A Beginner’s Guide to Spider-Man: No Way Home
Updated: Apr 10
Everything you need to know about Peter Parker before you watch his new movie.
The most anticipated Marvel movie of the year is finally upon us. Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters December 17, and after a spectacular year for Marvel, it should be a huge success.
Because the Spider-Man universe is owned by Sony, Spider-Man: No Way Home will have an exclusive theatrical release and will not be available on Disney+ — similar to the other Spider-Man movies. There have been multiple iterations of the Spider-Man story, but the Tom Holland Spider-Man is the only one to be explicitly part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and considered an Avenger. So just like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home will follow the same MCU timeline that you know. While there are rumors that the Spider-Man actors of the past, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire, will be making an appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we’re only sticking to the Tom Holland Spider-Man story for this guide.
Now, we’ll dish up everything you need to know before you see Spider-Man: No Way Home. Whether you’ve never seen a Marvel movie before or just need a refresher, let’s kick it off with an easy one:
Who is Spider-Man?
Peter Parker is just an average teenager living in Queens, until a spider bites him and passes its arachnid abilities to him. Peter takes on the secret identity of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man who fights local crimes.
Peter is an orphan living with his Aunt May, who he will do anything to protect. He takes on the secret identity (and doesn’t tell her) so as to not burden her. But Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) discovers Peter’s secret identity and recruits him to fight alongside his team in Captain America: Civil War — Tony even gives him a new, high-tech Spider-Man suit. Peter fights against Captain America and The Winter Soldier — who oppose the Sokovia Accords — until he is injured and taken out of the fight.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter returns to Queens eager to continue fighting alongside the Avengers, but Tony tells him it would be better to lay low. Of course, he doesn’t listen, and Peter and his best friend Ned (who knows Peter’s secret) set out on a mission to find the Vulture, who is supplying high tech weapons to criminals. However, Peter just can’t seem to get anything right and he nearly sinks a ferry filled with passengers. Tony comes back to save the day, but scolds Peter for not listening, and ultimately takes back the Spider-Man suit.
Using his old Spider-Man suit, Peter is able to stop the Vulture and his arms dealing, which earns him a pat on the back from Tony and a full membership to the Avengers. Peter decides he doesn't want to be an Avenger, just yet, and opts to stay a local superhero.
That is until Thanos comes to Earth in Avengers: Infinity War and then it’s all hands on deck. Peter teams up with Iron Man and Doctor Strange — once again disobeying Tony’s orders to stay behind. They go to the world of Titan where they meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are also on the same mission as the Avengers: stop Thanos. The two groups team up, but are unsuccessful — and Peter fades away during Thanos’ Snap.
Since Peter was “snapped,” he isn’t in Avengers: Endgame until the final battle scene where he helps the Avengers beat Thanos’ army.
Now this is where the really important information comes along. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter and his class take a vacation to Europe. This movie takes place in a post-Endgame world where Tony Stark is dead (spoiler, I guess) and the Avengers are essentially disbanded.
Peter, who is still mourning the death of his mentor Tony, wants to have a normal vacation, but he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover what’s behind Elemental attacks across the world. Fury gives Peter Tony Stark’s glasses, which have artificial intelligence (E.D.I.T.H.) controls that let Peter into the Stark Industries database and give him command of a large weapon supply.
Peter accepts the glasses and while in Italy, he has to fight one of the Elemental creatures. During this battle, Quentin Beck, a super-powered individual, comes to Peter’s aide and defeats the Water Elemental. Beck claims that he came from the Multiverse where the Elementals killed his family and now he wants to destroy them.
After Fury secretly changes the class’ itinerary, Peter ends up in Prague where the Fire Elemental attacks. He helps Beck defeat it, but Peter decides that Beck should finish the fight on his own. Peter transfers all of E.D.I.T.H.’s commands over to Beck, which was a big mistake.
After Peter leaves, Beck celebrates this accomplishment with ex-Stark Industries employees who have been helping him masquerade as a superhero through the use of projectors and holographic illusions. Beck wants to use E.D.I.T.H. to increase his illusions and establish himself as an Avenger-level hero.
While Beck is plotting to take over the world, Peter is going on a date with MJ. She tells Peter she knows he’s Spider-Man and the two of them find a piece of debris that has a projector — which leads to them figuring out Beck’s plans.
Through a series of intense battles with drones and illusions, Peter is able to defeat Beck. Beck is hit with a misfired gunshot, but before he dies he tells his associates to retrieve the data from the drones and he leaks a doctored video of the attack where he frames Peter for his death and the drone attack. Spider-Man: Far From Home ends with Beck telling the world the true identity of Spider-Man.
Oh, and also Peter and MJ start dating.
What are Spider-Man’s Powers?
He does whatever a spider can. Spider-Man has enhanced strength, agility, and stamina. He is also able to cling to surfaces and has a “Spidey sense” that warns him of danger.
In the Spider-Man suit that Tony designed, Peter can also shoot webbing out of his wrist-worn web-shooters.
What is Spider-Man: No Way Home About?
Spider-Man: No Way Home takes place in the aftermath of Beck revealing Spider-Man’s true identity. Now Peter is unmasked and enlists the help of Doctor Strange to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. But the spell goes haywire, and tears a hole in the world.
From the hole emerges the most powerful villains who have ever fought any Spider-Man, like Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, and Electro, (hence why people think other Spider-Mans will be there too). If Loki introduced us to the Multiverse, then Spider-Man: No Way Home is taking us into the Multiverse head on.
This plotline might not seem like a lot to go off of, but come on it’s Marvel, of course they’re not giving too much away.
Wait, You Said Multiverse. What is That?
The Multiverse was mentioned in Doctor Strange but explained more fully in Loki by He Who Remains. Essentially, the Multiverse is a collection of parallel worlds where anything and everything can happen.
In Loki, it’s seen as a timeline where branching events are caused by variants who mess with the way time works. And if left unchecked, these nexus events can lead to a multiverse war.
So because Peter has messed with the Multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home, other Spider-Man villains that exist in different worlds are crashing into his world.
And, Who The Heck is Doctor Strange?
Dr. Stephen Strange was once a famed doctor until he got into a terrible accident and lost the use of his hands. After trying many things to save his livelihood, he goes in search of a new cure in Nepal.
Instead he finds himself learning about the Mystic Arts, the Multiverse, and mastering magic. Doctor Strange becomes Earth’s Master of the Mystic Arts, where he must track all other-worldly visitors to Earth and find out their purpose there, which is probably why he warns Peter about the Multiversal villains. Doctor Strange is also the keeper of the Time Stone, which lets him look ahead to the future to see possible outcomes — he uses this power during Avengers: Infinity War to see if they could defeat Thanos, and out of the millions of outcomes he only saw one victory.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
It may sound confusing, but Spider-Man: No Way Home shouldn’t be that hard to follow as a newbie. The Multiverse may be the hardest part to understand, but rest assured, Marvel hasn’t fully explained it yet, so you’re allowed to be lost. And even if you haven’t read the comics or seen the other Spider-Man movies, it’s okay, Marvel is pretty good about introducing its characters to us first timers.
Watch the Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Now:
Spider-Man: No Way Home is available for purchase on Amazon.