By Erin Holly McDermott, ‘23, Editorial Staff
The Spider-Man movies have been one of the largest movie franchises ever since the first film, starring Tobey Maguire, was released in 2002. In each of the various versions of the films, the focus is on a poor orphan, Peter Parker. His parents had been killed early in his life, resulting in him being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. One day, Peter gets bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him abilities, senses, and talents like that of a spider. Thus, the once-normal boy is transformed into “Spider-Man.”
In the latest movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter’s secret identity as Spider-Man has been revealed to the media, and by extension, the entire country. Some vehemently despise him now that his identity is revealed, while others practically kneel at his feet. This exposure of his secret can potentially bring harm to everyone in his life, so he attempts to correct the mistakes he has made in order to restore his anonymity, privacy, and safety. The film follows Peter’s various adventures: fighting villains, saving the people he loves as well as the entirety of New York – the classic Spider-Man activities that successfully draw in the audience’s attention every time. In fact, near the middle of the movie, there is a huge surprise (one that I will not spoil) that elicited many loud gasps, and even applause, during my viewing. On top of that, the movie is wrapped up with a tear-jerking conclusion, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats. Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home offers a completion to the trilogy and closure for the viewers. Similar to many other Marvel movies, every detail and aspect has been carefully planned to encircle itself; there are multiple references to other Marvel and Spider-Man movies.
The past two years have been very difficult for most of us. We have clung to things like movies or actors or songs. The newest Spider-Man movie offers an outlet for the overwhelmed, over-imaginative individuals still trapped in our homes. A majority of us were born only a few years after the release of the first Spider-Man movie; we have grown up with this story and these films. Personally, I spent my elementary school afternoons watching and rewatching Andrew Garfield win and lose his battles. I evolved to watch Tom Holland learn and perform his own stunts, and relate to his trouble between balancing school, his private life, and his “public” life. This film in particular not only offers a great dose of nostalgia but recreates and celebrates the entire franchise in a semi-sweet concluding tone. Now, this provokes questions: what is the purpose of Spider-Man in general? Why is Spider-Man popular, why are people drawn to it? I believe that it’s because of Spider-Man’s acknowledgment and acceptance of grief. In fact, we often see Tobey’s, Andrew’s, and Tom’s Peter Parker embracing grief. Especially in times like these, this is an important lesson for us to keep in mind. Spider-Man teaches us that it is okay to grieve and love simultaneously. It teaches us that it is always right to do what you believe is correct.