Why Spider-Man No Way Home’s ending captures the essence of Spider-Man:
Since the release of Spider-Man No Way Home, I have thought about the movie many times. Having seen it in theatres three times as well as rewatching scenes on YouTube, I can safely say that I quite like this film. Now, with the movie being released digitally and with the film about to release on DVD I started thinking about it again, specifically that ending which I declared my favourite scene after my first viewing. From the coffee scene all the way until the final swing I feel that this perfectly captures Spider-Man as a character. Spider-Man has been my favourite superhero and one of my favourite characters as long as I have lived.
I have seen every Spider-Man film, watched most of the tv series, and have read many Spider-Man comics books. I think what has always been the appealing factor is the relatability of the character. Whether he is a teenager, a college student or an adult, Peter Parker deals with a variety of problems that an average person might face; such as wanting to go out on a date, oversleeping and missing a job interview, getting bad grades, needing to pay rent and taking care of his family. Of course, Peter must also dawn his mask day and night as Spider-Man to fight a variety of criminals and supervillains. Juggling these two lives is a big part of why audiences sympathize with Peter Parker. We feel bad because he is trying to do right by those he cares about and those he protects.
Spider-Man feels the weight of his every decision, and every time he ignores his responsibilities as the web-slinger someone could get hurt. His mere choice to be Spider-Man puts the lives of everyone he cares about at risk, but he can’t stop being Spider-Man or innocent strangers could also get hurt.
To tie this back to No Way Home, the end of the film Peter makes the ultimate sacrifice of having everyone in the universe forget who he is and have every record of himself erased. This is the ultimate Peter Parker/Spider-Man moment. He loses everyone he loves and holds dear to save the universe. His encounter with MJ at the coffee shop solidifies his choice, as he chooses not to tell her or Ned who he is as that would put them in danger. Instead, he walks out knowing he has done the right thing but is still utterly alone.
This is who Spider-Man is as a character, he must sacrifice his life as Peter Parker at many turns so that he may protect the city of New York and the world as Spider-Man. That’s not a choice for him, it’s a responsibility. He has to do what is right even if that means sacrificing his happiness. Spider-Man in this film debates what is and is not his problem until Aunt May reminds him of his responsibility to help people. Peter Parker might lose people and get beaten down, but he will never be truly down for the count because Spider-Man can’t go down for the count. Spider-Man is also of symbol of hope and goodness. He is the “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man”. So even though Peter starts to go down a dark path at a point in this film, he is stopped and reminded of who he is and what he does. He protects and saves lives, he doesn’t take lives.
When people watch these films, a lot of times, we want to believe we would do what the hero does, that we also have the willpower to do what is right even when it means to sacrifice everything. I believe most people are good but in general, I think most of us wouldn’t be able to do that. To have everyone forget who we are but then still move on and fight the good fight. Now of course this is all fictional and rare are people who even have to make decisions that involve the safety of others but still, even fictional characters can inspire.
That’s why I think this ending perfectly represents who Spider-Man is, he is the ultimate hero who has all the same day-to-day problems as us but still makes the sacrifice play. He truly does represent “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” and in the final scene of the film, we see Peter move into this new apartment it might be a bit small but there is hope in his eyes. As he sews his new suit and climbs out of his window to do his duty protecting the innocent and fighting back against criminals like the one and only Spider-Man.