The Marvel Cinematic Universe spent a highly eventful 2020 on the bench, but in 2021, superheroes have returned to the movies in grand fashion. "Black Widow," "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," and "Eternals" have all taken the cinema by storm, in their own unique ways. However, no matter how popular and successful those titles have been, they have consistently found themselves in the shadow of the MCU’s third Spider-Man project — "Spider-Man: No Way Home," a film that has dominated online discourse for ages.
At the end of the previous MCU Spider-Man movie, the Daily Bugle’s J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) shockingly outs Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as the kid underneath the Spider-Man mask. To make things worse, Jameson also accuses him of murdering Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), turning the public against the webslinger. Now, in "No Way Home," it seems that Peter will turn to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in hopes of getting him to use his magic and make it so that none of this misfortune ever happened. The Sorcerer Supreme does so (or, at least, that’s what the trailer implies), but seemingly creates multiversal calamity in the process.
August 2021 saw the first trailer for "No Way Home" hit the internet, and, suffice to say, fans absolutely lost their minds. They were met with returning villains, head-scratching revelations, and more … but it wasn’t enough. It didn’t take long for the Marvel fandom to call for a second teaser, and at long last, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have obliged.
Aside from giving us a better sense of what to expect from the film, our latest look at "No Way Home" is packed with small details that you might have missed.
A devastating parallel
The "No Way Home" trailer was full of interesting parallels that served as callbacks to former Spidey flicks. Perhaps the biggest reference to an older film came toward the end of the trailer when MJ falls off some scaffolding, and it looks like Peter may or may not be able to save her in time. We see their hands almost come together, but we’ll have to wait for the movie to see if MJ is saved.
Fans of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" were likely taken back to the tragic moment when Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) dies in the film after falling from a clocktower. Peter (Andrew Garfield) tries his best to save her, but even though his web latches onto her at the last second, it doesn’t do so in enough time to prevent her from hitting the ground. The camera work in "No Way Home" shows MJ falling the exact same way — zooming in on her face with wide eyes as she plummets in slow motion. Let’s just hope MJ’s fall has a much better outcome. RIP Gwen.
It’s worth noting that the first MJ actress, Kirsten Dunst, also had a dramatic falling scene in 2002’s "Spider-Man," though thankfully, she survived it. Fingers crossed that the same holds true this time around.
Electro goes back to his comic book roots
As virtually all of the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" marketing material has revealed, Tom Holland’s Spidey will do battle with villains from across multiple "Spider-Man" film franchises. Yes, even the widely-panned "Amazing Spider-Man" series is getting in on the action, with Rhys Ifans’ Lizard and Jamie Foxx’s Electro returning for another go-around. The former Dr. Curt Connors looks largely the same as he did in 2012’s "The Amazing Spider-Man," but that sentiment doesn’t apply to his electrifying companion, who’s sporting an entirely new look.
When "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" hit theaters in 2014, fans weren’t very keen on Electro’s updated appearance. The glowing blue skin and black bodysuit didn’t remind fans of the fabled Spider-Man foe in the least, echoing the visuals of the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comics version more than the classic incarnation that everyone loved. Thankfully, it seems that "No Way Home" has corrected this creative misstep by giving Max Dillon a more Steve Ditko-inspired aesthetic.
The second trailer showed off the new-and-improved Electro in all of his lightning bolt-masked glory, ditching the neon blue altogether. Of course, this begs the question: is this version of the character even the same as the one from the "Amazing Spider-Man" sequel, or — if we look to the Disney+ series "Loki" for multiverse clues — is it a variant Electro? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Are these Spidey ‘villains’ actually villains?
One of the big focuses of the new "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer is on how all of these villains are "supposed" to die fighting Spider-Man. And with Tom Holland’s Spidey being the good guy that he is, it seems — or at least, the trailer implies — that he wants to save them, in some way, even as he battles them.
Perhaps this points to the antagonists of "No Way Home" not being the old villains. What if there’s a bigger foe behind all of this? After all, Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock seems oddly mentor-like to Peter in the trailer, which fits with his sympathetic interpretation in "Spider-Man 2," as well.
Of course, it’s important to note that trailers for MCU films are notoriously filled with misdirection, so who knows if any of what’s shown here is what actually happens in the film.
Another factor to consider here is the role of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the film. While he seems to genuinely want to help Peter fix the mess that they’ve made together, he also seems to be at odds with Peter’s apparent mission to save the villains from their fate. Will a big conflict brew between the two? Is Doctor Strange more of an antagonist than a supporting character, here? Again, misdirection is a big tool in the MCU trailer playbook, but it would be an interesting direction for the film to take, nonetheless.
Did Doc Ock’s tentacles get modified with Stark tech?
Of all the shocking and exciting new reveals in the newest "Spider-Man: No Way Home" trailer, we arguably get the most from Doctor Octopus. However, while Octavius himself is wonderfully familiar, there’s something different about his famous tentacles.
This change appears during two scenes with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the trailer. When you look closely, the tentacles seem to have a coating (or shell?) of red that was not present in "Spider-Man 2," a color that could indicate Stark technology. The reason for this would be unclear, but probably has something to do with Doc Ock’s arrival in the MCU. For instance, did he steal Stark tech from Peter’s Spider-Man costume, and rework it to fit his tentacles? If anyone could one-up Tony Stark, it would be the brilliant Otto Octavius. Did he break into a Stark facility and sneak a peek himself? Either way, an upgraded Doc Ock is not something Spidey should be happy to see.
The Sinister… Five?
In the first trailer for "No Way Home," there were subtle hints at the villains we would see in the film. The only sure thing was the appearance of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), who showed up swinging his metal tentacles like the good old days. Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), and Lizard (Rhys Ifans) were hinted at, but we never saw them outright.
That all changed in the second trailer. Here, we have been given head-on views of all four baddies, and we even hear some dialogue from Electro and Green Goblin. This surely confirms that Peter (and company) will be taking on a group of supervillains, long rumored to be the Sinister Six.
But if so, who is the sixth villain? For that matter, will there be a sixth villain? The comic book supervillain team surely isn’t called the Sinister Five, but if there’s a sixth bad guy in the mix, then Sony and Marvel Studios have done a fabulous job of keeping this mystery character just that. The biggest fan speculations online suggest the sixth member is Vulture (Michael Keaton), Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), or Venom (Tom Hardy). All have solid chances of showing up in the film, and maybe we’ll get more than six villains, after all.
Three on three
One of the most incredible shots from the "No Way Home" trailer comes toward the end when Peter is flying in the air toward Electro, Sandman, and Lizard. While we’d never rule our Spidey out, it’s an unfair fight, and it doesn’t look like Peter stands a chance. Luckily, it seems like this is not a three-on-one battle.
Based on the position of the characters in this scene, where they are facing, and where they appear to be heading, it definitely looks like this is a three on three battle. The only villain that seems to be going for Peter is Sandman, who is staring him straight on. Lizard’s positioning makes it looks like he’s going to breeze right past Peter, and Electro seems to be facing upward, away from the Web-Slinger. This very well could be the scene when Peter and two other Spider-Men — that would be Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, if the past year of rumors is correct – team up and attack the supervillains together.
Marvel trailers are known for editing out characters and objects, and it’s highly probable they were removed from this pivotal scene in order to save their appearance for the final film.
J. Jonah Jameson is back
The MCU’s Spider-Man is no stranger to overcoming insurmountable odds and villains of all shapes and sizes. He has already put Adrian Toomes — better known as The Vulture (Michael Keaton) — behind bars, and thwarted Quentin "Mysterio" Beck’s evil schemes, in addition to bravely squaring off with Thanos (Josh Brolin) multiple times. However, it’s clear that he’s biting off a little more than he can chew in "No Way Home" by standing up to multiple super-powered rogues at once. To make matters worse, the loud-mouthed J. Jonah Jameson will be there to watch it all go down.
After making The Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief a highlight in director Sam Raimi’s "Spider-Man" trilogy, J.K. Simmons returned as a new version of J. Jonah Jameson via "Far From Home." Instead of barking orders at his newspaper staff, he’s now a desk-pounding talk show host with a clear dislike for Spider-Man. His 2019 comeback was a huge surprise to moviegoers, leading them to wonder if it was a mere one-off, or if Simmons was in for the long haul. The second "No Way Home" trailer supplied the answer by showing fans a quick glimpse of the MCU’s scowling, mustachioed Jameson on a city street. Time will tell how much screen time he’ll score this time around.
Peter’s friends still know he’s Spider-Man
Back when the first trailer for "Spider-Man: No Way Home" came out, we got a sense of how all the chaos in the film comes to be: Peter asks Doctor Strange to perform a spell that will make everyone forget who is behind Spider-Man’s mask. While the spell is being conjured, Peter panics that Aunt May (Marissa Tomei), Ned (Jacob Batalon), and MJ (Zendaya) won’t remember who he is.
The "No Way Home" trailer seems to confirm that the spell doesn’t go quite as planned. Or does it?
MJ and Ned are peppered throughout the trailer, and they all seem to know Peter is Spider-Man at various points in time. Granted, no trailer is ever put together in chronological order, so this can’t be a definite, but it does look like Doctor Strange could not complete his spell — or that if he did so, the loved ones who Peter did name were somehow spared from the great memory loss. Either way, given the fact that there’s now a bunch of multiverse madness going on, it appears as if Peter’s non-stop chattering during the conjuring really did blow things wide open, and it probably would have been best to keep his mouth shut … assuming, again, that this isn’t Marvel once again using the trailers to misdirect us.
"Spider-Man: No Way Home" hits theaters on Dec. 17.