No Way Home is the spectacular, crowd-pleasing end to the Spider-Man: Homecoming trilogy that gives fans what they always wanted in a Spider-Man movie. Without spoiling anything, let’s take a look at three keys that are bound to get the rub from the NWH hysteria.
NWH is getting rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. As of the time of this writing, it has earned a 94% fresh rating from critics while fans are giving it 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. You can’t always judge by RT’s fresh rating, but in this case, No Way Home lives up to the hype.
Like any good MCU entry, it’s filled with campy humor and connections to the overarching universe. The first half of the film is cut from the same mold as Homecoming and Far From Home, but the second half sees a dip in slapstick comedy in favor of drama. It makes for a wildly entertaining climax and finale that truly brings Spider-Man full circle to his comic roots.
As great as the film is, the standout performance goes to Willem Dafoe, in my opinion. We already knew that he was returning to play Norman Osborn, so that’s no spoiler. Not only does he serve a nostalgic purpose, but Dafoe steals every scene he was part of. The acclaimed actor reminded us why he remains the perfect choice for the role; he toys with the audience’s emotions. One moment, Dafoe will have you feeling pity for him. That’s just before he bares his teeth and gives the MCU’s Spider-Man a legitimately scary foe.
In honor of Dafoe’s triumphant return to the Spider-verse, here are three classic Norman keys that should be on your reading list.
Ever since the rumors that Dafoe was secretly reprising his role from 2002’s Spider-Man, most collectors put ASM #14 at the top of their wish lists.
While that issue’s fair market value ballooned, it turned many Goblin enthusiasts away from his elusive first appearance. Fortunately, there is an alternative: ASM #37. This issue gave readers their first look at Norman before it was revealed that he was the original Green Goblin.
In the comics, the character of Norman Osborn eventually outgrew the Goblin moniker. He would become the Iron Patriot and leader of the Dark Avengers. It all started here.
Steve Ditko purists, get out your torches and pitchforks because I’ve got news for you. Ditko may have been the original Spider-Man artist, but John Romita, Sr.’s pencil work is by far the most iconic.
His first issue on the title is one of JR SR’s most famous; we see the Goblin parading a helpless Peter Parker across the New York City skyline. This issue also has importance to Norman collectors because it’s here that the chairman of Oscorp is revealed as the sinister Green Goblin.
As a Spider-Man and Green Goblin fan, if you don’t own a copy of ASM #39 – even a reader copy – what are you doing with your life?
It doesn’t get any better than the combination of Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr.; they were at their peak with “The Death of Gwen Stacy” in 1973. This is the moment when Spider-Man was forced to grow up.
One issue prior, the Goblin had orchestrated Gwen’s death, dropping her from a skyscraper and watching as the recoil from Spider-Man’s web broke her neck. It produces a dark change in Spider-Man as he is bent on revenge, though ultimately Goblin’s death was inadvertently by Norman’s own hands.
We saw this play out in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and No Way Home does some effective callbacks to the moment, which you can see in the second trailer. Again, this is an issue that any Spider-Man fan must own regardless of the grade.
GO SEE THE MOVIE
Admittedly, I was not a fan of Homecoming or Far From Home. I have been highly critical of those films for losing sight of what Spider-Man is supposed to be. Trust me when I say that No Way Home gets it right. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie before the internet (including yours truly) spoils it for you.