Long before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe and endless comic book adaptations on the box office and small screen, there was Spider-Man. Sam Raimi’s original trilogy was a box office juggernaut, and Sony made plenty of money off its follow-ups in the two Amazing Spider-Man films — though those continuities were abandoned when the studio cut bait and cast Tom Holland to join the wider world of Marvel heroes.
But that Amazing Spider-Man series? It wasn’t all bad.
**SPOILER WARNING: Though most everyone on the planet has already seen it at this point judging by those opening weekend numbers — fair warning — spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home**
As pretty much everyone assumed and now knows for certain, both original Spider-Man stars Tobey Maguire (from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy) and Andrew Garfield (from the two Amazing Spider-Man films) return to the role of Peter Parker in the multiversal mash-up that is Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The set-up is a classic comic book mess: Doctor Strange’s spell goes awry and drags in villains from across the spectrum of those two previous franchises, and of course, those OG Spider-Men also make the journey for an epic team up two decades and eight movies (or more than that, if you count Holland’s several appearances in other MCU movies) in the making. It’s a movie filled with fan service, but it’s fan service for characters we’ve spent decades loving and missing at this point, so it feels more than earned.
The film is loaded with meta jokes and gags between the trio of Peter Parkers, from Holland and Garfield freaking out over Maguire’s natural web-shooters (Raimi’s adaptation of the canon had Peter develop the ability to shoot webs from his wrists without the need for mechanical web-shooters), to Maguire giving Garfield a pep talk and telling him he’s “Amazing” all his own. There’s also the deep cut references to the events of those old films, from Maguire recounting how his best friend turned evil and tried to kill him, and Garfield feeling a bit inadequate because he never fought any aliens.
Oh, and the Avengers? That sounds cool — is it a band or something?
The mostly-skipped saga
More than anything, jokes aside, No Way Home finally put Andrew Garfield’s short-lived and prematurely abandoned version of Peter Parker on equal footing with the two versions of Spider-Man that are (admittedly) the most successful. Movies have to make money, and there’s a reason Sony cancelled plans for a third Amazing Spider-Man and teamed up with Marvel Studios to reboot and share the character. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 made less money than …….