First rule of watching a superhero movie — don’t overthink it! But sometimes, we just can’t help it.
Spider-Man: No Way Home premiered in theaters earlier this month, and it made a huge impact not only on the cinemas during the pandemic era, but also on the future of Marvel Cinematic Universe and Spider-Man’s character in general. The movie grossed more than a billion dollars, which makes it not only the highest-grossing movie of the year but also the only movie that joined the billion-dollar club ever since the pandemic struck the movie industry back in March 2020.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOWING!!! But come on, you know you’ve already seen this movie.
One thing is for sure, No Way Home was the ultimate gift to all the Spider-Man fans. Previous Spider-Man movie actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield joined Tom Holland in a battle against five returning villains from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man duology, respectively. Now, director Jon Watts had a unique task, to merge all that into some sort Spider-Man: Endgame. Did he succeed? Well, if you ask the fanbase and critics, he did. But, as always, with such popular things, there are always illogical stuff and plot holes that we are always trying not to overthink, but we just can’t help it.
Personally, I watched the movie twice, and I really liked it, but one particular thing is bugging me. As we all know, after Peter Parker interfered with Doctor Strange’s forgetting spell, the doors of the Multiverse opened and, all of a sudden, five known Spider-Man villains — Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Electro, Lizard, and Sandman — emerged in the MCU. Doctor Strange, whose main goal is to protect the timeline and reality, was determined to get all the villains back to their respective universes, but Peter — after learning that they will all die fighting their own Spider-Men once they return — thought otherwise. Blah, blah, blah, Peter vs Strange, blah, blah, blah, Doc Ock is fixed, but oh dear, Green Goblin, Norman Osborn’s evil alter-ego kicks in, and kills Aunt May, to lead us into a third act of the movie.
Let’s just skip to the very ending. The third act of the movie finished with all the villains being cured of their superpowers and/or evil personas. The final battle didn’t have any casualties. Heroes won, villains redeemed. After the battle, all the visitors peacefully returned to their own respective universes. And that is the problem. Why? I mean, let’s just take Green Goblin for example. If Norman was cured and sent home, if we use the good old logic of time traveling, that means that his son, Harry Osborn, doesn’t become the New Goblin in Spider-Man 3 and then he doesn’t die at the end of that movie? We can also add the fact that Maguire’s Peter Parker said that Harry is dead in his universe, so, was that undone? Well, it probably wasn’t, because we still remember that Smart Hulk’s line “changing the past doesn’t change the future” from Avengers: Endgame.
But, if we try to explain this using Endgame’s logic, that would mean that every previous Spider-Man movie is now set in a different timeline. Green Goblin jumped into NWH before Spider-Man ended, Doc Ock jumped into NWH before Spider-Man 2 ended, and Sandman and Maguire’s Spider-Man jumped into NWH after the events of Spider-Man 3. Even Doc Ock said to Norman that he’s supposed to be dead, but now that Norman returned to his universe as a good guy, does that mean that Ock and Norman now both remember what happened and can talk about these events back in their own universe, or Doc Ock returned to the separate timeline where Norman is still dead? Wow, this is getting really complicated.
One of the possible, and probably most logical explanations is that Norman returned to his universe, and therefore, Harry never becomes Green Goblin, while Maguire’s Spider-Man returned to a separate timeline of his universe where Harry is still dead. As for Doc Ock, we can only guess if Norman is alive or dead in his universe when Doc Ock returned, but if he returned to some separate timeline, that would mean that Norman is still dead there, as Otto originally remembers it. Wow, and that’s just Raimi’s part of the Spider-Man Multiverse, should we even dive into Webb’s, or do you get the point? If nothing, we can be sure that Topher Grace’s Venom from Spider-Man 3 is still very much dead.
Okay, we tried to explain all this, we obviously failed. But there’s one more thing that might be bugging hardcore fans of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. We can’t shake the fact that No Way Home somehow erased Raimi’s seal in the history of Spider-Man movies. What are we talking about? Well, we can remember that at the end of every movie, the villain was ultimately killed. Green Goblin in Spider-Man, Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, and Venom in Spider-Man 3. Raimi really liked killing the villains. Now, the way Disney and Sony somehow softened and annulled that is honestly not very dear to me. If No Way Home ultimately saved Norman and Doc Ock, seems like most of Raimi’s stamp on Spider-Man movies was undone. Well, Raimi, you’re the director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so now’s your chance, how big of a kill count can we expect in that movie?
Directed by Jon Watts, and starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, Marisa Tomei, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man: No Way Home now plays in theaters.