REVIEW: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ speaks to the values of the superhero

Autumn Knight, Reporter

The newest addition to the Spider-Man series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is none other than “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Premiering on Dec. 17, fans flooded theaters around the world and brought in more than one billion in box office revenue.

Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) and his friends MJ and Ned are in the ending stages of high school. As everybody knows, this mainly includes stressing about future colleges, and they are no different. However, they quickly have another layer of stress added as their plans to go to the Massachusetts Institution of Technology together are halted. 

This comes from the controversy and claims against Parker being responsible for Mysterio’s actions in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” where he was also exposed as being Spiderman. As a result, he and his friends’ reputations suffer greatly, and their connection to Parker proves to be threatening the next chapter of their lives when they get rejected from MIT. Parker then goes to Dr. Strange and asks him to somehow make the world forget that he is Spider-man, in order to turn his life and college applications around for the better. This then causes horrible consequences when Spider-Man “villains” from past films begin to appear in Parker’s life, looking for him because he discovered and opened the multiverse.

The first notable aspect is that all the villains showcased from previous movies have the original actors reprising their roles. Although SandMan, Thomas Haden Church, did not get to film because of COVID reasons, the character was still included in the film by using past scenes intended for “Spider-Man 3.” Many of the other villains are well-known actors, easily identified by their role in multiple Spider-Man films from the early 2000s and 2010s. This includes Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavious, Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, and more. 

Other things from Parker’s past are present in this film as well, which adds to his character development throughout the trilogy. To be specific, Parker still very much misses Tony Stark since his death in “Avengers: Endgame.” Stark was like a father figure to Parker especially because, as a student and teen that loves science, he really looked up to him. 

A small detail that seemed to skim past fans is that MIT was mentioned in the Homecoming trilogy way before this film. Stark mentioned it in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Stark says during a phone call to Parker, “You know, it’s never too early to start thinking about college. I got some pull at MIT.” The reason why Stark claims to have “pull” at MIT is because this is the same college that he attended. So it only makes sense that Parker is desperate to go there as well, following in the same footsteps as his mentor and father figure. 

The character development of Parker has been drastically progressing since “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and some of the credit can be attributed to Stark and how he changed Parker. The reason why Stark helped fuel part of Parkers’ character development leading into this film is because he got to see first-hand the ultimate sacrifice that Stark made when he gave his life for his family and friends in “Avengers: Endgame.” 

Peter learns much about the world and the people in it and around him, but most importantly, himself. Specifically, how the good outweighs the bad. If the price is putting one person’s life in danger (his own) to save many more, then he’s going to take that chance because he truly cares about those around him. This is exactly what makes him such a good character and person. Even after all that Parker has been through, he still continues to fight, because if he doesn’t, the cost may be someone else’s Tony Stark. He genuinely cares for people and never wants to see anyone experience the same pain he has been through. Thus, one of the big realizations he has in this film is the importance of moving forward because the city needs him.

And it’s because of this, because of these reasons, why young kids look up to Spider-Man. Not simply because of his heroic acts, but because he is a person of character, integrity, empathy, and above all, humanity. Andrew Garfield’s surprise ComicCon speech in San Diego in 2011 was truly the embodiment of the character and what Parker stands for, which was truly showcased in “Spider-man: No Way Home.”

“And upon receiving his power, unlike most who become corrupted, he used it for good. And I think we all wished that we had the courage to stick up for ourselves more, to speak up for a loved one more or even a stranger that you see being mistreated, and Peter Parker has inspired me to feel stronger, he made me, Andrew, braver. He reassured me that by doing the right thing it’s worth it. It’s worth the struggle, it’s worth the pain, it’s worth even the tears, the bruises and the blood,” Garfield said.

Overall, this film was fantastically made and produced with phenomenal acting. Viewed by many as the best movie of the year, it’s most likely already lined up for awards, which it deserves. This film was comprised of all the great components a movie needs, bearing a creative plot never done before, character development, heartfelt scenes, action, and amazing writing. This film will be talked about for years, and will become the newest goal that other producers and directors strive to achieve in their careers.