Spider-Man: No Way Home may have been the culminating event for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, but it also provided opportunities for the past generations of wall-crawlers to web up their loose ends. Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men primarily appear as mentors to Holland’s Peter, but both take the time to evolve their own characters from when fans last saw them.
While Maguire’s Peter did deal with the loss of his best friend, 2007’s Spider-Man 3 at least ended with Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson and Rosemary Harris’s Aunt May by his side. For Garfield’s Peter, he’s not only left without the love of his life, but he sees her blood on his hands in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
This self-diagnosed accountability took a toll on his psyche as well. Garfield hints that his Peter “stopped pulling his punches” in No Way Home, suggesting The Amazing Spider-Man’s hero developed quite the mean streak.
Garfield’s Peter can’t change the past, but No Way Home at least provided him with quite the redemption opportunity.
Andrew Garfield Speaks On Spider-Man: No Way Home's Redemption
He may not have the Earth's Mightiest Heroes in his universe, but Andrew Garfield did some top-tier avenging in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
In his last leading appearance as Peter Parker in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Garfield failed to save Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy as she fell from a clock tower. Seven years later, Garfield's Spider-Man successfully caught Zendaya's MJ as she plummeted from the Statue of Liberty.
Speaking to Variety, Garfield praised No Way Home's ability to redeem his Peter Parker's biggest mistake through his "younger brother," Tom Holland's Spider-Man.
"To heal the most traumatic moment of [The Amazing Spider-Man's Peter Parker's] own life through doing it for his younger brother (Tom Holland's Peter Parker). Making sure that he didn’t have the same fate, there’s something cosmically beautiful about that. It meant getting a second chance at saving Gwen [Stacy]."
Garfield went on to applaud Zendaya's performance as MJ, likening her "unique spirit" to that of Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy.
"You know, the spirit that Zendaya brings to MJ is so heartfelt and pure and loving, and Emma brought that similar unique spirit to Gwen."
Seven Years in the Making
As Garfield alludes to, this scene is so much more than a callback.
Assuming that this iteration of Garfield's Spider-Man aged in real-time, he has lived with the guilt of Gwen Stacy's death for at least seven years. Considering Gwen's death comes shortly after they graduate high school, that means Garfield's Peter has been haunted by this particular demon for over a quarter of his life. Giving this character a chance to do something right after going on a "bitter," Ronin-esque crusade is just as Garfield pens it: "cosmically beautiful."
Beyond that, this scene prevents Tom Holland's Spider-Man from going through Garfield's suffering. While No Way Home ends with Peter and MJ as strangers, the MCU's web-slinger can sleep softly knowing that she's safe. For Garfield to approach this moment with a big brother sense of responsibility only adds another goosebump-inducing layer to a scene that guarantees Niagra Falls-level waterworks from its viewers.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.