In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker attacks Green Goblin in a way that evokes Spider-Man: Back in Black, and he wasn’t even using his full power.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has quickly become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. The compelling coming-of-age story with unique twists on the established Spider-Man mythos has proven to be a genre-defying, roundly cheered and lauded film. Deep cuts to other Spider-Man movies, especially the participation of other Spider-Men, have also helped the movie continue to break records.
Deeply intriguing among the aspects of the movie is the fact that it contains so many deep cuts not only to other Spider-Man movies but also to the over half-century of Spider-Man media at large, chief among them Spidey’s powers. One scene, in particular — Peter’s beating of Norman Osborne/Green Goblin — even offers a deep cut to one of the darker aspects of Spider-Man’s powers and references a period in the hero’s life when a completely different kind of villain attempted to end the life of Aunt May.
Spider-Man Once Beat Another Character After Aunt May’s Demise
During the original Civil War event, Spider-Man originally fought on the side of Iron Man. Issue #2 of the Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Chris Eliopoulos and Morry Hollowell-helmed series had the webhead reveal his identity to the world in support of the Super-Human Registration Act. This put his family in the crosshairs of the criminal underworld, especially after he switched sides later on and lost governmental protection. And that comes to a head when in The Amazing Spider-Man #539 by J. Michael Straczynski, Ron Garney, Bill Reinhold, Cory Petit and Matt Milla, Aunt May is shot. In his quest for vengeance, Spidey dresses in black and seeks out Kingpin, the man behind it.
After finding him in a prison, Spider-Man beats Kingpin down, but he doesn’t do it in typical hero fashion. Like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in No Way Home, Peter slaps Kingpin back and forth for multiple panels. However, the major difference between the two is that in, No Way Home, while Holland’s Spider-Man similarly beats Goblin down for killing Aunt May, he does so in a moment of passion. In the comic, on the other hand, Peter beats Kingpin and says he will return to finish the job if Aunt May dies, leaving the villain’s fate to chance.
The Comics Show Spider-Man’s True Intent With Green Goblin
Apart from his fight with Green Goblin, Spider-Man is well known to be holding back when fighting villains. The most recent example of this was in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #700 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos when Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body accidentally tore off the Scorpion’s jaw in one punch. Because of this, one can assume that Spidey isn’t only capable of instantly killing his foes but that it would also be easier than pulling his punches.
However, despite well-documented super-strength, Peter didn’t immediately kill Norman in No Way Home. Instead, Spidey beat him into the ground first before attempting to kill him with his own glider. That meant Tom Holland’s Spider-Man didn’t just want to kill the Green Goblin — he wanted to torture the madman first.
The comics have established that Peter is certainly super-strong, but more than that, they have established that he is a human, meaning he is capable of petty vengeance and can be cruel if provoked. As per Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker’s admission in No Way Home, Spider-Man can even deal with deep darkness that causes him to skirt the line of being a hero. So, if not for Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man intervening at the last minute, the MCU’s Peter may have given in to becoming the cruelest version of himself yet.