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Dear Disney, Please Don't Ruin 'No Way Home' With Aggressive Nostalgia

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Dear Disney, Please Don't Ruin 'No Way Home' With Aggressive Nostalgia

Spider-Man: Homecoming is one of my favourite Marvel films. In fact, it may be one of my favourite films ever. This is partly because of how much better it is than the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield movies that came before it. Gone were the days of Peter and friends looking too old to be high school students. No more would we have to tolerate poorly-acted villains. Finally we could all move on from that infamous dance scene.

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Far From Home was another fine outing because it moved forward with this positive interpretation of Spidey. Peter's European sojourn had a lot of weight on its shoulders by being the next Marvel Cinematic Universe instalment after Endgame, but it knocked it out of the park with its welcome humour, appropriate mourning, and a mesmerising new enemy in Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio.

See the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home here

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Sadly, Disney appears to be set to ruin all that by calling back to the Webhead's darker times. Despite having a version of Scorpion left over from Homecoming, as well as a wealth of comic book characters yet to be touched, Spider-Man: No Way Home will seemingly revive Alfred Molina's Dr. Otto Octavius. Why they're doing that is beyond me.

No Way Home looks set to follow on from Far From Home, and tell the story of Peter Parker trying to undo the reveal of his true identity. To do this, he's apparently teaming up with Doctor Strange, who will perform some mystical incantation to hide the knowledge of Peter's alter-ego from the world again. This event will supposedly trigger a scenario in which Alfred Molina returns to the fold.

Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
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Listen, I know Molina did a pretty good job as Doc Ock back in 2004's Spider-Man 2. I know that many consider the second Tobey Maguire movie to be the best of the trilogy entirely because of Molina's performance. However, I don't see why that means he should be brought back for a movie in a much stronger trilogy.

Tom Holland's Peter Parker is doing just fine on his own. In addition to two well received solo films, Holland's Spider-Man has appeared in a pair of Avengers movies since he made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Every one of them has been a hit, so surely that proves this new direction is working out well for our friendly neighbourhood merchandising opportunity, right?

Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
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And yet, once again Disney decided to go back into the past to please fans. I understood this to an extent with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, because they were trying to appeal to the pathetic, whiny, nostalgia-obsessed section of the fanbase that so vehemently overreacted to The Last Jedi. The thing is, the last Spider-Man film did well, so what's the point in digging up these fossils?

What we have here is a potentially complicated mix of different visions, characters and plot threads that could be amazing if it sticks the landing. The problem is, it's going to be a difficult stunt to pull off. We're talking about a journey through different cinematic versions of Spider-Man. It's not the array of different aesthetics and personalities that will be problematic necessarily, but the calibre of these renditions vary. The risk is that the poorer relations will drag down the quality of Tom Holland's run.

Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures
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The reason meshing different styles of the character worked in 2018's Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, was because all of those characters were basically forged in that movie. Yes, there are callbacks to past films, but they amount to a few tiny moments of an otherwise isolated narrative. No Way Home will need to be more ambitious, and more far-reaching than Spider-Verse, and that huge gamble doesn't seem necessary unless we're saying a full-on goodbye to Tom Holland's Peter Parker, before he's dragged into whatever Sony has going on with Venom and Morbius. If that turns out to be the case, then No Way Home will leave a bad taste in the mouth regardless of which old faces it throws at us.

My point - if there is a point to all of this - is we are currently enjoying the strongest on-screen iteration of Spider-Man the world has known, and Disney is risking its credibility by infecting it with elements from lesser movies. When Kylo Ren uttered the words, "Let the past die", the bravery of that line was ultimately disregarded by a cowardly corporation who chose money over integrity. My fear is they'll do it again with Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Featured Image Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures

Topics: TV and Film, Spider-Man

James Daly
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