avengers became a reality in 2012. All three Spider-Men together was a truly special moment that fans will treasure forever.

The banter among the three Spideys was absolute gold, both Andrew and Tom completely astounded by Tobey's organic web fluid. Oh, and before I forget, that leak that Andrew swore up and down was fake and Disney tried to say was fake....yeah, it was in the movie. For once, the leaks were real.

There's a great redemption moment for Andrew, who saves MJ, almost near tears as he asks her if she's okay, still unable to forgive himself for Gwen's death but relieved to be able to save MJ for Tom's sake.

At last it's Tom's Spidey versus Goblin and Tom's not pulling his punches. He gets rageful and is ready to kill Norman. But Tobey stops him. Tobey looks him in the eye and Tom realizes this isn't the way. It's a beautiful moment between the two. There's no dialogue in that moment and there really didn't need to be. The look in Tobey's eyes, the realization in Tom' was a perfectly beautiful moment.

Strange returns, pissed, but calms down once he realizes Tom's plan worked. Strange activates the box and sends everyone home, but the spell causes breaks in reality. What starts as millions of lights turns into shapes of people, one of them clearly classic Rhino from the animated Spider-Man series. There's probably a ton of easter eggs in that moment but it's impossible to catch them all in a couple seconds' time. Keep an eye out for New Rockstars' breakdown. I'm sure they'll have more to say about that.

Peter asks Strange that if everyone's coming because of him, then what if they all forgot him? That means everyone in every universe, including ours, will forget Peter Parker ever existed. Does that mean Tobey and Andrew will also be forgotten in their universes? Or just Tom? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Strange and Spidey have a beautiful heartfelt moment here Strange tries to ensure Peter understands the gravity of what he's asking. "Everyone who loves you, we won't remember you. It'll be like you never existed." Notice how Strange said 'we' not 'they'. He may be cold sometimes, even a hard-ass at times. But saying 'we' shows that he too cared for Peter and didn't want to have to forget him. But Peter was willing to make that sacrifice because he's just that good of a person. He will always put others before himself because he's a pure soul who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Strange casts the spell and Peter says goodbye to MJ and Ned and the romantics in the audience bawled our eyes out.

As the film comes to a close, Peter visits May's grave, which says "If you help someone you help everyone", a beautiful reminder for Peter to keep his purity and keep his heart. What's truly sad is that Peter is now truly alone. He lost Tony, he lost May, and now no one remembers him, causing him to lose Strange, MJ, and Ned too. And even though Peter had the chance to tell MJ the truth, Peter decided it would be better if she didn't remember. MJ's face looked confused, as if she recognized him but couldn't remember exactly from where. Perhaps true love is the spell's exception? Maybe MJ will remember him after all?

The mid-credits scene is another Venom crossover, which sends Eddie and Venom back to their own world BUT a bit of the symbiote was left behind on the counter. So guess what? It may not be Tom Hardy but we have Venom in the MCU now.

The final credits scene is a teaser trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which reveals that the spell Strange cast in order to fix the Multiverse actually broke it further. From the looks of it, you will need to be caught up on WandaVision, What If, and possibly Loki in order to fully appreciate the film. There's brief peeks at Wanda in full Scarlet Witch form, America Chavez, and Strange Supreme, who is the evil side of Doctor Strange which we see in What If.

Five more months, then the madness begins.

© 2021 Nathan Jasper

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