Spider-Man: No Way Home Captured the Importance of a Punch

Fans of Spider-Man were never strangers to the character throwing a solid right hook or a combo of strikes to stop an enemy. But when it came to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version, a new approach flew largely under the radar for viewers. Unlike previous live-action interpretations, this version of Peter didn't throw a punch until Spider-Man: No Way Home. But what made the event so impactful wasn't because he punched, but the narrative impact behind him going on the offensive.

When Peter fought Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. But that situation was a matter of survival where the choice to fight got taken from him. Likewise, in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the chain of events that led him to get into it with the villains was more tied to his maturity and the realization that the world would force him to grow up faster than he'd like.

In Homecoming and Far From Home, Peter used his acrobatics, strength and webbing to outsmart his enemies and redirect their attacks. That ensured that he could focus more on helping innocents rather than fighting the bad guys. But when forced to face the likes of Doc Ock, he was forced into a mindset where his aggression had to come into play or lives would still be lost. As a result, Peter tried to throw punches, even though Doc Ock was fast enough to dodge them. But the fact that these villains weren't playing it safe like Mysterio and Vulture proved that Peter would have to tap into something that was still foreign to him.

Everything changed when Norman Osborn betrayed Peter in Happy's apartment. In that instant, he knew that his Aunt May was in danger and anyone else he crossed. But webbed attacks wouldn't work nearly as well on the Green Goblin, so Peter unleashed a flurry of punches that only made the Green Goblin laugh in delight. While the hits were ineffective, the scene showed audiences that Peter now had to handle the consequences of his adult decisions more desperately because he had no Avengers to rely on anymore.

While Peter took that same rage and nearly used it to kill the Goblin, his restraint, thanks to Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker, eventually drove home the lesson he had only just learned about great power and great responsibility. In one film, he understood that throwing a punch could often lead to ruin if a noble purpose doesn't guide those hits. As a result, it took great maturity to restrain himself from killing the Green Goblin after Aunt May died and learn that throwing a punch is good but will never be better than doing what's right.

Previous Spider-Man films have always taken combat for granted as it has always been a necessity in his line of work. But without bringing attention to it, Jon Watt's Spider-Man trilogy showed that Peter was always just a kid and fighting was the last resort when he had to choose between that and saving a life. That said, No Way Home was his graduation into a world where he now had to use the strength he had to hurt criminals. However, the real lesson and impact behind the punches thrown are that even though he may need to get violent, he will always do it to protect rather than destroy.

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