So, while I am going to reference the latest release of the Spider-Man film franchise, not to mention some Disney+ shows and upcoming MCU films, I will try to avoid spoilers. However, if you are hypersensitive about spoilers, be forewarned.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a great film. I loved how it acknowledged the past and the many differences between the franchises and the comics, much less delving into the complexities of the multiverse on a more grounded level, rather than from the lofty heights of beings like Loki and Dr. Strange. It explains why certain things unfolded as they did in the MCU logically—technically, the MCU is how it is, before and now, because it’s all Kang’s fault—but it gives an out for all of the quirks and disconnects that have occurred in the various film series by various companies, as well as reminders of exactly the same thing that’s occurred in the comics.
It reminds us that things change, but remain the same. With the Marvel films, there is a world that matches with the comics, along with countless worlds that don’t. There’s a world where Dolph Lundgren’s Punisher is the Punisher, as well as the Thomas Jane version, the Ray Stevenson version and the Jon Bernthal version. It’s a green light for all stories for all of these characters and their myriad media expressions. It’s also an unspoken license for fans to craft their own fanfic using these characters.
If you will, it reminds us of the magic of fiction—anything can happen. If it’s told in an engaging or entertaining way, it could become popular and persist beyond its origins—the Fifty Shades works took off, despite beginning as Twilight fanfic, as have the Mithgar works of Dennis L. McKiernan gone beyond their inceptions as sequels to Tolkien’s works. And fiction allows for the impossible to take place, whether it’s having various beloved versions of a character meet themselves or having the barriers of time swept away to allow for meetings not possible in the real world (like, for example, having the Jackman Wolverine join up with the First Class X-Men to assist the just before-Infinity War Avengers in saving the world and rescuing the Fox Fantastic Four from Kang, Loki, and Dr. Doom, with the Netflix Defenders, Nic Cage Ghost Rider, Agents of SHIELD, and Deadpool showing up as various cameos).
I’m curious to see if DC will try something like this on the big screen (because technically they’ve already done it on the small screen with their CW series), but that’s be tricky since I’d argue it’d feel rushed for the DC films while it was good timing as it was done with the CW shows (as it was with the DCAU).
As we head into 2022, I am excited to see how the limitless potential of this narrative method is tapped to tell new tales for the many multiverses of Marvel, much less the sagas from a Galaxy Far, Far Away or any other franchise.