The Nerdy Adrenaline Rush and Celebration that is Spiderman: No Way Home

Okay, so this is going to be filled with spoilers so heads up if you haven’t seen No Way Home yet and have managed to avoid spoilers up to this point. Anyways, I have so many things that I want to say about this movie, and it deserves to be spoken about in a more structured format than me stumbling over my words and tripping over multiple thoughts all at once.

                Spiderman has always been one of those characters that I’ve just always felt connected to. Growing up, it was always all about Batman and Spiderman. They’ve been my favorite superheroes since I was a child and nothing has changed thirty-odd years later. I’ll never forget how excited I felt when the trailer for Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman came out. That teaser is still one of the best ever. I remember going to the theater and watching that first movie in complete awe. One of my all time favorite superheroes had come to life and my excitement was so high that I didn’t give a shit about all the things they changed about the character and the villain. The changes didn’t take away the heart of the characters nor did it completely abandon the source material. I ended up seeing that first Spiderman movie five or six times with my friends. When it released on DVD, I snatched it up as fast as I could and watched it over and over again. It’s always awesome when a movie can reenforce your fandom.

                The second movie came out and I was stoked! I was going to get to see Doc Oct vs Spiderman! The first time I saw the second movie, I remember feeling a little let down, but thinking back on it, I think that was only because I trying to act “cool,” and didn’t want those around me to know just how nerdy I was. This was such a stupid thought process though because they all knew how nerdy I was and none of them cared. But, I ended up seeing it a couple of times and still bought it immediately when it came out to own.

                Then the third movie was announced. We were getting Venom and my nerdy fandom soared! Holy shit, we were going to get a live action battle between Spiderman and Venom! The black suit was coming, Peter’s fall from grace was on the way! I was so excited until they announced who was going to play Eddie Brock/Venom. Topher fucking Grace. I was bummed but I held onto the hope that it would turn out great and regardless, I was going to be watching a live action battle between two of the best characters in Marvel.

                And then I saw the movie.

                I can only compare my crushed feelings to how I felt when I saw Batman & Robin. The studio, the director, the cast, everyone apart of the movie had taken something I cherish and covet because of what they mean to me on a very deep, emotional level, and destroyed it. They turned it into a joke, a mockery. I was so pissed. And didn’t bother rewatching or buying it when it came out. In fact, the third movie crushed me so much that I didn’t watch the Tobey Maguire movies for several years after that.

                And then a reboot was announced and an actor who I was becoming a bigger and bigger fan of was cast top play Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield was given the mantel and I felt a tingling of excitement which turned into pure joy when they announced that Doctor Conners was going to be the villain! Not only that, but Gwen Stacey was coming to the big screen! I felt like I had when that first Maguire movie had been announced.

                The movie came out and I became obsessed with it. It brought so much nerdy joy to my life again. I remember feeling overwhelmed with awe as I watched Spiderman utilize his acrobatics and intelligence, all of the sarcasm was perfect. The emotional part of the story was perfect. I ate that movie up and just like Nolan’s take on Batman, my love for the character, was elevated and justified again! I was stoked for the sequel and when the announcements for it started rolling out, I felt a little uneasy because they announced that Jamie Fox was going to be Electro. But Paul Giamatti was going to be Rhino and that was perfect! Spidey vs Rhino always made for an awesome fight! The movie came out and I couldn’t see it fast enough. I’ll be honest, I loved it(for the most part). There were a bunch of clunky feeling sequences and I had a problem with the Goblin and Harry Osbourne in general. But, to this day I still think TAS2 delivered a couple of the most perfect sequences ever. Gwen’s death is just as crushing on the screen as it was in the comics. Andrew Garfield’s acting is off the charts in this movie, and the final scene of the movie is one of the most moving and powerful superhero scenes.

                And then, TAS ended. There wouldn’t be a third movie, we wouldn’t get the sinister six. Garfield was no longer Spiderman and I was crushed. Until, Spidey showed up in the MCU. That was exciting on so many levels!

                I already said that I was a fan of the MCU’s Spiderman, so I’ll skip the movie breakdowns. Except that a live action Mysterio was perfect and incredible! Anyways! Let’s get to No Way Home!

                There was so much rumor and hype going into No Way Home. So many questions and anticipation. I can honestly tell you that the only other movie that has made me antsy with anticipation of what was going to be coming my way was Endgame and The Dark Knight Rises. I was having a hard time sitting still in my seat in the theater. When those house lights went down and the movie started, I could feel my heart beating faster in my chest. I kept thinking, “please don’t be a repeat of Spiderman 3.”

                So, for the first portion of the movie, I remember feeling like it started it off pretty basic, like the first two. The story set up made sense and it was definitely entertaining. And thanks to the trailers, when Peter visits Dr. Strange I knew that things were about to really kick off. I was so excited to see Willem Dafoe’s Goblin and Alfred Molina’s Doc Oct again. As much as I love Lizard, these two were the ones that I was most excited about. The smile that was on my face was massive when they showed up. I felt giddy and that is such a fun feeling to have during a movie.

                This is the Spiderman entry that elevated Tom Holland’s take for me. He wasn’t just playing a kid who happens to be a superhero anymore. He was learning how to best use his powers; he was being thrust into a world of consequences and in one of the most brilliant ways, the end of this trilogy ended up being kind of a massive origin story. Thinking about all that Holland’s Spiderman has been forced to endure and experience is intense and just when you think he might finally be able to move forward he takes a blow like nothing he’s experienced before. Aunt May dies in his arms. Sure he lost Tony in Endgame, and he’s lost the Avengers, and friends but to lose the only actual family that he has breaks him. It wakens up the dark part inside of him. All of his innocence is gone now and his performance is stellar.

                And then, just when you as the audience are so heartbroken and trying to figure out how the movie will find the way to inspire not only you, but Holland’s Spiderman, they provide one of the greatest cinematic, comic book moments of all time and seeing it come to life was an overload for me. As the release date grew closer and closer, the rumors were rampant. I had suppressed the potential excitement to see all three live action Spidermen in one movie because I didn’t want that expectation and then not get and feel super let down. But then Ned, tapping into his new found magical powers, opened that damn portal and I instantly held my breath when I caught that first glimpse of the large white eyes on the mask in the alley. I know that suit, and then he ran to and jumped through the portal and I yelped. When that mask came off revealing Andrew Garfield I couldn’t contain myself, I cheered so freakin loud with the entire theater and I could feel the happy tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, my favorite Spiderman was back! And his first scene was a perfect fit for him! And then Ned, once again, opens a portal and I’m pretty sure everyone in the world knew what was coming. In steps the OG, Tobey Fucking Maguire and the welling happy tears weren’t welling anymore, they ran down my cheeks as I cheered with the audience. This was no longer just a really great movie, this was a true cinematic experience. Everything nerdy, every part of my Spiderman fandom, was at full attention and honestly, I felt the same rush of adrenaline as I do when I go to a concert. At least I thought I did, but there was still the last half of the movie to go.

                The three Spidermen meet and their conversation is perfect, as they talk about all that they have lost and how they have had to learn to move. Some more successful than others; Garfield talking about how after Gwen’s death, he stopped pulling his punches because of the dark inside of him was devastating and felt so real. Them convincing Holland’s Spiderman that they best course of action is to honor Aunt May and their Uncle Ben’s by not going into the fight to kill but to help and heal. You get the sense that when they aim to heal and cure the villains, it isn’t just for the villain’s sake, but for all of theirs.

                I couldn’t stop smiling, to the point where my face was kind of sore, as I got to see three Peter Parker’s all being scientific and working in a lab together(insert the first subtle recreation of the famous meme). I’ve always loved seeing Peter Parker put his scientific genius to work and to get three of them doing it in the same movie was just perfect. All of their conversations from the lab to the end of the movie are exactly what you always thought a conversation between three of them would be. There’s so many nods to their individual movies and at no point do they feel like they are reciting lines. They feel like they are just talking to each other and having a great time doing it.

                What really strikes me as genius is that bringing all three Spiderman actors into one movie doesn’t take away or distract from the story. They aren’t there to just be an awesome marketing tool, or gimmick, they serve a purpose to the story and help tell it. When those three go into battle together, myself and the audience lost our freaking minds. When we got the shots of all three of them swinging into action, using each other’s webs to spin and hurdle in the air and then, what might be the greatest shot in comic book movie history, all three of them landing on top of the Statue Of Liberty, we as the collective audience went insane! The excitement and rush of energy and joy that erupted from the theater was honestly more exhilarating that Endgame’s infamous shot. Nothing against Endgame, it’s still pretty much the MCU at it’s best, but there was something different, more lively, more inspired at No Way Home.

                And just when we as the audience thought, “there can’t be any more moments that we will super cheer from, right?” MJ falls.

                Holland’s Spiderman dives, the shot is frighteningly similar to when Gwen fell, and just as his hand reaches hers, Goblin slams into him and flies his away. The whole theater gasped and then we saw Garfield’s Spiderman jump and dive. The moment he caught MJ we as the audience were out of our seats. There have been so many great movie moments where the hero gets a powerful redemption moment, but I honestly can’t think of one more intense than this one. And the whole sequence happens in less than two minutes but that first viewing felt like a lifetime.

                The fight concludes perfectly, and one of the best moments comes from Tobey’s Spiderman and Doc Oct seeing each other again. “It’s good to see you again my boy. How are you doing?”

                Spiderman smiles. “Trying to do better.”

                This line hit hard and very deep for me. It forced me to reflect on a lot of stuff in my personal life. (Read my personal blog about that onefirstdownatatime.blogspot.com)

                As the fight concluded and all is said and done, Holland’s Spiderman makes one more massive sacrifice and allows Dr. Strange to cast the original spell that he had meant to at the start of the movie. The whole world, across the universes, would forget that Peter Parker is Spiderman. It would correct the multiverse and send everyone back to their homes. He says his goodbyes and then after a bit of a time jump, we see Peter walking to the coffee shop that MJ works at. He reciting a letter he’s written to her to help remind her of who he is. As he stumbles over his words talking to her, he notices the cut on her eye that she got during the big fight and he stops himself. Knowing that MJ is safer and can have a prosperous life without him and her life is more important than his needs. Just one more sacrifice that he must make.

                The world in the MCU has forgotten who Peter Parker is, but Spiderman is still around and it’s back to basics for him. No more Stark tech, no more Avengers to help and guide, it’s just him now. And we get the comic book accurate, original blue and red Spiderman suit and we get to see him swinging through New York.

                When those credits rolled, I was in tears. The best kind of cry is the happy cry. I felt like this movie was a giant reminder and celebration of why Spiderman is so beloved and why so many people feel connected to him and are inspired by him. It rejuvenated everything I love about the comics and these characters and it really forced me to reflect heavily on myself. This movie wasn’t just a superhero movie for me, it was important and powerful. I saw it three times in less than a week and my excitement for it and how it moved me didn’t change. This movie inspired me and it reminded me to keep moving forward, even when I feel broken and down.

                I wish I could thank Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, and Tobey Maguire for being a huge part of that inspiration, for bringing one of my all-time favorite characters to life. I wish I could thank everyone who was involved in the making of this movie for what they made. But this, and my personal blog, will have to do.

                Spiderman: No Way Home is without a doubt the best MCU movie for so many reasons but it’s also one of the greatest superhero, comic book movies we will ever get.