Typically, my excitement for a new Spider-Man movie is on the same level as middle schooler who gets a like on Instagram from their crush. Heart flutters. Sweating for no apparent reason. The inability to stop rambling. These are the emotions and reactions that make the world turn. Yet, with No Way Home… I’m more the middle schooler who gets two likes on Instagram and one of them is their mother. Excitement levels have decelerated since the first trailer’s release, and for that, I blame the internet.
Let’s be frank for a moment, the marketing for Spider-Man: No Way Home has left something to be desired, to say the least. Where Disney/Marvel apparently keeps everything in a tight vault buried underground and guarded by the dog from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (yes, I know his name is Fluffy), Sony on the other hand seems to have a come one come all policy with a side of taking what you want so you can post it on the internet. The “leaks” for No Way Home have been rampant and distracting from the overall excitement of the film. We live in a world where there is no possible way that this movie can live up to the internet’s lofty expectations. We used to live in a world where fans complained that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man needed to stand on his own to pivot to a world where if Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are not in No Way Home then this movie is a lie and the worst thing ever created.
Seriously, I have seen Twitter posts concerning leaked photos being fake because of the way light shines on the junk of a character. This was a legit internet argument circulating about a week ago and that was the point where I kind of had enough. Personally, I’ve been avoiding the leaks. Call me old fashion, but I’d rather watch the trailers a handful of times and then go to the movie and relish in the magic of the story. Can you imagine if an Endgame trailer had shown Cap wielding Thor’s hammer?! What a travesty that would have been. That might be my favorite in-theater movie moments ever. I was already annoyed that an Infinity War trailer showed Cap catching Thanos’s gauntleted hand. Sometimes less is more and leads to, checks notes, a fun movie-going experience. Wonders never cease.
But since the announcement of No Way Home the internet has proven why we can’t have nice things. Almost as if people didn’t learn their lessons from the overhyping of WandaVision and the expectation of characters or story elements that didn’t fit that particular narrative. It seems we are destined to both start and end the year with the internet making promises for a story that did not make those same promises.
Going into yesterday’s trailer, I was apprehensive. Not for the footage that we were going to be shown but for the internet’s reaction. Clearly, if Tobey and Andrew weren’t in the trailer people were going to say the trailer was full of shit. If Charlie Cox’s Daredevil didn’t show up then Sony removed any images because of the leaks. If Spider-Man shot a web and it blew in the wrong direction then half of the footage shown probably wouldn’t even be in the movie. Like I said, exhausting.
Let’s be honest, is it likely that Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Charlie Cox are going to be in No Way Home? Yeah, it certainly seems like the worst kept secret at this point. But what if they’re not? What if this is just a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie? What if all the internet rumors and “leaks” were nothing but smoke? Wouldn’t that be something? To give Tom Holland a movie where he can almost redeem the arcs of two previous Spider-Men; to succeed where they failed. To be the ultimate Spider-Man, no pun intended. I would love that. That would be incredible.
That was the trailer I was hoping for. Sure, give us some reveals, like expected villains, but keep the focus on Peter Parker and the MCU Spider-Man. Make this seem like his movie as opposed to cashing in on the nostalgia of others.
And that’s exactly the trailer we got.
Our second No Way Home trailer confirmed everyone’s detective work concerning villains. As we knew Doc Oc is present and accounted for, even though he might not seem like a total villain with our Scooby gang laughing at his name, and we got to see that old familiar, now iconic, Green Goblin costume emerge out of the mist. We even got a Willem Dafoe voiceover at one point. But these are two characters that were already confirmed from the last trailer. Now we were able to catch a glimpse of Jamie Foxx’s non-blue combat boot-wearing Electro. The Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man also seems to have made his presence known as did the Sandman who might be from Spider-Man 3 but is most likely from a different universe. And I’m basing that off what Strange tells Peter in the trailer. All these villains are tied together because they died fighting Spider-Man, it’s their fate, and we know that Lizard and Sandman were still alive at the end of their respective movies.
Thus, confirming another theory from the previous trailer, that Peter and Strange are going to have a bit of a tussle. After this trailer, I’m convinced that we’re dealing with our Doctor Strange and not the Doctor Strange from What If…? even though it’s a little weird that he let Peter’s distractions cause him to mess up a massive spell, but nobody’s perfect. But this fight is important not because it’s hero battling hero but because it’s essential Peter Parker. What makes Spider-Man such a tremendous hero? It’s more than the suit and the superpowers, it’s his heart. It’s his innate need to make everything right even if the odds are stacked against him. It’s his willingness to sacrifice it all for someone else. If this trailer is any indication then Peter looks to go to battle with an earth wizard to save the lives of villains he doesn’t even know because it’s the right thing to do.
Perhaps large chunks of No Way Home is Spider-Man trying to alter the timelines of these other universes in an attempt to keep these villains alive or from even becoming villains. Maybe that’s what the black magic suit is all about. Of course, he’s no wizard so I suspect it not to go right but it’s so on brand. This is what I want from No Way Home. I want Peter Parker being Peter Parker. The action set pieces and the guest appearances come secondary as long as they’re used to facilitate Peter’s story and growth. That’s the only way I want to see Tobey and Andrew; if they can teach Tom Holland’s Spider-Man something. If Garfield’s Spider-Man can direct Holland on how to save a falling MJ, then it’s redemption for Garfield and teaches Holland a lesson. And let me be clear, I don’t want Garfield saving MJ as he has no emotional stakes to the character. It’s not meaningful because he didn’t let someone else’s girlfriend die. It doesn’t bring back Gwen. But if he can prevent our Peter Parker from going through that pain? Then it’s totally worth it.
The greatness of this No Way Home trailer is the lack of other Spider-Men and the focus on Tom Holland. They actually have me believing that maybe no one is going to show making any possible appearance special to yours truly. And while the internet may be up in arms about that, I’m quite happy with what we saw. A trailer that confirmed some villains and showed that the focus is going to be on Peter Parker and not just a nostalgia trip. My excitement levels are rising again as I mute more and more No Way Home-themed tweets. It may be impossible for this movie to live up to the internet’s hype, but right now, it could be living up to mine. And I couldn’t ask for more.