Spider-Man: No Way Home Proves How Fan Service Is Not A Bad Thing – When It’s Done Right
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has officially swung into theaters, creating a box-office slam that has broken records since its opening night, and will probably continue to do so as its run in the theaters continues. With villains like Electro and Doc Ock returning and more, some may say that this film was the epitome of the term ‘fan service.’
Many people were concerned at first about the possibility of this movie having too much fan service. But Spider-Man: No Way Home effectively proved that fan service isn’t always a bad thing when it’s done well, and Marvel knocked it out of the park with this one. From someone who saw the film on opening night, here are four reasons as to why Spider-Man: No Way Home is the perfect example of how fan service can be done well.
And obviously, a big ol’ SPOILER warning is in effect for those who haven’t seen Spider-Man: No Way Home yet.
Spider-Man: No Way Home Effectively Built On The Villains From The Previous Films - And Didn’t Just Include Them For Fights
One of the key pieces of information that we all knew going into Spider-Man: No Way Home was that many villains from other Spider-Man universes were going to appear in this film. Marvel, in general, has always had a villain problem, in my opinion. Only a fair few have really stood out - such as Thanos, Killmonger, or even Doc Ock from the original Spider-Man 2, who was in this film.
With all these villains, it was originally thought that using them was just fan service to show that Spider-Man can fight several villains at once. But Spider-Man: No Way Home takes that to another level, and instead expands on the villain’s stories.
While it’s not much, we get to learn more about Doc Ock, and see a new side of him when Peter Parker fixes the chip in his neck, and see him actually work with Peter Parker. We actually see how much more menacing the Green Goblin can be, and Willem Dafoe’s amazing performance as the legendary villain.
Were some sort of left behind? Yeah. I feel like there could have been more done with the Sandman and the Lizard, but regardless, they still felt like they were worthy villains and not just there to only fight Peter and not have any sort of dialogue.
I mean, think of Palpatine from the latest Star Wars sequels. It felt like they brought him back specifically because of fan service, due to us loving the villain so much, but when you don’t do anything with his character and instead just give him a mindless relation to another character that doesn’t even make sense, that’s where fan service fails. But Spider-Man: No Way Home soared.
Using The Past Versions Of Spider-Man Opened Up New Possibilities For The Future Of Spider-Man
One version of Spider-Man I always loved is Miles Morales, and after Spider-Man: No Way Home, I feel like we might be able to see more of him, and possibly other characters soon.
Another big thing fans wanted was for Spider-Man to face as many of his iconic villains as possible. While this film had a crazy amount, the future of MCU's Spider-Man seems bright and there's a chance we might get to see even more iconic Spider-Man villains other than the ones we got here. Spider-Man: No Way Home did a perfect job of adding in more iconic villains/heroes, and opening up the possibility for more in the future.
We got that tease from Electro when he was talking with Peter-Three that he thought there was a black man under the mask - a nod to a possible Miles Morales in the future, who is both Black and Puerto Rican.
We see Peter-Two talk about fighting “an alien made of black goo,” otherwise known as the iconic villain, Venom, whom we also see in a mid-credits scene, getting poofed back to his universe, while also leaving a hint of the symbiote behind, revealing a possible new Venom in the MCU in the future.
We even get to notice the tease of new villains when the barriers between universes begin to break once Dr. Strange is back, such as Scorpion, a villain we haven’t seen in the MCU yet but knows he does exist now.
I’m just saying - it feels like we’re getting a lot of teases and it's exciting.
Peter-Two And Peter-Three Weren’t Just Side Characters
Something I was terrified of was that Jon Watts and the rest of the Spider-Man: No Way Home team were actually going to get both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield back, but they wouldn’t be used at all. They would just be there for the fight, pop in for a quick clip, and then vanish into nothing, sort of like what they did with the Night King in Game of Thrones.
They built him up to be this big bad villain, getting all our hopes up, and all we wanted was an epic season of some sick battles - and yet we got that battle and it was barely lit and underwhelming, to say the least.
However, Spider-Man: No Way Home completely surpassed my expectations and not only brought back both versions of Spider-Man, but actually gave them a story. They made them actual supporting characters rather than just cameos. Andrew Garfield’s version got to show off his nerdiness and how smart he is, while Tobey Maguire’s Peter not only showed his wisdom as the legendary hero but his age - I mean, we all loved that back joke, right?
Also, including that Spider-Man meme partially while they were in the school science lab was just brilliant and I loved every second of it.
I was just so happy seeing them all interacting, and their conversations with Peter from the MCU only proved how they’re still such great characters. Actually having them as part of the plan, trying to figure out the best way to fix this, was something I never knew I needed but I’m so happy they did, because it feels like the creators deeply respected the fan’s wishes and wanted it to be done right.
And done right it was, because I’m pretty sure I will never see another Spider-Man movie like this again. They would have to try real hard to top this one.
The Ending Sequence With Peter Parker’s New Suit Not Only Effectively Ended His High School Trilogy, But Introduces His New Life As The Independent Spider-Man
The whole world has forgotten who Peter Parker is. No one knows he’s Spider-Man. Heck, no one knows he even exists. Two requests I’ve seen a lot from Spider-Man fans, including myself, was that 1) we wanted to see him act a little more mature considering both Tobey and Andrew’s versions crossed that threshold pretty quickly, while still maintaining that classic Spider-Man humor, and 2) we wanted to see the closest version to his original suit in the comics as possible.
We got both of those in the ending sequence.
This whole entire ending is so meaningful, in so many ways. Peter doesn’t have Stark technology anymore because even the computer doesn’t know who he is, so now, he has to make his own suit. The creation of this new suit that looks remarkably similar to the one from the comics not only completes that fan request, but symbolizes what Peter is now.
He is alone. He has to fend for himself, make his own suit, and listen to his own scanner to find crime, because there’s no one to help him. That’s the Spider-Man we know from previous films and the comics, even from the PS4 Spider-Man game.
This is the ultimate ending to the beginning of a potentially great future for MCU Spider-Man movies, where we might not only see Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man take on some dangerous new enemies, but become the ‘man’ part in the name, Spider-Man.
It’s such a heartbreaking but beautiful way to conclude this story, and begin a new chapter, and a brilliant way to treat fans to what they need.
I could go on for hours and hours about how much I loved Spider-Man: No Way Home, but I’ll leave it at this - I’m going to go see it in theaters again real soon.
Move over Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. This is my new favorite Marvel movie - and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that it’s probably your new favorite film as well. Now I’ll go watch every Marvel movie in order so I can relive No Way Home to its full potential.
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
By Nick Venable