BY MATT TUCK
No Way Home has quickly become a behemoth of the box office. Like any good MCU entry, it leaves you with one question, what’s next? CAUTION: MAJOR SPOILERS.
I AM SPOILING EVERYONE’S NEW FAVORITE MOVIE TODAY. OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF MY HEART, IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN NO WAY HOME, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? GO SEE IT, THEN COME BACK TO TODAY’S POST.
DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.
If you are still reading at this point, I can safely assume you either saw No Way Home or you’re a poor twisted soul who doesn’t enjoy big screen surprises. Either way, you’re buckled into the roller coaster now, and the ride has started.
Let’s get the spoilers out of the way: Tom Holland is definitely in this movie. Like, he’s in practically every scene. Who saw that coming?
Seriously, thanks to the combined efforts of YouTube and social media, it took less than 24 hours from Thursday night’s theatrical release for everything to be ruined anyway. There’s hardly any avoiding the viral fan reaction videos unless you stay off the internet altogether. That is exactly why I try to be the first person in line for Marvel movies because it doesn’t take long before the moment is ruined.
To this point, I have incessantly complained about the MCU Spider-Man franchise. Like the vast majority of the Disney-fied Marvel, Homecoming and Far From Home relied on cheap laughs and slapstick. The supporting cast of sitcom characters was enough to make me vomit a stream of trendy TikTok dance videos.
As a massive Spider-Man fan, watching those two movies drove me insane. For a production company named Marvel Studios, they seemed to understand awfully little about the biggest character in Marvel Comics history. Aside from being a kid from Queens with spider powers and a bag full of one-liners, there wasn’t much else that made this feel like Spider-Man. Uncle Ben’s oft-repeated-but-necessary death was missing, so there was no character-forming guilt from which to build his moral compass. The core concept behind Spider-Man is that he is one of us. This Peter Parker was anything but. He had Tony Stark apparently footing the bills, giving him fatherly advice, and dolling out high-tech suits. Peter went from self-made, relatable superhero to being the would-be star of his own live-action Disney kids show.
The first half of No Way Home felt very much like the same verse, just a little bit louder and little bit worse. There’s the constant reminders that this is just one of a thousand movies and shows in the same universe. The characters’ responses to, well, everything was ridiculous. Even when the villains from the other movies start turning up, the sequence felt like a Lego video game set on the easiest difficulty. “Here, Peter, you and your pals take this magical vambrace, find the villains, and teleport them back to Sanctum Sanctorum. See me when you’re done.”
The second half of this movie blew me away, and it turned what was another lackluster MCU movie into the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2. Some will argue it surpassed that superhero masterpiece.
Just when I was ready to permanently throw in the towel on Spider-Man movies, here comes Willem Dafoe and the Green Goblin. From there, he becomes a plot device like no other - one with the power to rid Spider-Man of overbearing, cliche characters that weigh him down, starting with Aunt May, who finally gives Peter the “great power/great responsibility” speech.
Sure, there were plenty of corny wisecracks and questionably convenient plot moments, but the movie took on an entirely different tone from there on out. Just when it looked like Scooby and the mystery gang would link their magic rings and save the day together, No Way Home leaves them all behind. The next franchise looks like it will pull Peter away from MJ, Happy Hogan, and his oddball sidekick, Ned. Just before the credits roll, Peter actually becomes the real Spider-Man. He moves into a tiny apartment because it’s all he can afford. He’s no longer an Avenger with Iron Man tech, he’s not Tony Stark’s heir. Peter is a superhero who has to do it all on his own while balancing everyday tasks, like paying bills. When we see him swing for the credits, he’s sporting the best Spider-Man suit to date, and it had serious Amazing Spider-Man #301 vibes.
Spider-Man finally grew up, and boy did this franchise need a healthy dose of maturity. For the first time, I have hope that the next movie won’t feel like a superhero version of Suite Life of Hannah iCarly.
THAT MID-CREDITS SCENE
So far, all the spoilers online are dead set on ruining the crowd-pleasing moments when Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire show up (which was great, by the way). What isn’t getting so much attention is the mid-credits scene with Tom Hardy. Fitting the mold of the Venom and Homecoming films, it was nothing more than a big joke. You’ve got Eddie Brock at a bar getting the rundown of the MCU to this point. He’s completely blown away by Thanos wanting stones and argues that aliens just want to eat brains.
Obviously we’ve all been waiting for Venom and Spider-Man to butt heads since Tom Holland and J.K. Simmons appeared in the mid-credits of Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Apparently, it was all a troll on Marvel’s fans, and I’m surprised we’re all still putting up with this, frankly. Eddie makes his jokes, and then he is teleported back into the Sony-verse. So it looks like we won’t be getting that Venom/Spider-Man MCU crossover. In fact, it appears the Sony and Marvel franchises are no longer connected.
Just like Venom from the comics, the symbiote leaves a bit of itself behind, which creates an entirely new line of theories. Will we get a separate Venom for the MCU? It looks like that could be the route Marvel Studios is taking. Marvel and Sony have confirmed that Holland is signed for another trilogy of movies. No doubt, the spawn of Venom left behind at the end of NWH will be an important factor in the future movies, and it unlocks a number of potential stories.
Be it cartoons or movies, I have always wanted to see a true black suit saga. I’m talking about a slow burn that progresses over years like the comics. Normally, Peter gets the symbiote, notices the power upgrade, then ditches the suit when he figures out it is permanently bonding to him. This all happens within one act of the story.
What would be a more effective story is if the suit bonds with Peter, and we get an entire movie of him being Spider-Man in the cool alien costume. In NWH, we see Peter’s aggressive, vengeful side, and that is the part of his personality the symbiote would amplify. By the second movie, Peter’s mood and demeanor are darker (and not in a Bully Maguire-being-a-jerk kind of way) until he frees himself from it. That could set up a new symbiote for the MCU. After all, Venom did eat Carnage in LTBC, which means the symbiote offspring would potentially have traits of both of its predecessors. In fact, this could be the MCU introduction of Anti-Venom, but that’s a blog topic for another day, which would be the perfect adversary for Eddie and Venom.
WHAT ABOUT THE SONY-VERSE?
Too much has been said about bringing the Venom and Spider-Man franchises together for it to be haphazardly thrown away for a joke. All the way back to 2018’s Venom, director Ruben Fleischer spoke of the movies eventually intertwining. In the past week, Kevin Feige specifically said that Venom and Spider-Man would eventually have a crossover. Then came the LTBC mid-credits scene, and minds were blown all over the world.
Was the disappointing No Way Home bonus scene all just another setup for Marvel to insult and ostracize its fanbase with another tease that turns into a giant middle finger? I highly doubt it. There is a strategy in motion, and I don’t think we have seen the last of Tom Hardy in the MCU. With the Multiverse, anything and everything is possible.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.