Ever since the first Spider-Man movie featuring Tobey Maguire was released in 2002, the web-slinger has been one of the most popular superheroes around. That has continued with Tom Holland’s rendition of the character, which was successfully brought into the MCU thanks to a deal with Sony (it’s complicated) and now is getting ready for his third film, Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Following the first two Tom Holland-led Spider-Man films (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home), there are a lot of exciting things happening for Spidey and the larger MCU in general that could make Spider-Man: No Way Home an incredibly entertaining ride. Let’s not waste any more time and get into what lies in store for Spider-Man in his latest adventure.
What is the plot of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’?
We have our first true inkling of what Spider-Man: No Way Home will be about with the official trailer (see below) and an official synopsis being released. Here's the synopsis:
For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Of course that unmasking came in the final moments of Spider-Man: Far From Home, when J.K. Simmon reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson and showed a video of Mysterio revealing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.
That, as well as some casting news and rumors, have led to a lot of fun speculation at what may be in store for Spider-Man.
Who is in the ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ cast?
Most of the principal cast from the first two Tom Holland-led Spider-Man films will be back for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Of course you have Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man; then you have Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Angourie Rice as Betty Brant, Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington, J.B. Smoove as Mr. Dell and Hannibal Buress as Coach Wilson. Officially joining the cast after his cameo in Spider-Man: Far From Home is J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.
Three confirmed additions to the cast also help with the idea that the movie will incorporate Marvel’s new multiverse threat somehow. This includes Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius/Doc Ock and Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro. Molina and Foxx are villains from previous Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man movies, who arrive in Tom Holland's world after a errant spell opens up a portal from other universes (looks like Loki may be off the hook on this one).
Of course, with Molina and Foxx onboard, there is also wide speculation that Maguire and Garfield may appear in the film as their version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, as well. Again, Marvel has offered no confirmation that this will happen. But if it does happen it certainly has been one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood.
When is the ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ release date?
Spider-Man: No Way Home is closing out Marvel’s massive 2021 (following a punted 2020) with a release on Dec. 17, 2021. The film is currently set for an exclusive run in theaters. U.K. audiences will get the web-slinger a couple days early, as Digital Spy has confirmed that Spider-Man: No Way Home will premiere on Dec. 15 in the U.K.
Disney, which owns Marvel, had been using a hybrid release strategy for its movies earlier in 2021, releasing them in theaters and on Disney Plus via Premiere Access on the same day. For Black Widow the move brought in a healthy flow of ticket sales and streaming buys, but it was not without controversy.
Then, with the combo of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Free Guy doing well at the box office, Disney and Marvel have opted to go back to exclusive theatrical releases before they make the films available on Disney Plus (Shang-Chi was given a little more than two months from theater release to streaming debut).
As a result, we don't know when exactly Spider-Man: No Way Home may make its way to streaming, but safe guesses would be at least 30-45 days after initial release, but Disney could decide to hold it longer. But here's how you can watch Spider-Man: No Way Home upon its release.
Is there a ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ trailer?
Marvel will cap 2021 where they debuted their first Marvel original series on Disney Plus and began Phase 4 of the MCU with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Judging by the recently released trailer it looks like it is going to be a big finale.
The first trailer gave fans the treat of seeing Alfred Molina as Doc Ock again and providing hints to other classic Spider-Man villains finding their way into Tom Holland's franchise via the multiverse, but this latest trailer gives reveals them all: Doc Ock, Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx's Electro, Sandman and the Lizard all make an appearance (though still no clues on the rumored appearances of Tobey Maguire and/or Andrew Garfield's Peter Parkers).
Watch the full trailer for yourself below.
In addition to the villains, some highlights include at least one new Spidey suit, some good banter between Zendaya's MJ and Doctor Strange and a call back to a classic Spider-Man moment.
There's a lot to chew on as we eagerly await Dec. 17, but if you want to keep searching for any clues, we also got a new poster for the movie.
'Spider-Man: No Way Home' reviews
Scarier than Doc Ock, the Green Goblin and Electro combined, Spider-Man: No Way Home also has to face off against the critics. But the latest Marvel movie appears to have enthralled critics. Spider-Man: No Way Home currently has a 95% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 71 on Metacritic, with some critics calling it the best Spider-Man movie yet.
Our What to Watch review for Spider-Man: No Way Home doesn't go quite that far. While unable to deny its entertaining and fan-thrilling aspects, the review points out that the movie falls into some of the failings of its predecessors as they got along in their runs.
How will ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ impact the MCU?
Ever since he debuted in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has been one of the most popular characters. Now, with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Chadwick Boseman out of the MCU, Holland’s Spider-Man will probably take up a bigger part of the mantle.
Spider-Man: Far From Home officially closed out Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Spider-Man: No Way Home will be the fourth film on Phase Four (Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals). Of course, Marvel movies aren’t the only thing contributing to the overall MCU storyline anymore, the Disney Plus originals will also likely factor in at some point, most notably Loki’s storyline of the impending multiverse war. No Way Home will at least dabble in the multiverse, if not take place fully after the events of Loki.
The multiverse storyline will definitely factor into the larger storyline that Marvel is laying out for Phase Four, which we can expect will eventually lead to the next Avengers team up movie (though that is not dated as of yet). The inclusion of Doctor Strange in the film could also point him in the direction of where his next movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is going.
How to watch the MCU movies in order?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going on now for 13 years, kicking off with 2008’s Iron Man. It also no longer is limited to the big screen, as the Disney Plus originals WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and other upcoming series will contribute to character development and some plot points. With all that content, it can be pretty daunting to know where to dive in. Thankfully, we have you covered.
This all-encompassing article gives you the rundown of how to watch the MCU movies either by their release date or by where they fall in the storyline.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.