Marvel Fanaticism: The Spoiler-Free, World-Wide Reaction to Spider-Man: No Way Home

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

Released exclusively in theaters on Dec. 17, 2021, Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” smashed box office numbers, making $1.5 billion worldwide over four weekends. Now globally ranked the eighth highest-grossing film of all time, it soared past several of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most successful films, including “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “The Avengers” (2012), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “Black Panther” (2018).

After its announcement in February 2021, the film faced immense speculation. Producers confirmed that villains Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, The Lizard and Electro all from the past two live-action Spider-Man film franchises would return. This left fans wondering whether former webslingers Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire would return to wear the spidey suit.

Tobey Maguire was the first to play Peter Parker, playing the character from 2002 to 2007 in the first Spider-Man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi. At the time of its release, “Spider-Man” (2002) was the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time, credited with establishing the modern superhero genre and setting off the superhero movie craze that dominated the 2000s.


In 2012, Andrew Garfield took on Spider-Man’s role in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” directed by Marc Webb. Unfortunately, the first Avengers film released mere months before “The Amazing Spider-Man,” overshadowing Garfield’s debut. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was released two years later. Sony Pictures, underwhelmed by its success, decided that the character would be more profitable if shared with the MCU.

Garfield then retired the suit, and Sony cast the younger Tom Holland to make his first appearance in “Captain America: Civil War.” Holland then went on to star in his own Spider-Man trilogy and appear in both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

With “No Way Home,” the MCU’s third Spider-Man film, Holland stars alongside  Zendaya (MJ Watson) and Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds). The film also features Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), including a first look at the trailer for “Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness” in the post-credits.

NWH is the first MCU film to confirm the existence of the Multiverse, a collection of all universes and parallel realities that connect by a central hierarchy. Its introduction to the MCU has fans more excited than ever for the endless possibilities of future Marvel movies and raises the question of what old or new faces might appear as the plot thickens.

While Marvel’s target audience skews younger, NWH has managed to attract viewers of all ages. By bringing back fan-favorite villains from almost 20 years ago and connecting the current movies to old storylines, Marvel Studios has filled fans with nostalgia and contributed immensely to NWH’s outstanding box office sales.

“I’m not typically someone that likes to go watch movies in theaters, but when I heard that “No Way Home” was coming out, I just knew I needed to watch it,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School sophomore Catalina Forwood said. “I didn’t expect everyone to be just as excited as I was, but when certain scenes took place and the audience started cheering, it really showed how much it was worth the wait.”

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a steep decline in movie ticket sales, with companies like AMC and Regal closing for months on end; even after reopening, attendance remained critically low. After nearly two years of underwhelming box office sales for theatrical releases, NWH has proved that Hollywood is still capable of generating blockbusters.

“I haven’t been in a theater that loud since ‘Avengers: Endgame,’” Palmetto sophomore Sascha Dekousemaeker said. “Spider-Man is one of the best superheroes and it was cool seeing all the hype surrounding the movie and it actually living up to our expectations.”