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How Spider-Man: No Way Home Gave Me a Sense of Direction

Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

December 17, 2021—a date imprinted on the forefront of my brain for the latter half of the year. Move over—every major holiday in December—Spider-Man: No Way Home takes the cake for the most exciting celebration in 2021. Celebration of what, you ask? Well, how about a celebration spanning 20 years of three generations of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man? 

To everyone who knows me in real life, apologies are in order for my inability to talk about literally anything else but this movie, both before and after me having watched it. Look, a part of me still can’t believe it even exists! Immediately after my first viewing, (I’ve since seen it multiple times 😅) I was fully convinced I had dreamed the whole thing. If it wasn’t for my best friend who reassured me that yes, we actually watched Tobey, Andrew, and Tom grace the screen and swing into frame as their respective Spider-Men, I would’ve thought I was going insane. I mean, rewatch and analyze every single Spider-Man movie from Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man to Andy Serkis’ 2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage for months and that’s bound to be a side effect. Throw in a season of Netflix’s Daredevil for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a crazed fan living and breathing No Way Home theories. Or, if you want to take that in a literal sense—living and breathing for the sole purpose of seeing the newest Spider-Verse installment—that works too.

Every leak. Every Marvel breakdown video. Every interview in which Andrew Garfield vehemently denied he had any sort of involvement in No Way Home. I was on top of the latest news and breakthroughs, studying like this was the biggest exam of my life. When it got to the point where I was listening to Marvel podcasts to sleep, I finally thought, “Wow, maybe I should calm down.” I never did. I’m writing a whole article detailing how I have *yet* to calm down. 

Years from now, I’ll think back to the fall semester of my senior year in college and reminisce just how much fun it was to revel in the overwhelming hype surrounding this movie. How time I spent watching, reading, listening, and discussing anything remotely related to Spider-Man was often the highlight of a stressful day. How reminding myself that I’d be able to watch No Way Home two days after finals motivated me every step of the way. Framing my academic semester as such gave me an escape, a dependable source of joy. A tangible incentive to keep pushing forward.

The memories I’ll associate with No Way Home will forever be unmatched. I’ll remember staying up until 3 am on Cyber Spider-Monday with my friend on the phone, desperately checking every movie-ticket-selling website imaginable. All of them had crashed and there was no way we could sleep without first securing IMAX tickets for opening night. And, of course, I’ll always recall the echoing screams of disbelief in the theater that very night, from an audience who was at least 90% sure Tobey and Andrew would show, but prepared for the disappointment if they didn’t. (Seriously, what if Sony and Marvel had decided, at the last minute, to punish us because this entire movie was leaked from the get-go?)

For 2 hours and 28 minutes, our troubles blipped away as everything we could want in a comic book movie played out before our eyes. Hey, even Matt Murdock appeared! Feige really said, “We’re letting everyone in to taste a piece of cinematic history!” 

There probably won’t ever be another movie I obsess over as much as this one. Coming out of the theater in hysterics after Avengers: Endgame during freshman year is close, but still doesn’t compare. I didn’t rewatch every MCU movie in existence to prepare for Endgame. (See…I’m not that crazy! To be fair, Disney+ had yet to come out.) There’s something so enticing about the story and character of Spider-Man: an otherwise ordinary person who suddenly possesses extraordinary powers. The most famous person in the world and his rent is due at the end of the month. Despite everything that’s been thrown at him, his selfless nature and sense of responsibility (cue the groans) remain central to the person he is at heart. Our world could use a lot more people like Spider-Man. Looking out for others as we collectively enter our third year into the COVID-19 pandemic? Go figure.

Or perhaps I, being born and raised in Queens, love Spider-Man for a far more superficial reason. Each new Spider-Man movie merely solidifies what I’d already known my whole life: across the sweeping multiverse, people from Queens are the greatest of all. 

Kidding.

(If you know, you know 😉.)

Caitlin Taylor So is a senior Emerson student studying publishing and marketing. She loves nothing more than curling up with a good story.
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