If I had to sum up Spider-Man: No Way Home in one word, it would be: Boys. Villainous boys, spidery boys — boys, boys, boys! The boys are, in fact, back in town, but there was one who made me gasp out loud in the theater, of whom there was scarcely enough in the film. Spoilers ahead, naturally.
I am talking, of course, about Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil as played by Charlie Cox.
I feel like it’s worth noting up top that I have been in love with Andrew Garfield since 2009, but his and Tobey Maguire’s guest appearances in No Way Home were all but foregone conclusions by the time it hit theaters on Dec. 17. Cox still felt like a sweet fantasy, a cameo that could work but could easily bloat an already dense film.
I was wrong to doubt.
To be fair, Matt is in No Way Home for all of 90 seconds, and I will tell you right now I barely know what happened during that scene because I was overcome by excitement. After being interrogated by federal agents, Peter is advised to get a lawyer, and the next scene starts with a close up of a hand on a walking stick, a sight so familiar to me after three seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix that at first it didn’t register as an anomaly in the MCU. My Spidey sense knew what was happening before it actually did.
Then the camera pans up to Matt Murdock and I gasped. I was the only person in my theater to do so, and if you were too, I see you. There are dozens of us!
A very! Good!! Lawyer!!
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige already confirmed that Cox would play Daredevil if and when the character entered the MCU, but that didn’t make this moment any less satisfying or even surprising in a movie otherwise largely spoiled by months of leaks and rumors. No Way Home hit theaters exactly one day after Netflix’s Marvel shows collided with the MCU in Hawkeye, with Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his role as Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin. Doctor Strange may be caught in a tangled web of space and time, but Kevin Feige sure has a grasp on it.
Cox played Daredevil from 2015 to 2018, including a stint in 2017’s The Defenders. Daredevil was a breakthrough series in its time, a gritty portrayal of the violence and inner turmoil faced by heroes in a way that the MCU had never tackled it. Daredevil fought brutally and went home bruised and broken. He shed tears and blood, and he carried guilt and conflict with him after every battle that only grew over time. Daredevil’s fight sequences are still some of the best in Marvel Studios history.
When Netflix canceled Daredevil — and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and Iron Fist (probably for the best) — many speculated that it was part of a larger plan for the character to join the MCU (this reporter included). But that would take years of preparation and an inevitably long wait before we could see this character on screen again someday — now, “someday” is finally here.
As noted in Mashable’s review of the movie, No Way Home benefits greatly from not having to build every character from scratch because Sony’s previous movies already took care of that. Matt’s cameo takes this a step further in that we actually get none of his backstory or true identity in this movie. It is truly an Easter egg, a Very Good Lawyer who can catch projectile bricks with one hand while he has his back turned, and then we move on to the next scene and no one ever circles back to this because of the aforementioned wimbly-wombly space-time stuff. It’s a delight, and a rare moment for this iteration of the character to exist without his emotional baggage in film that certainly has plenty of that to go around.
Now that Daredevil is officially in the MCU, I. Am. Stoked. I can hear John Paesano and Braden Kimball’s haunting theme music, which quite frankly belongs at the club. Daredevil was hardly low-budget, but imagining where the character can go with the might of the MCU behind him is thrilling. No Way Home leaves Peter Parker completely isolated — and who better to team up with than New York’s other masked vigilante? We already know Hawkeye is going to spin off into an Echo series and that Matt Murdock and Maya Lopez cross paths frequently in Marvel comics. Most importantly, will Foggy (Elden Henson) return? I miss the BOYS.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now in theaters. You can stream all of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.