The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest film, the hotly anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home, finally came to theaters this past weekend. Some months ago, we reported that a trusted source tipped us off on what happens with Marisa Tomei’s storyline in the movie. Since the film is now in theaters, we can now confirm that our source was correct about the story. Be aware that after this paragraph, you’ll be seeing spoilers for No Way Home.
While we’re very happy to confirm our early report on Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May story arc in the film is true, we are sad to say: she dies. That’s right, in the conclusion to Tom Holland’s starring trilogy of Spider-Man films, his beloved Aunt May (who has previously been portrayed by Rosemary Harris in Sam Raimi’s films and Sally Field in Marc Web’s series) meets her end. In our initial report, we said that Aunt May Parker was going to be killed (likely murdered) in No Way Home. Since Aunt May has been a mainstay of Spider-Man mythos for decades and Marisa Tomei’s turn as a youthful, vibrant parental figure to Peter Parker, it seemed for certain that her death would be one of the emotional high points of the film. And sure enough, Aunt May is stabbed by the Green Goblin/Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) after he facilitates the breakout of villains Electro (Jamie Fox), Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) and Lizard (Rhys Ifans).
Of course, there’s a lot more going on in No Way Home than Aunt May’s death, given that all those villains have returned from the previous film series and there’s Dr. Strange casting spells and Ned doing his comic relief thing. But Peter Parker and Aunt May’s relationship has been the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man films, which makes her death all the more tragic.
It is perhaps not a surprise that Tom Holland’s run of Spider-Man films is being capped off with the death of a loved one like Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May, given that one of the most consistent events in the character’s career is being inspired to accept his destiny as a superhero by the death of his Uncle Ben. So there’s a great thematic rhyme in Aunt May’s death being the reminder a confused Spider-Man needs to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. It’s a shame to lose Marisa Tomei in the role (particularly as her non-traditional portrayal reinvigorated the character), but given that Marvel head Kevin Feige has already confirmed more Spider-Man films are in development (via Collider) and we’re now dealing with an MCU Multiverse, anything could happen.
As we have reported, No Way Home has continued Spider-Man’s juggernaut path through the box office. After its opening weekend, the film is poised to be in the top opening weekend numbers of all time, even in the face of declining theater attendance. Early reviews for No Way Home have consistently praised its emotional depth and the thrill of mixing it up with Spider-Man villains of the past, with the movie sitting at a strong 94% at Rotten Tomatoes. And while we’ll certainly miss Marisa Tomei, we’ll just have to wait and see what the next Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase brings to the constantly expanding Spider-Man universe.