The Nostalgic Masterpiece that is Spider-Man: No Way Home

As a young girl, I always had a fascination with watching the original Spider-Man trilogy but little did I know that 15 years later, on Dec. 17, 2021, I would be watching the newest anticipated movie of the year on opening night!

Allison Luna, Editor in Chief

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ directed by Jon Watts, managed to capture the essence of true nostalgia and adventure within a 2-hour and 28-minute time frame. The movie begins where it left off in the previous movie ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,” when Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity is revealed to the public. The sequence continues as he and his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) attempt to escape the chaos taking place both on the ground and in the skies. From there, the authorities begin to question him about the crime, that he did not commit, along with MJ, his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). 

Peter travels to the Sanctum Sanctorum, the home of Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). He asks Stephan if there was some way to take back what Mysterio said so that he, along with his loved ones, can live in peace without the unnecessary stress that is the public. Doctor Strange suggests the idea of casting a memory wipe spell which could lead to a multiversal conflict. Taking the risk, Dr. Strange casts the spell but with no knowledge of how magic works, Peter begins making requests to change up the spell so that specific people in his life would still be able to know that he is Spider-Man. This would prompt the spell to go completely haywire and we are now introduced to the characters we have long been waiting to see on screen again!

Careful what you wish for Parker because Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), Norman Osborn (Willem DaFoe), and Electro (Jamie Foxx) have made their debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Peter manages to capture the villains with enhanced webbing and teleports them to the Undercroft. However, Peter from Dr. Strange learns that once they do go back to their respective realities, they’re ultimately killed by “their” Spider-Man. Already carrying the burden of ruining the lives of his loved ones, he feels sympathy for them and thinks there should be an alternative. This would lead to a visually appealing action sequence as Peter and the rest of the audience take a tour through the mirror dimension. With a little bit of “math,” he beats Dr. Strange at his own game and carries on the mission to cure the villains. 

It may have seemed promising that they will all get cured, but it was in this very scene that the audience gets a glimpse of Peter sensing something bad is going to happen in the coming moments. Green Goblin makes his grand entrance and begins to wreak havoc which would then lead to an intense fight between the two. Aunt May attempts to save Peter but gets taken out by the infamous glider. Peter claims that everything that has happened has been his fault and that he can’t save everyone to which May says the famous words that have carried on throughout the Spider-Man movies, “with great power, must also come great responsibility,” before she succumbs to her injuries and dies in his arms.

We are brought to the next sequence which had everyone screaming, cheering, shedding tears of joy, and feeling an overwhelming sensation of nostalgia as MJ and Ned call for who they assume is their Peter Parker, through a portal. As the figure gets close, the audience grows in excitement as they see the huge white eyes and darker tones of red and blue. He unmasks himself and it is revealed to Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) from the Mark Webb universe. Soon enough, they try again to find the real one and another portal opens up to reveal the original Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) we all grew to love as young kids from the Sam Raimi universe. 

They would eventually meet with Tom’s Peter as he’s alone and mourning the loss of his beloved aunt. The other Spideys console him saying that they know what that grief feels like since they’ve experienced the same thing with the loss of Tobey’s Uncle Ben from the first Spider-Man film and Andrew’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy from the second Amazing Spider-Man film. They would soon realize that although they have lived different lives, they still share the same heart and soul as dedicated heroes and passionate individuals. 

After some comedic and epic scenes with the three Spidermen, they each begin to cure each of the villans and everything is at a standstill. The moment didn’t last long as Green Goblin’s pumpkin bomb completely destroys the box containing the spell that will send everyone back to their respective universe. Reality begins to crack causing its surroundings to start collapsing. MJ loses her footing and falls, mirroring exactly Gwen’s death drop from the Amazing Spider-Man 2. Tom’s Peter is inches away from saving the love of his life before he’s taken away by the glider which then leads to… redemption! Andrew’s Peter saves MJ! This is emotional, for both the audience and Andrew’s Peter, because it goes to show how much he has been thinking about Gwen and how he wished he could’ve saved her. 

At this point, Doctor Strange is trying his hardest to contain the spell and says that “he can’t stop it.” Tom’s Peter then has to come up with a plan that can save his reality and wishes that everyone forgot who he was. Although this spell is very effective, Doctor Strange warns him that this will make everyone that he had ever loved, forget who he was. Making the ultimate sacrifice, he says to cast it. He promises to both MJ and Ned that he will find them again and explain everything, making the scene so heart aching and a tear-jerker. Telling him she loves him, MJ and Peter share a kiss as it’ll be the last thing he’ll have to remember her until they meet again. The spell is cast over New York and everyone is sent back home.

The movie’s ending is bittersweet because we all hoped that there would be another way to fix the spell but ultimately, Peter made the right choice. Now moving into his own apartment and studying to get his GED, he takes on the world on his own. He makes a new suit as an homage to his brothers with the original Spider-Man colors and swings through snowy New York.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is such a masterpiece of a movie! It brings in all the elements of childhood nostalgia but also contains amazing story-telling and outstanding acting from each and every one of the actors. Although the movie ended differently than most Marvel fans anticipated, it shows a deeper meaning that we as humans, both real and fictional, must endure obstacles and make sacrifices in our lives to be the best people we can be. Because with great power, there must also come great responsibility.