2021 has the chance to be labeled the "Year of Marvel," with a plethora of shows hitting Disney+ to go along with four feature films hitting the big screen. And it just might be accurate to say that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have saved the best for last when Spider-Man: No Way Home hits cinemas on December 17. As fans anxiously await the first teaser trailer, the level of hype has reached a peak not seen in some time.
That level of excitement is well warranted as fans could very well witness the wall crawler's best cinematic adaptation. That's a tall task to achieve. After all, the Spidey faithful have already been blessed with seven solo films and three actor portrayals of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But No Way Home, if speculation comes proves true, has the opportunity to pull off an ambitious feat that no previous Spidey film has achieved.
Could audiences see Spidey's notorious team of villains face off on the big screen? Will iconic Marvel heroes cross paths with the wall-crawler? These are just a few reasons why No Way Home is shaping up to be Marvel's best Spider-Man movie.
1. LIVE-ACTION SPIDER-VERSE
As Miles Morales eloquently mentioned in 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, "Anyone can wear the mask...YOU can wear the mask!" It's one of the best traits that draw fans to the web-slinger: that the title of being Spider-Man is not limited to just one version of the hero. There have been multiple versions of Spider-Man and multiple iterations of Peter Parker himself within the comics.
That foundation is what the Spider-Verse is built upon, and after seeing a fantastic animated adventure via Into the Spider-Verse, audiences are gearing up for a live-action adaptation with No Way Home.
With the title of No Way Home rumored to reference the fact that Spidey's villains across multiple universes are stuck with no way to return, it's undoubtedly setting up the MCU's portrayal of the Spider-Verse. And with that comes the expected appearance of both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men, who will come into contact with Tom Holland's version in the MCU. Whether loyal to Tobey, Garfield, or Holland's portrayal of the web-slinger, fans are in for a treat when all three versions meet in No Way Home.
2. LONG-AWAITED TEAM-UPS
One of the best traits about Spider-Man and, in particular, the MCU's version is that he's still learning about the responsibility that comes with being a hero. With that learning process comes the tutelage of many mentors along the way. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the mentor was Tony Stark, and in Spider-Man: Far From Home it came in the (Skrull) form of Nick Fury. In No Way Home, the mentor role is potentially being passed onto Doctor Strange, with Benedict Cumberbatch confirmed to be starring in the film.
Spider-Man side-by-side with Doctor Strange is one of the long-waited team-ups MCU fans have waited for, and it speaks to the history of the comics in which Spidey crosses paths with other heroes regularly. After seeing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange work closely in Avengers: Infinity War, fans should be excited to see how their teamwork evolves in No Way Home.
The ultimate question becomes: when they meet again do Spidey and Strange use their made-up names or not?
3. THE SINISTER SIX
Spidey fans are opening up their Christmas present early on December 17 if this latest rumor comes to fruition. The list of villains primed to appear in No Way Home just got that much bigger, with the latest rumblings indicating that Sandman from the Raimi films, as well as the Lizard and Rhino from Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, are making an appearance in Tom Holland's third solo Spidey film.
There's no word yet on Rhys Ifans or Paul Giamatti returning so take it with a grain of salt for now, but those three additions indicate that Marvel Studios and Sony are forming one of Spidey's iconic team of villains: The Sinister Six.
With Alfred Molina confirmed to reprise his role as Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2 and Jamie Foxx slipping up about returning as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it speaks to No Way Home crafting a roster of villains from previous Spider-Man adaptations. With Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield expected to portray their respective versions of Spider-Man, it makes sense that these villains are those without the ability to return to their universes, lending credit to the film's title. The Sinister Six coming to the big screen has been long-awaited by fans of Spider-Man, and having the team consist of past villains seen on screen makes the rumored appearance that much sweeter.
But the above list rounds out to five villains, begging the question: who is the sole villain left out?
4. A FAMILIAR FACE RETURNS
The latest indication that No Way Home is shaping up to be the best Spidey film yet comes by way of Jeff Sneider on Collider's The Sneider Cut podcast. Sneider mentioned that he's confident that Willem Dafoe will reprise his role as Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, from 2002's Spider-Man. Thus rounding out this Spider-Verse-themed roster of the Sinister Six.
If there was ever an antagonist, and actor, to lead this live-action supervillain team, then Marvel Studios and Sony may have hit the ball out of the park.
Ever since Spider-Man made his introduction into the MCU, fans have craved to see Norman Osborn make his MCU debut, with the hope of seeing the iconic Green Goblin stand in the way of the wall-crawler. Fan castings for Osborn across the internet have emerged but did Marvel Studios and Sony just satisfy all fans with the return of Dafoe? His portrayal in 2002's Spider-Man was superb, and with the MCU about to traverse into the Multiverse, why not leverage the ability to bring arguably one of the best super villain performances we've seen into the MCU?
5. SURPRISE CAMEOS?
Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's appearances helping shape the Spider-Verse, along with the formation of the Sinister Six, have understandably driven the excitement for No Way Home. But one expected cameo that has flown under the radar has been the speculation that Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock from the Daredevil Netflix series will make an appearance in the upcoming Spider-Man film as well.
Given all the news surrounding this film, a Matt Murdock cameo may seem small in comparison, but make no mistake that his appearance would be significant nonetheless, both for the plot and the larger universe at hand.
Fans shouldn't forget where they last saw their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, in shock after J. Jonah Jameson (portrayed by J.K. Simmons) revealed footage in which Mysterio not only blames Spider-Man for his murder but reveals his identity as Peter Parker to the world. Before Peter has a chance to deal with interdimensional villains that span across universes, he'll have to clear his name. Who better to represent him than Matt Murdock, who has a secret identity of his own?
It would be a small subplot in the larger story of No Way Home, but Matt Murdock's appearance could be a sign of the MCU continuing to expand, with potentially more appearances from the likes of Marvel's Netflix characters. Could Vincent D'Onofrios' Wilson Fisk make the jump from Netflix to the MCU as well? No Way Home could very well open up the opportunity of a Daredevil-Spidey crossover with an iconic villain in the Kingpin at the forefront.