Spider-Man: No Way Home gave fans everything they wanted. It brought back fan-favorite characters, homaged previous Spider-Man events, and referenced popular memes too. The best thing is that it did it all while also tying everything together into a satisfying and convincing narrative.
In the end, it was Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/ Spider-Man story with grand action and heartbreaking emotional moments. Overall, due to this, Spider-Man: No Way Home became the biggest Spider-Man movie yet.
Even though this movie marked the end of the MCU Spider-Man trilogy, fans weren’t ready to let Peter Parker or Tom Holland go. Thankfully, they won’t have to. There are more Spider-Man movies in development right now.
The next Spidey film in line is Spider-Man 4 by Sony and Marvel Studios. And we can imagine how stressful it might be to follow up a successful movie like No Way Home. So Spider-Man 4 has its work cut out.
After all, it needs to continue the storyline still going on while also pleasing everyone, as No Way Home did. As such, the question is- what will top this? Here’s how we think Spider-Man 4 will pull it off.
Amy Pascal, producer of Spider-Man: No Way Home pointed out a philosophy she is going to follow regarding future Spider-Man movies. She said that the main focus would be on emotion rather than spectacle.
Here’s what she said:
“You can’t think about topping yourself in terms of spectacle. Otherwise, movies just get larger and larger for no reason, and it’s not a good result. But we do want to always try and top ourselves in terms of quality and emotion.”
Now, the MCU has both. It has emotional conflicts and payoffs as well as grand action spectacles. However, it can’t be denied that without emotional centerpieces, action spectacles fall flat.
Audiences are invested in the story being told because they feel the emotional intensity and stakes. The grand action set pieces are there to heighten that, not replace it.
The MCU spidey movies have been doing just that. They have slowly built up and then expanded the Spidey mythos while keeping the stakes personal to Peter. This was another thing that Pascal mentioned.
She emphasized that Peter’s emotional and personal journey shouldn’t ever get lost within all the narrative. Here’s her quote on the matter:
“Kevin [Feige] and I never want to lose sight of one thing: Peter Parker. That he’s a normal kid. That he is orphaned over and over again. That he’s a teenager, so everything in his life is at a heightened pitch and everything matters more than anything. That he’s fueled by goodness and guilt. That he’s striving for a greater cause, and he’s vilified by the press.”
So if Spider-Man 4 wants to succeed, then it needs to double down on those points. Right now, Peter Parker has finally become Spider-Man and he has learned what this identity comes with.
However, at the same time, he’s also alone and emotionally vulnerable more than ever in his life after losing his family and friends. We don’t know whether Ned and MJ will be a part of the next movie, even though theories about Ned being Hobgoblin are flying around.
But, certainly, their inclusion or absence will surely evoke some emotional response from fans. After all, they are a part of Peter’s life. But after the events of No Way Home, he can’t talk to them if he wants to protect them.
Spider-Man can build on this in two ways. The movie can force Peter to find new friends or they can use his friends against him.
Another way the next movie can heighten the emotions is by completely centering the plot on something that can do just that- the symbiote. The post-credits scene was a little confusing to some, but everyone understood that it featured Venom.
So it’s certain now that it is in the MCU and it’s inevitable that it will cross paths with Spider-Man. If the 4th Spidey movie wants to bring on the emotions, then adding the symbiote will do just that.
Also, just visually, Peter is going to look amazingly cool in that black suit. But more than that, it will allow the writers to play with Peter’s emotions.
During the climactic fight with Green Goblin at the end of No Way Home, we saw just where Peter could end up if he chose to go through with the killing. He came incredibly close to giving in to anger, hurt, and darkness just so that he could take revenge for Aunt May’s death.
Adding a symbiote into the mix could bring Peter close to losing control once again. Thus, it will help emphasize Peter’s aggression and grief to the point where it impacts his personal and heroic lives.
Watching our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man struggle with his emotions just like everyone else, but not letting it lead him astray could very well be the grounding factor that Spider-Man 4 needs.
Sony and Marvel Studios could also use the symbiote in a way that makes him confront Ned and MJ. The newfound confidence will help Peter, but the symbiote will surely only further alienate him from those he cares about.
Repeatedly seeing Peter trying to connect with his friends and especially MJ, but failing would make for a tragic reunion. But on the other hand, it would make the reunion emotionally satisfying.
Spider-Man: No Way Home did a great job of deftly balancing the greater multiverse shattering stakes with the personal threat to Peter. However, Spider-Man 4 won’t be able to follow up or match the spectacle of 3-Spiderman going up against villains from previous Spider-Man franchises.
And it shouldn’t as well. As Amy Pascal noted, trying to make the spectacle bigger will only lead to the movies getting “larger and larger for no reason.” But there’s another thing to consider.
Spider-Man 4 won’t just be a follow-up to No Way Home. It will also have to build up to Spider-Man 6. As a result, continuously increasing the stakes and action set pieces in one movie after the other will only derail future movies.
After all, if they do this, then in the race to become bigger, soon Marvel and Sony will run out of ideas. So what other option do they have?
Should they do what the Webb and Raimi films did and bring back supporting female characters like Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson? Or maybe they should go further and bring the original live-action Spidermen we saw in Shinji Tōdō and Nicholas Hammond.
However, as said before, at one point they will hit a dead end in this urge to go bigger. Also, the novelty will wear off. So if bigger isn’t the way forward, then what is?
Well, it’s time to head back to the concept of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. So the 4th Spidey movie needs to go back to the basics. This will make any future crossover event feel even more special. They can do this by focusing on NYC.
The Homecoming Spidey trilogy didn’t really take advantage of NYC in the way that Webb or Raimi movies did. In previous Spider-Man movies we saw spidey swinging from one building to the other, and he rallied the citizens of the city to help him.
So even though the Big Apple is an important part of Spider-Man’s character, the MCU has failed to properly emphasize that. It’s true that the first MCU Spider-Man movie was indeed the most connected to New York, even though Homecoming did shy away from Manhattan a lot.
Far From Home was obviously set abroad for most of its runtime. There was only one scene at the end where we saw Spidey swinging from the high-rise buildings. Now, No Way Home did give viewers flashes of New York, although out of its runtime.
We saw him swinging back to Peter’s apartment in the opening of the movie and also there was the final battle at the Statue of Liberty. But the movie was focused on its narrative.
This feels almost intentional in a way. Maybe the MCU is building up the web crawler gradually so that it feels like he deserves to swing around New York and protect its people. So, Spider-Man 4 should elaborate on that.
Even if we don’t see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the next movie, their influence can still be felt with Peter swinging through the city as they did. It will help connect all the 3 Spidey franchises better, and not to mention that it will be stunning to see as well.
So totally integrating NYC into the 4th movie will prove that Holland’s Peter Parker has finally become Spider-Man. And MCU Spidey fans have yet to see that in this franchise.
One of the ways Spider-Man: No Way Home succeeded was by listening to fan demands and then giving them what they wanted. The 4th web crawler movie has its work cut out for it because it feels like the 3rd movie hit the absolute peak of what a Spider-Man movie could be.
Sure, there are more classic Spider-Man villains that Holland hasn’t fought yet. But No Way Home was a complete Spider-Man movie in every way. The next film is in a unique position. This is because the ending of No Way Home has given a blank canvas for Peter.
So doing something different from what has been done before will allow the 4th Spidey movie to not get compared to No Way Home and instead work on its own.
And there is no better way to create the next web crawler movie and make it feel unique than to change the way Peter Parker has been framed. The first MCU Spider-Man trilogy was all about Peter learning. So maybe the next one could be about him teaching?
Till now, MCU Spidey had a mentor. There was Tony Stark for a long time; then there was Mysterio and Talos’ Nick Fury in Far From Home. Lastly, there were Doctor Strange and Tobey and Andrew’s web-slingers in No Way Home.
MCU Peter Parker is obviously still very young, but he has learned a lot about being a superhero during his time as Spider-Man as well as with the Avengers. It also feels inevitable that Miles Morales will end up in the MCU and when that happens he will need a teacher.
So building up a Spider-Man, who will pass his knowledge to another Spider-Man down the line will be a fresh angle. We haven’t quite seen this done so elaborately before.
Many admire the MCU’s Spider-Man in-universe, but the one thing missing from the MCU’s webhead is his ability to inspire people. Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s web crawlers have impacted people all around them, especially the people of New York.
So making Tom Holland’s Spidey a mentor will let him do just that, and it will be the natural progression of his character.
No Way Home introduced a lot of plot points that could have been used to develop Spider-Man 4. One such point is a potential Spider-Man and Daredevil team-up. MCU’s Matt Murdock looks like he is experienced as a lawyer and vigilante/superhero.
But maybe Spidey has some crime-fighting pointers he can help Daredevil with? One thing that can be a source of conflict between the duo is the symbiote. After all, it can change Peter’s personality and thus, the way people look at him.
For example, Peter might be trying to establish himself as a positive role model figure only for the symbiote to throw a wrench in his plans. Furthermore, J. Jonah Jameson will surely play into this and destroy Spidey’s reputation even further.
Right now, the world doesn’t know who Peter Parker is, but that doesn’t mean that he has forgotten all that he has learned. So this is how the storyline can be propelled forward in Spider-Man 4.
The next movie probably won’t have past spiderman and villains, but it won’t need to. Having an emotionally mature Peter Parker, who is in his prime but burdened by sacrifice and tragedy while still ready to protect his city will help establish a new status quo that will be interesting to see.
The current MCU Spider-Man trilogy brought a lot to the table. But after all, is said and done, this Peter is still a kid. Spider-Man 4 can introduce him as the friendly Spider-Man we know he can be.
So, will Spider-Man 4 be better than No Way Home? Time will tell. But it definitely has the potential to be.
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