Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially kicked off, director Sam Raimi went on the ambitious journey of trying to bring Spider-Man to the big screen, with his 2002 film proving to be a massive success that would pave the way for the resurgence of superhero stories being told on the big screen. With Spider-Man: No Way Home, stars from Raimi's films Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, and Alfred Molina reprised their roles, with Raimi himself recently expressing how exciting it was to see the performers bringing their characters to life all these years later. Raimi returned to Marvel to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is expected to hit theaters on May 6th.
"It was so much fun," Raimi revealed to Variety of his reaction to the film. "I love No Way Home and the audience I was with went crazy. It was delightful to watch Alfred play his role, and Willem Dafoe, just seeing these guys take it to the next level. And Tobey was awesome as always. The best word I can say is it was refreshing for me."
Younger audiences may have merely been excited to see these performers in the film to explore a compelling concept, but longtime fans of the Wall-Crawler had an entirely different appreciation for the narrative, knowing the long and contentious history of the character on the big screen.
As hard as it might be to believe in retrospect, Marvel Comics was a struggling business at one point, which resulted in the publisher selling the rights to a number of their beloved characters to studios like 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2000, X-Men introduced movie fans to the iconic mutants, becoming a modest success for a comic book adaptation. When Spider-Man hit theaters in 2002, it became one of the biggest hits of the year, not only proving the success of Marvel characters on the big screen, but inspiring Fox and Sony to start churning out as many projects as they could featuring the characters they owned the rights to.
When Marvel themselves got into the movie-making business with Iron Man, there were some complications, knowing that they couldn't fully incorporate the characters they sold off to other studios. Sony continued using these characters, delivering the Andrew Garfield-starring The Amazing Spider-Man films, until the two studios struck a deal to allow Spider-Man to appear in the MCU, though with a new actor. In the years since, Tom Holland has been able to both appear in films produced by Marvel Studios and Sony.
Having three iterations of Spider-Man all star in the ambitious film established how these different takes on the characters in respective universes was possible, while also allowing former actors to give their takes on Peter Parker the sendoffs they deserved. Now, fans are only hoping to see Maguire and Garfield return for more outings as the character.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to hit theaters on May 6th.
What did you think of No Way Home? Let us know in the comments below!