Published January 4, 2022

Tom Holland and Zendaya on Love and Loss in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

"The relationship between Peter and May throughout these films has been really integral to the heart and soul of the story."

tom and zendaya

Peter Parker faces one of his greatest challenges yet in Spider-Man: No Way Home — saying goodbye to those he’s kept near and dear to him, and not necessarily by choice.


With his real identity known to the world, Peter asks Doctor Strange to cast a spell so everyone will forget he’s Spider-Man, and then hopefully his best friend, Ned, and his girlfriend, MJ, will be accepted into college. It sounds like an easy enough task, but after Peter disrupts the spell while it’s being cast, things go horribly wrong. Soon, villains from other Multiverses have entered this one, bringing with them a path of destruction that sees Peter pushed to his limits.


Thankfully, Peter doesn’t have to go through this alone as he has his friends and Aunt, May Parker, by his side throughout all of it. When Peter starts feeling like he’s been defeated, and he can’t simply go on with the task at hand, it’s those closest to the web-slinger who remind him that “With great power there must also come great responsibility.”

Calling it a role reversal, star Tom Holland comments that it’s actually MJ who has a more positive outlook towards things as the events of the movie unfold. Zendaya agrees, noting that, “Peter helps to melt MJ a little bit, and break the shell that she's had to build in order to protect herself from the world. She doesn't have many people she feels that she can trust and rely on, and Peter has now become one of those people. And she doesn't want to lose him.”


Through it all, MJ is there to “pick up the pieces and keep reminding him who he is, and what he cares about.”


“She doesn't want to lose this person that really has allowed her to feel more and more like herself, and more and more confident in who she is, and loves her exactly for all the quirks and things that make her who she is. Because he's going through so much, she now takes on his positivity that maybe he's losing a little bit. He takes on a more negative nihilistic outlook.”


However, no matter how hard they try to stop it, in the end, they do lose each other. Knowing that the only way to stop the Multiverse from breaking any more is to wipe everyone’s mind of

‘Peter Parker is Spider-Man,’ Peter and MJ have to say goodbye, even though Zendaya adds, “they don’t want to.”


Another goodbye Peter has to say is to May. Unfortunately, after Green Goblin destroyed much of Happy Hogan’s condo, May is caught in the crossfire and succumbs to her wounds. It’s a heartbreaking scene as it seems like May is alright, but before she’s out the door, she collapses in the rubble.  


“The relationship between Peter and May throughout these films has been really integral to the heart and soul of the story,” Holland explains. “This scene kind of seemingly comes out of the blue, like no one expects this to happen. It's going to be really, really hard hitting for people [seeing the] movie.”


“[May’s] a great role model,” Zendaya continues. “She's raised a lovely young man, and she's done it on her own. She doesn't get the credit she deserves.”


Noting that typically Spider-Man has a male figure guiding him through life — including Tony Stark and Quentin Beck, previously —  Zendaya explains, “It's important to acknowledge May in the respect that everybody is like, ‘Oh, he always has to have a mentor,’ All these father figures and all this stuff. But May has raised him. Shoutout to May!”


“She’s an incredible role model, shoutout to May,” Holland jumps in.


Though the events of the movie might be hard to swallow, Holland still wouldn’t “change a single moment of it.”


“Honestly, being Spider-Man has changed my life. It's been incredible. The roller coaster from the moment I got on to the moment we've got off has just been absolutely amazing. This film really is a celebration of three generations of cinema. I was delighted to kind of be at the helm and be the captain of the ship, which was awesome. It's been incredible. It's honestly been the best thing that's ever happened to me.”


Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters. Get tickets now!

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