YouTuber Holden Hardman’s Deep Dive into the Sensation of Spider-Man: No Way Home


A screenshot of Holden and his fiancé react and give their thoughts on Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Seeing Spider-Man: No Way Home on the theater’s opening night was an experience the likes of one I had never previously experienced. The audience’s reactions ranged from applause, screaming, and yelling things at the movie such as “oh my god!” and “no way!” It was an unforgettable experience, however not particularly unexpected as Marvel fans have proven to be very loud when a big Marvel movie comes up, particularly within the first couple days of its release. Though times these past few years have been busy and a struggle for many, I was fortunate enough to be able to interview my personal favorite YouTuber, Holden Hardman.
Holden’s YouTube channel is primarily centered around two different series, that being “my friend watches… for the first time” along with “my girlfriend watches… for the first time.” Typically, how the series goes is that Holden shows his friend or now fiancé a movie that they have not seen, the biggest ones for both series being the Star Wars and Marvel movies. While they have not seen the movies, typically Holden has. Holden is a big Marvel fan, while also being a fan of other series such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman, Dragon Ball, and much more. However, perhaps above all, Holden is a large fan of Spider-Man and an even bigger fan of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies.
That being said, I thought Spider-Man: No Way Home would be the perfect opportunity to interview Holden on, considering how into these movies he’s been since the beginning, as well as just the character overall. When I reached out to him, I first asked the question that everyone had on their minds going into the movie: if they thought Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield would make an appearance in this film. Holden said that he was extremely hopeful but “I was worried Tobey might not be wanting to come back. He had stepped away from acting for several years prior to No Way Home, so I was worried that he might not make an appearance.” He then went on to reveal, “I did end up having a source that worked on the movie leak me some photos of Tobey, Andrew, and Tom all together. It was from the scene where they are all in the lab together. I never had insider knowledge before, so it was really cool that I had it confirmed about a month before it was released. Of course, I had to keep it a secret.”
In No Way Home, many thought the movie further built on the character of all three of the Spider-Men, which prompted me to ask Holden his thoughts on that matter: “I loved it. I’m glad they touched on some of ‘where are they now’ in the movie. For Tobey, I appreciated that they talked about Peter and MJ working things out. For Andrew, I was sad to hear he was neglectful of his personal life and was curious of how he got bitter and ‘stopped pulling’ his punches.” Holden also said that he felt Tom Holland’s performance stuck out the most to him in the film “particularly during the death of Aunt May scene. It was his best performance as Peter Parker yet.” I then asked if he had any favorite scenes in particular, to which he pointed out the Green Goblin’s quote, “‘Norman’s on sabbatical, honeeyyyy’ But really, I loved Goblin in this movie. I love his use of psychological warfare. ‘I may have struck the blow, but you killed her.’”
A large part of this movie was that it tied to many other Marvel projects, which makes it seem that it may leave people who aren’t familiar with all of it left a bit confused at times. I asked Holden if he thought someone that hadn’t seen any other of the Marvel projects may understand the movie, to which he said that he thought they would understand it, however that “there’s no way the emotional weight would be there. Even the story narrative made sense to pull ‘other’ Peters, so without knowing the actors, a general audience member could follow. However, knowing the backstory of the other Spider-men made it SO much more impactful.”
In this movie, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil himself made an appearance, officially tying his universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) canon, which was previously up in the air. Some wish he would have had a bigger role, while others were just excited for him to be there. I asked Holden what his feelings were on the matter,. He said that he “appreciated just the tease. This is still Spidey’s movie, but I LOVE knowing Daredevil is canon in the MCU, played by Charlie Cox. It would have been a real shame to recast him. I would love to see Daredevil and Spidey work together in the future, though.” He also said that he “certainly hope[d]” that Daredevil and Spider-Man working together would come to fruition someday.
While “fan service” typically comes with a negative connotation, No Way Home seemed to be just that yet satisfy many fans in how it portrayed itself. When asking Holden how he felt about the fan service in the film, he said that he thought “there was a ton of fan service” and that it can be a good or a bad thing, however he was all for it in this movie. When talking with Holden, I also mentioned that I knew Tobey Maguire is his favorite Spider-Man and that he had some issues with Tom’s Spider-Man in the past. That being said, I was curious how he felt about Tom’s Spider-Man after the way No Way Home ended. He explained, “It’s not that I didn’t like Tom Holland, it’s just that he wasn’t SPIDER-MAN. When Stan Lee created Spider-man, he gave him certain character traits and life events that make him relatable. He’s an ‘everyman’ character. Not the best looking, not popular, always struggling with girls, money, rent, reputation, consequences…Always blamed for things that aren’t his fault (JJ), etc. The MCU Spidey has always had a LOT of help from Tony Stark, both in Homecoming and Far From Home. Hence his ‘Iron Boy Junior’ reputation. The movies have been fun and entertaining, but they’re not Spider-man.” He went on to say,

“The good thing about the way No Way Home ended was that he FINALLY felt like Spider-Man. He didn’t have a safety net of the Avengers, he lost his Aunt May due to his own negligence, and learned about responsibility. There was finally some heart in it, and not just typical MCU humor. It ends with him giving up (at least for now) his relationship with MJ because he realizes that she is in danger just because she knows him. ‘Sacrifice.’ He finds himself a crummy apartment where he will presumably struggle to get by. He has no more family or friends to rely on. He made his own suit. It feels much more Spider-man now, in every sense.”

Rumors are also circulating that Tobey and Andrew could be seen in projects in the future, with some specifically saying that Sony is courting a return for Andrew Garfield in future projects. When asked, Holden said he “would 100% be down for more Andrew and Tobey.” Given the big Spider-Man fan that Holden is, it wasn’t a surprise that he enjoyed the film as much as he did, as well as fans in general.
The film currently stands at a 98% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That being said, I inquired what Holden’s criticism may have been of the film, as no movie is perfect, to which he replied, “I thought some of the CGI was janky. What comes to mind was the scene where the Sinister…Five…begin to fight Spider-man in the apartment building. There were a few jarring moments with CG body doubles. The scene where Andrew catches MJ and lands on the ground, there’s this awkward, unnatural bounce that happens when he lands. Just a couple moments like that.” Upon seeing the movie again after interviewing Holden, I also noticed the janky CGI when Andrew caught MJ particularly, though nothing seemed too groundbreaking smaller details like that were noticeable. When finally I asked Holden what he would rate the film, he responded saying the following: “I’d give it a 9/10. The first half felt very ‘MCU Spider-Man’ and the second half felt more ‘Spider-Man.’ I think they appeased both the newer, younger audience, and the older audience.” If you wish to view Holden’s video regarding their reaction to Spider-Man: No Way Home, that can be viewed here.
Spider-Man: No Way Home has, for the most part, been universally loved by all Marvel fans, and currently sits as the number one rated MCU film by fans on Rotten Tomatoes. I was extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to talk with Holden, let alone regarding something we both enjoy very much: Spider-Man. Perhaps some would consider me seeing the movie six times in theaters a bit excessive, however I’d say for me it was just as enjoyable every time after the first; as the experience from seeing the film opening night is one hard to beat. While many doubted if Marvel could keep the momentum going after Avengers: Endgame, they seem to have proven to many that they still can do it. It was almost universally considered by Marvel fans amazing, sensational, and yes, even spectacular.