8. Spider-Man Defeats Doctor Strange
Peter is faced with a moral dilemma put forth by Doctor Strange as he rounds up the villains to send back to their homes. As each adversary is captured, it becomes apparent that they face certain death on their return at the hands of the Spider-Men of their own universes. Strange, nevertheless, insists that their destinies must be fulfilled to restore order to the multiverse. Peter has other ideas, maintaining that he’ll be able to cure his rivals from their afflictions before sending them back.
In an attempt to prevent their deathly fates from becoming reality, Peter steals the mystical cube containing Strange’s spell, but he doesn’t get far before the Master of the Mystic Arts thrusts Peter’s astral form from his physical body. However, Strange is still unable to take the box from Peter as his Spider-Sense instinctively kicks in to prevent the sorcerer from doing so.
Peter manages to regain control of his body, but Strange thrusts them into a mirror dimension as they continue to battle for control of the cube, delivering some of the most mind-bending visuals from the MCU to date. Peter is able to decipher his fellow Avenger’s trickery, trapping Strange in his own dimension and returning back to put his plan into action.
7. Doc Ock Is Deactivated
Spider-Man 2 delivered one of the most well-rounded superhero films of all time, and much of that can be attributed to Alfred Molina’s Otto Octavius and his tragic fall from grace. Thankfully, he returns in full force (albeit digitally de-aged) during No Way Home following the calamitous spell cast by Doctor Strange.
His reintroduction on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge sees destruction and devastation aplenty, but Peter is able to best Octavius thanks to the nanotechnology developed by Tony Stark, bringing Ock’s tentacles under his control. He is swiftly sent to the Sanctum Santorum to be held captive while Peter rounds up his remaining adversaries.
Otto is later provided with a new inhibitor chip by Peter during his quest to cure the villains, once again giving him control over his metal limbs to remove their influence over his mind. Unlike so many other supervillains, Doctor Octopus manages to have a compelling and convincing redemption arc throughout the film, and he later comes to the aid of Holland’s Spider-Man during the final clash at The Statue of Liberty, assisting Peter and his variants in the mission to save their foes.
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6. Peter Says Goodbye
As the multiverse continues to encroach on Peter’s universe, it becomes apparent that only one course of action will set the world straight again – a spell must be cast so that Peter is forgotten by all those who know his identity. As Strange casts the spell to undo the damage inflicted by the multiversal madness, Peter bids an emotional farewell to his close companions, MJ and Ned. Having just lost Aunt May, he’s now forced to say goodbye to the only friends he has left in his life.
By the end of No Way Home, Peter finds himself in almost the opposite position to the one he had set out to achieve. While his identity is no longer known to the world, he has lost everyone he has ever loved in the process. Despite MJ pleading to Peter to find her and Ned, Peter makes the decision to let his friends continue their lives without the constant danger that his presence presents, starting afresh in a small apartment not dissimilar to the one occupied by Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker in the original live-action Spider-Man trilogy.
After all they’ve been through together, it is likely that Peter will find a way to remind his friends who he is, but for now it remains a tantalising story thread to hang onto.