– Garfield awkwardly tells the Spider-Men that he loves them, which is played for laughs. To be fair, Spider-Man Noir said the same thing to his teammates in Into the Spider-Verse and he knew them for about as long.
The bulk of this film takes place within a year of Avengers: Endgame. We see there are renovations underway on the Statue of Liberty so that she’s holding Captain America’s shield. Of course, that all gets destroyed during the big final battle with the villains. But in Hawkeye episode 5, which apparently takes place at least a year after this film, Yelena Belova wants to visit the “new and improved Statue of Liberty” on her first visit to New York City. So it looks like they were able to repair the damage and complete the project after all!
Electro’s line about how “there’s gotta be a Black Spider-Man out there somewhere” is, of course…true! And he recently starred in the best Spider-Man movie of all time with Into the Spider-Verse! It’s only a matter of time before we get Miles in live action…
– It looks like the main Damage Control agent who is making Peter’s life miserable is meant to be Agent Albert Cleary, who is indeed one of the original Damage Control members from the comics.
– When Peter brings up Nick Fury, it’s pointed out that Fury has been off-world for a year. That raises some interesting questions. Why would somebody at that level know that? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having Skrull impersonators?
M.I.T. and the Continued Influence of Iron Man
– Peter, MJ, and Ned are dying to go to M.I.T. together, and of course Tony Stark had all kinds of connections at M.I.T. But it’s also worth noting that a future MCU star who we haven’t yet met on screen, Riri Williams, is also an M.I.T. student… one who is right around their age.
– DUM-E pops up in Happy’s condo. The robo-arm, part of a set of Tony Stark helpers in the Iron Man trilogy and Spider-Man: Homecoming, has been MIA for a while. Glad to see someone is looking after at least one of Tony’s robotic children! It knocks over the LEGO Death Star on Peter’s table, a reference to Ned dropping and destroying his in shock during Homecoming (and the crew being annoyed at the many, many takes they had to do before they got it right).
– When Peter Parker returns to Midtown High, a picture of Howard Stark can be seen among the school’s collection of iconic inspo. In the top right corner you can also see Hank Pym.
– There’s a Downton Abbey DVD in Happy’s apartment, a callback to his obsession with the show as revealed in Iron Man 3. The photo of Happy shown on the news is another callback to that movie: in a flashback to the year 2000, we discovered that Happy was seemingly so enamored with John Travolta’s Pulp Fiction character, Vincent Vega, that he’d grown his hair out and started dressing like him. Happy is understandably embarrassed by the episode.
– The idea of Peter and May being sent to a “safer place to live” that is a high-tech, Stark-tech protected penthouse comes from the Civil War-era Spider-Man comics. There, Peter willingly revealed his identity to the world, but of course had to keep May safe. It was a little swankier than Happy’s souped-up bachelor pad, but the basics are the same.
When MJ and Peter are sharing a quiet moment on a rooftop, there’s a graffiti tag that reads: “Ditko.” Steve Ditko co-created both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and here they are sharing the screen in an MCU flick. Ditko almost certainly would have hated this (he was a weird/interesting guy), but especially because he barely ever saw a dime from all the Spidey and Strange merchandise through the years.
– The post-credits scene is a continuation of the post-credits scene from Venom: Let There Be Carnage, in which Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock was inexplicably pulled from the Sony Universe to the MCU. Here, it seems we’re meant to understand that he was pulled there by Strange’s spell, and then sent back at the same time. But… didn’t Strange say that the folks pulled through were ones who knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man? That… is not the case here.
Then again, in the Let There Be Carnage post-credits, the Venom symbiote claimed to have endless knowledge from a hivemind it can tap into. It’s possible that said hivemind might reach across realities, meaning that, for instance, it knows information privy to the Venom symbiote from Spider-Man 3.
Anyway, the more important thing is that a tiny piece of the symbiote is left behind, opening the door for someone else to merge with it. Could we get a future movie where Tom Holland’s Spidey does the traditional “saga of the alien costume” beats? Or will a new character (perhaps Flash Thompson?) end up as the MCU’s Venom? And, of course, we suspect Eddie isn’t quite done trying to figure out a way to talk to Peter Parker…
– Venom tells Eddie, “You thought Lethal Protector was a shit name” which… it is. But Lethal Protector was the name of the first solo series starring Venom way back in the ‘90s.
– Flash’s super cringe-y “No Sleep ‘Til Boston” on his M.I.T. sweatshirt is a riff on The Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn.”
– Flash’s autobiography is called Flashpoint. Flashpoint was a comic issue that collected Flash’s initial few appearances as Agent Venom. Why yes, it did happen to come out while DC had an event called Flashpoint. It’s like Marvel trying to release one of those martial arts movies starring “Bruce Li.”
– Apparently one of the non-Stark bits of technology in the movie is an old Donkey Kong Jr. arcade cabinet. Granted, it’s only mentioned and not shown, but still.
– MJ’s forced/fake optimism about the New York Mets is her typical dry wit and sarcasm. But as any Mets fan will tell you, it’s basically what we tell ourselves each year. Also, don’t forget that Peter is canonically a Mets fan both in the MCU and in the comics (he’s from Queens, after all), so it’s nice that MJ is humoring him here. Also worth noting that Doctor Strange appears to be a Yankees fan (based on magnet briefly visible on the refrigerator in the basement).
– Betty Brant is almost given one of Mary Jane’s (not to be confused with this universe’s MJ) lines when she tells Peter to, “Go get ‘em, tiger,” on her broadcast about the first day of school. This, by the by, is the actual final line of dialogue, said by MJ, in Spider-Man 2.
– Another meme re-emerging in No Way Home? The beloved “Spider-Men pointing at each other” during the scene where Ned is trying to get Peter’s attention in the lab. We saw the meme make it to the big screen previously in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
– The same meme also happens during the flashy end credits sequence where two of the three Spider-Men point to each other.
– The final battle occurring around the Statue of Liberty seems to be an homage (or lift) from the Spider-Man theme park ride at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in Orlando. In that ride, Spidey (and the tourists) must stop the Sinister Syndicate from stealing Lady Liberty’s torch. The five villains from the movie even match up pretty well with their ride counterparts. Both have Doc Ock and Electro, and there’s the goblin type (Hobgobilin/Green Goblin), the shapeless elemental (Hydroman/Sandman), and the bloodthirsty beast (Scream/Lizard).
– Is that an Avi Arad cameo in the coffee shop at the very end? If so, this um…controversial Spider-Man movie producer is “the original true believer” who gets a special dedication at the start of the end credits.
– The film ends with De La Soul’s “The Magic Number.” This is now three perfect end-credits songs in a row, and like using The Ramones in Homecoming, it brings back a New York group to honor Spidey’s New York roots. And honestly, more of you should be listening to De La Soul on a daily basis, or at least certainly more often than you are.
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