Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

November 18, 2021

Spider-Man Meets Classic Villains in ‘No Way Home’ Trailer

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On Nov. 16, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures released the thrilling second trailer for the highly anticipated upcoming movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film, starring Tom Holland in his third solo outing as Spider-Man, is set to release exclusively in theatres on Dec. 17. As someone who has been subjected to the summits and pitfalls of being a fan of comic book movies over the past fifteen years, I have greatly enjoyed Marvel Studios’ theatrical take on one of their flagship characters. 

Since the beginning of their Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has developed a habit of releasing multiple movie trailers to generate buzz around their upcoming releases. The structure of these trailer releases is usually straightforward. The first trailer is intended to reveal which characters are appearing in the movie, generally including the protagonist and any main supporting characters. In the case of superhero films, there is often a brief allusion to both a troubled past as well as the main character receiving their powers. The first trailer typically closes with a glimpse of a relatively comic-book accurate costume for the hero, and a teaser of their final fight with the main villain. 

Second trailers tend to be more detailed. Typically released several months after the first, these serve as the clearest representation of the upcoming story. The special effects are more fine-tuned, with better looks at characters and their abilities, as well as at the villains and their motives. While both trailers tend to encompass the same 2-3 minute timeframe, the second one is typically larger in scale and helps the audience better understand the movie’s world. 

The marketing campaign for Spider-Man: No Way Home has not deviated from this formula in any way. While the first trailer laid the groundwork for the multiverse-based plot of this film, the second one serves as a true appetizer for the far-out storyline of the second film in the series, No Way Home

Picking up right after the events of the previous film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker — the civilian identity of Spider-Man — seeks help from his fellow Avenger, Dr. Stephen Strange, in casting a spell that would cause everyone on his Earth to forget that his true identity was revealed. Predictably, the plan goes awry and now Peter and Dr. Strange must face a fight that originates in universes different than their own. 

This is a common trope in the world of comic books and is something that Marvel Studios has been heavily experimenting with this past year through shows such as What If?, WandaVision and Loki. This trend is also set to continue in the upcoming film, Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness. The multiverse deals with the idea that there are other universes which very closely resemble our own but are not identical. Comic book writers often use the concept of the multiverse to work with characters who are otherwise unavailable in the main timeline of their canon. 

The use of the multiverse in this latest film is theorized to be a means by which Marvel Studios can acknowledge the two previous Spider-Man franchises that were solely produced by Sony Pictures before Marvel was able to reacquire the licensing from them. The villains featured in the trailer are taken from both film series: Willem Defoe’s “Green Goblin”, Alfred Molina’s “Doctor Octopus” and Thomas Haden Church’s “Sandman” come from the early 2000’s Spider-Man franchise which starred Tobey Maguire. Other foes such as Jaimie Foxx’s “Electro” and Rhys Ifans’ “Lizard” are also confirmed to appear in this film, although they hail from the Amazing Spider-Man franchise of the early 2010s, starring Andrew Garfield. Although both Maguire and Garfield have vehemently denied being involved in this production, I suspect that they will be called upon by the time the final act rolls around to help Tom Holland’s version of the character fight their classic rogues. 

The inclusion of these multiversal characters serves to create a unique and thrilling challenge for Spider-Man to face. While the character has had to fight more than one antagonist before in Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — have been widely panned by both critics and audiences alike. It will be interesting to see if the third time is truly the charm in this instance, and if Marvel’s movie magic can break the curse of having too many villains in a Spider-Man movie. 

Additionally, both new and old characters in this film will be getting redesigns, some being more obvious than others. Lizard, Sandman and Green Goblin appear largely unchanged in the trailer, save for the sleeker computer graphics. However, characters such as Doctor Octopus and Electro have larger redesigns. It appears that Doc Ock manages to absorb nanites from Spider-Man’s high-tech, Iron Man-inspired suit to make his mechanical arms appear more like Iron Man’s design. Furthermore, the character of Electro is shown with yellow lightning, which forms a type of mask around his face — a much more comic-book accurate depiction than the blue lightning and black skinsuit which he wore in his original appearance. Spider-Man himself features new colors on his suit, as well as an apparent ability to manipulate magic like Doctor Strange, although it is unclear if that is a byproduct of the suit or not. 

With just under a month before the film is released, fans will no doubt spend the next several weeks analyzing every frame of the trailers, searching for clues regarding the characters and storylines. Despite our eagerness, all questions will soon be answered when the film releases exclusively in theaters on Dec. 17.

Tom Sandford is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]