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This Spider-Man: No Way Home plot hole ruins the entire MCU

Published Jan 4th, 2022 11:29AM EST
Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness trailer
Image: Marvel Studios

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Spider-Man: No Way Home is the most exciting and highest-grossing Spider-Man movie to date, but it’s hardly perfect. No Way Home has various notable plot holes including one that’s related to the spell. But it’s not the effects of the spell that most people have issues with. It’s something a lot more serious that has the potential to ruin the entire MCU going forward.

The spell plot hole starts off hilariously until you realize the implications. Sure, Marvel and Sony can and should fix the problem in future movies. But once you see the problem with the No Way Home spell, you won’t be able to unsee it.

Before we can explain, you should really make sure you watch No Way Home in full because plenty of spoilers will follow.

Some problems with the No Way Home spell aren’t plot holes

Many No Way Home fans have questioned the spell that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) casts in the movie. In what follows, we will briefly touch on issues with the spell that aren’t really plot holes.

The botched spell

Some people take issue with the fact that Electro (Jamie Foxx) never knew his Spider-Man variant — that’s Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. Also, Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and Venom have yet to meet their reality’s Spidey. So how could Strange bring them in early in No Way Home?

The thing about this spell is that it brought in people from the multiverse randomly. The villains come from various points in their past. Some made their way over here just before they died, like Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe). Others came from other points in their lives, not necessarily before Spider-Man killed them. Maybe Electro will have died after meeting Garfield’s Parker in their universe.

Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home ending scene
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: No Way Home ending scene. Image source: Sony

As for Venom, Let There Be Carnage already established that the symbiote has memories from across the multiverse. He could have met Peter Parker before. Well, a Peter Parker, not necessarily Holland.

Let’s not forget that Strange isn’t perfect, and Peter Parker helped him lose focus early in No Way Home. That’s why the first version of the spell came out this way.

That’s to say these plot holes can be explained pretty easily.

The heartbreaking spell

Other people question the final spell, which makes everyone forget who this reality’s Peter Parker is. No Way Home fans have wondered what happened with records of Peter Parker connecting him to Spider-Man. There’s a straightforward fix right there. The spell will probably “delete” the memory of Peter Parker from anything, whether it’s MJ’s (Zendaya) mind or the personal collection of Spider-Man clips that J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) has.

Similarly, the spell can erase proof of Spider-Man’s identity from any data storage or physical paper. It’s something that we just have to accept.

More puzzling is the fact that a part of Venom stayed behind. Sony absolutely needs this Venom-Spider-Man relationship. And perhaps Marvel needs it, too. But we’ll need a good reason for this event. Otherwise, it’ll remain a big No Way Home spell plot hole.

No Way Home spell theory about Infinity War
No Way Home spell theory creates a hilarious Infinity War plot hole. Image source: Reddit

This brings us to the real issue with the spell that started with the meme above.

A Redditor imagined what would happen if Strange used the forgetting spell on Thanos (Josh Brolin). Just like that, the sorcerer would make the Mad Titan forget everything and avoid the carnage.

At the time, we explained this isn’t actually a No Way Home spell plot hole. Infinity War and Endgame have impenetrable plot armor. Strange looked at more than 14 million possible futures and there’s only one way to beat Thanos. Everything we see in the movies has to happen in that particular order of events. There’s no other way for the Avengers to win.

But things just got even worse thanks to a different Redditor, as seen below.

No Way Home spell plot hole meme
No Way Home spell creates a big plot hole that can ruin the MCU. Image source: Reddit

The real problem with the No Way Home spell

What if Peter had asked Strange to make everyone forget Mysterio and what he said. That’s just like saying that he wanted the world to forget who Peter Parker is, only without the negative side effects for Peter.

That’s actually a very reasonable question. It’s also a reasonable alternative, one that Strange never stopped to consider.

Come to think of it, Strange could have waited a day or two and thought things through. There was no imminent threat that required immediate action. But he didn’t. Rather than discuss the implications of the spell, Strange just went for it.

We know from the moments before the first spell that Strange had used it before, so he can pull it off whenever he wants. The last time he used the forgetting spell, it was so sorcerers forgot a Kamar Taj party, Wong (Benedict Wong) included.

Weirdly enough, Strange remembers using the spell. So he could have always tweaked it from the beginning for him to always remember the past events. This is yet another potential No Way Home spell plot hole, but I digress.

Then we see Strange cast the spell undisturbed at the end of No Way Home, despite the palpable emotional toll.

All of this makes you realize that Strange could cast the forgetting spell at any point in time. What if he made Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) forget her past? No more Multiverse of Madness.

What if he made Arishem (David Kaye) forget what Eternals do in the universe? No more civilization-wiping emergence events. What if Strange makes Kang (Jonathan Majors) forget his purpose one day? Or maybe Strange wants Christine (Rachel McAdams) to forget that she’s in love with someone else in Doctor Strange 2.

Eternals Final Trailer
Arishem, a Celestial in final Eternals trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

No Way Home needs plot armor

The No Way Home forgetting spell is a serious plot hole that can ruin the MCU going forward.

The good news is there’s a way to fix this plot hole. But there’s no easy way to retcon No Way Home. The plot armor the movie needs is a reason that makes it impossible for Strange to cast the forgetting spell anytime he wants. Maybe the spell draws energy from the Dark Dimension. Perhaps you need a strand of hair from the person who wants to cast the spell, or some other sort of personal sacrifice.

There needs to be some sort of blocking mechanism that turns the No Way Home forgetting spell into something dangerous that can’t be used at will.

Doctor Strange and Spider-Man in No Way Home fight scene
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in the No Way Home fight scene Image source: Sony

But again, No Way Home gives us three accounts of the spell, showing that Strange can just wing it whenever he feels like it. He casts the spell twice in No Way Home, once at the beginning and again at the very end. Then there’s the Kamar Taj party spell — by the way, we really need to know what happened at that party, but that’s a different topic.

Until Marvel fixes this big No Way Home spell plot hole, we can just expect Strange to defeat any big Avengers rivals with this forgetting spell. Someone simply needs to talk to Strange, brief him on the problem, and let him cast the spell without interrupting him. You know, since he can’t focus if you keep talking.

On the other hand, until Marvel fixes the plot hole, we can expect plenty of glorious memes online like the ones above.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.