Spider-Man entering into cobra pose.Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock
Warning: As with almost the whole thing Vulture writes about Spider-Man: No Way Home, this post spoils plot details of the movie’s 2nd 1/2.
Say what you will approximately Spider-Man: No Way Home — our critic Bilge Ebiri did — but it’s definitely a film plugged into the records of the Spider-Man franchise. In reality, for older viewers, that’s the main source of its energy: reminding you how you felt in 2002 or 2012, whilst everything was fun and fresh and new.
But as one of the movie’s in-jokes reminds us, no longer the whole lot felt good returned then. I’m referring, of route, to Tobey Maguire’s lower back.
(The spoilers will surely start after this paragraph.)
For folks who don’t do not forget Hollywood gossip of the early aughts, there’s a scene in No Way Home that must be absolutely mystifying. Thanks to some multiverse shenanigans, each Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire have back to reprise their roles as Peter Parker, leading to a few wistful notes approximately the sad inevitability of getting old as well as body-horror gags about how Maguire shoots his webs out of mysterious orifices in his wrists. But at the height of the large motion climax, the plot stops in its tracks so the two elder Spider-statesmen could have a protracted again-and-forth concerning lower back ache like they’re 40-some thing dads at a fish fry. (Apparently, net-slinging isn’t always remarkable for the lumbars.) Eventually, Garfield-Spidey bodily selections up Maguire-Spidey and cracks his returned that will get back to swirling around a CGI sandstorm simply as God and Sony Pictures supposed.
What’s the motive for all this? Some may say putting Maguire and Garfield in any such function is its very own praise. But it’s likely also a reference to one of the maximum precious bits of meta-textual Spider-Man lore: the time Maguire likely faked a lower back damage inside the hopes of securing a better payday for Spider-Man 2.
The story goes like this: In the spring of 2003, shortly earlier than production on the superhero sequel turned into approximately to start, Maguire commenced making noise approximately being unready to step lower back into the Spidersuit because of a returned trouble exacerbated at the set of Seabiscuit. Industry scuttlebutt had it he was playing hardball with the studio in the hopes of securing a higher contract. “Columbia felt that Maguire’s said lower back issues … had been now being used as a danger at some point of negotiations if the actor’s list of needs wasn’t met,” Variety wrote.
But the studio hit again with threats of its own. Sony started hinting about replacing Maguire with Jake Gyllenhaal, who came about to be courting Kirsten Dunst at the time. Eventually, things were given sorted out in a way harking back to Call My Agent! Maguire become in a Hollywood relationship, too — with Jennifer Meyer, daughter of Ron Meyer, who was the president of Universal, which turned into freeing Seabiscuit. (Maguire and Meyer had been married from 2007 to 2020.) Per the Los Angeles Times, the elder Meyer advised his future son-in-regulation to make nice with the studio and used his influence to persuade Sony to take him back. It worked: Maguire apologized and got his activity lower back, though Sony did make him post to bodily checks to show he changed into indeed suit sufficient to preserve the function. He additionally fired his agent, which was broadly taken as every other gesture of contrition.
Maguire contends his problem turned into entirely about his fitness, now not cash, and the studio keeps it by no means in reality attempted to hire Gyllenhaal. (The Times dryly mentioned of a assembly with Gyllenhaal, “The truth that it took place on the Spider-Man set and that Gyllenhaal encountered” Spider-Man 2 manufacturers Julie “Ziskin and Avi Arad changed into a coincidence.”)
The Affair of the Back fast have become infamous, and Spider-Man 2 didn’t hesitate to comic story about it. One of its Daily Bugle the front pages features a headline asking, “Can Chronic Back Pain EQUAL BRAIN SHRINKAGE?” and the film includes a scene wherein Maguire’s Spider-Man brags approximately being “again,” then straight away injures his back.
At least he remains a good recreation approximately it!The Backbreaking In-Joke in Spider Man: No Way Home