Spider-Man: No Way Home has definitely lived up to its hype as the next biggest event after Avengers: Endgame as it sits comfortably at a staggering 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Additionally, the movie has also crossed the $1 billion mark during the pandemic which is no small feat. As the gateway into the larger multiverse, No Way Home brought back some fan-favorite characters from the previous Spider-Man movies alongside both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. But more interestingly, the movie did manage to give Spider-Man an original identity after growing under the shadow of Iron Man for so many years. However, the redemption arc did come at a price: Peter Parker got back his identity at the cost of everyone forgetting about him. While the full ramifications of that shall be explored further in the sequels, but it did erase an iconic MCU villain in the process.
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Since his introduction as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s iteration of the web-slinger has been often criticized for being too reliant on Stark technology instead of developing his own gear. Similarly, the character has often been referred to as Iron Man Jr./Iron Lad for being in the shadow of Tony Stark for quite some time. But fortunately, No Way Home almost rebooted the character as an individual superhero who fights his own battles at the cost of erasing the memory of Peter Parker from everyone’s mind. However, this extreme step also caused Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes/The Vulture to forget Spider-Man’s secret identity which he had found out in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
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The MCU has often been criticized for its lack of iconic villains since its inception. Barring the likes of Loki, Thanos, and Kilmonger, Keaton’s Adrian Toomes/The Vulture instantly became a fan-favorite for a myriad of reasons. Apart from being a grounded, gritty villain, the Vulture had become much more insidious when it was revealed that he had figured out Spider-Man’s secret identity. But sadly, No Way Home took away that edge from the iconic villain, thus bringing him back to square one. Even in the post-credit scene of Homecoming, it was also revealed that the Vulture was not very keen on sharing the secret identity of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man with another incarcerated supervillain, MacGargan aka the Scorpion. While No Way Home has surely opened up a lot more exciting avenues for the future of Spider-Man, including the Spider-Verse, it would have been great to see the Vulture building alliances with other supervillains using the one thing that could have devastated Spider-Man: his secret identity.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters.