No Way Home Risks Ruining Spider-Man 2’s Perfect Ending For Doctor Octopus

Spider-Man: No Way Home brings Alfred Molina's Doc Ock into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will retroactively ruin Spider-Man 2. No Way Home is letting all the past Spider-Man films collide. The first trailer for the film showed Peter Parker (Tom Holland) going to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) after the world learns that he's secretly Spider-Man. Doctor Strange wants to help and attempts a dangerous memory wipe spell to reverse the situation. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. Doctor Strange's enchantment goes awry after Parker meddles with the spell, and past Spider-Man villains, such as Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, are free to cause chaos in the MCU.

Molina made Doc Ock a tortured and iconic Spider-Man villain in Spider-Man 2. After an entire movie of his evil AI tentacles corrupting him to build his dangerous fusion reactor, Doc Ock finally breaks loose from their hold with the help of Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) at the end of the film. Realizing his experiment threatens New York City, Doc Ock drowns his device in a river, dying in a last-ditch effort to retain part of his former self. "I will not die a monster," he says ahead of disappearing into the watery depths.

Related: Venom Isn’t Actually In The MCU - Theory Explained

Unfortunately, No Way Home retroactively ruins Molina's Spider-Man 2 ending. Molina already revealed that his character would come into the No Way Home story from the point where Doc Ock is in the river in Spider-Man 2. However, the No Way Home trailer and marketing images seem to reveal Doc Ock's initially criminal nature in the new film. The second trailer admittedly seems to suggest Octavius will align with Spider-Man to fight the other MCU Sinister Six characters, but by fighting Tom Holland's Peter Parker on the freeway, there's already a huge tease that the ending of Sam Raimi's best Spider-Man movie will be walked back at first. By bringing Doc Ock back as a villain, No Way Home effectively ignores his redemption arc, seemingly in order to repeat it, and again giving him a chance to avoid his fate to "die a monster."

Considering Doc Ock already redeemed himself in Spider-Man 2, bringing him back as a villain initially is a strange move. The return cheapens his redemption in the previous film, showing the character didn't actually break free from the evil AI tentacles. When Doc Ock declares that he won't die a monster, it's a triumphant moment for the character, showing him finally regaining a bit of himself. However, No Way Home appears to throw that all away, with Molina's Doctor Octopus appearing in the MCU ready to take down Tom Holland's Spider-Man. Despite Doc Ock's arc in Spider-Man 2, the upcoming film seemingly reverts the character to a menacing monster.

While the film may retcon Alfred Molina's Doc Ock, it doesn't totally erase Spider-Man 2. Doc Ock still sacrifices himself in the movie and tries to die a hero. Perhaps as a hint of why he's reverted back to his evil ways, the No Way Home trailer shows Doc Ock's tentacles glowing red, indicating that the evil AI has regained control, so at least there's an explanation for why the character breaks bad again. In fact, by having the tentacles regain control over Doc Ock, No Way Home could further emphasize the significant effort it took to momentarily override the evil AI tentacles in Spider-Man 2. In the end, Spider-Man: No Way Home is still bringing back one of the most iconic comic book movie villains ever. And sometimes great moments, like Doc Ock's death in Spider-Man 2, require a little sacrifice.

More: How Powerful Tom Hardy's Venom Is Compared To Tom Holland's Spider-Man

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Bill Bradley (312 Articles Published)

Bill is an experienced reporter who's covered entertainment and fandom since 2014. He's done everything from unearthing the discarded Game of Thrones pilot script in a library in Texas to finding out why Steve left Blue's Clues. He also enjoys eating Taco Bell and drinking chocolate milk.

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