Why Spider-Man Should Go to Another Super-Hero for Help in No Way Home

Stephen Lee
5 min readDec 8, 2021

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Peter should not be in this situation — hopefully someone is about to walk in to help.

I have not seen Spider-Man: No Way Home yet, but it seems clear that Peter Parker goes to the wrong super-hero for help.

Based on the trailers, Peter Parker’s life is in chaos because (1) a bad guy released an altered video that frames Peter for murdering Mysterio and (2) controversial pundit J. Jonah Jameson revealed Peter’s identity to the world. Peter then compounds his problems by asking Dr. Strange to cast a spell that inadvertently causes a multidimensional rift.

Rather than going to Dr. Strange, Peter really should go to Daredevil for help, not because he needs the help of another super-hero, but because he really needs the help of a lawyer.

Matt Murdock (Daredevil’s true identity) could do a lot to help Peter in this situation. Here are some things that Matt or another lawyer could do (and might do — I really hope the actor Charlie Cox appears in the movie):

  • Keep the Mysterio video away from the jury. Judges allow evidence to be presented to juries only if there is sufficient evidence that the evidence is authentic. Here, because there is no eyewitness to authenticate the accuracy of the video, and because the video was submitted anonymously and was altered, a lawyer should be able to point out the problems with the video to law-enforcement authorities and keep the video out of any trial.
  • Stop police from interviewing Peter. If you’re a suspect of a crime, you should probably never talk to law enforcement about the crime without the help of a lawyer. The saying is true — “anything you say can be used against you” — and little things you say can come back to haunt you. For example, the Mysterio video probably would be inadmissible in court, but a prosecutor probably could get it before a jury anyway if police show the video to Peter during an interview and get Peter to talk about it. And any inaccurate statements that Peter makes (intentionally or inadvertently) could be used as evidence of deceit and “consciousness of guilt,” which would undercut his defense.The trailers show Peter being interviewed by police — hopefully Matt Murdock will walk in and shut the interview down! At the least, a lawyer can ask for “proffer” protections that would limit the police’s ability to use the interview as evidence against Peter.
  • Argue that the New York police have no authority to investigate a crime that occurred in London. If a crime did occur during the big fight at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it should be prosecuted in the United Kingdom, not in the United States. The UK could ask authorities in the United States to help investigate based on multilateral assistance treaties (MLATs), and federal agents might be designated to help, but New York police have no authority here.
  • Argue that what the video shows does not even count as a crime. The crime of murder is typically defined as the killing of a “person” or “human being,” and such laws would not cover aliens and might not cover inter-dimensional beings. I’ve long thought that if Lex Luthor did ever kill Superman, Luthor probably would get away with it because it is not a crime to kill a Kryptonian. Mysterio claimed that he was not from this Earth, but from an alternate dimension — whether he is “human” for legal purposes is thus at least arguable. To bring a murder case at least under New York or U.S. federal law, prosecutors would need to prove that Mysterio actually was a human being, and looking into that might reveal Mysterio’s actual identity and the overall scam.
  • Demand that the government provide information showing that Peter is innocent. Prosecutors are required by U.S. law (Brady v. Maryland) and by ethics codes to disclose exculpatory information that tends to show that a criminal defendant is not guilty of the charged crime. The situation is more complicated here since SHIELD is more of a global security organization than a law-enforcement agency, but a lawyer could demand that SHIELD turn over records and information that shows that Peter is innocent.
  • Present or subpoena witnesses who would back up Peter. Several people can back up Peter’s account of what happened — Happy Hogan knows what happened en route to London, MJ and Ned know much of the movie’s events, and some version of Nick Fury knows that Mysterio is somehow framing Peter — and a lawyer could also develop additional evidence to show that Peter is innocent. For example, a lawyer could even call the remaining Avengers as witnesses to testify about Peter’s character — presenting character evidence is risky if your client actually did the crime, but can be powerful if your client is actually innocent (and did help save half the universe and defeat an alien invasion).
  • Take legal action against J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle, and the network that rebroadcast the Mysterio video. Newspapers and media organizations sometimes can be held liable for publishing or broadcasting false information. Peter Parker is a public figure and probably cannot bring a legal action based on the reporting that he is Spider-Man (truth is a defense), but a lawyer could demand a retraction of the accusation that Peter killed Mysterio. On Peter’s behalf, a lawyer could even file a defamation lawsuit seeking monetary and punitive damages. Spider-Man actually did this in a comic book once (the great and somewhat legally accurate She-Hulk #4 from 2004), and J. Jonah Jameson’s newspaper eventually settled the case in an unusual way.

There are many ways that a lawyer could help Peter in his current crisis. A lawyer probably cannot make the problem go away entirely, but a lawyer at least could get him out of his legal mess without threatening the nature of reality or summoning villains from the multiverse.

My kids and I are looking forward to seeing what actually happens. And at least I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Matt Murdock shows up for a little bit!

I was a federal prosecutor for 11 years, a newspaper reporter back in the 1990s, and a fan of Spider-Man since the 1970s. Please share if you like this, and please contact me if you have any questions!

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Stephen Lee

Lawyer, former federal prosecutor in Chicago (2008–January 2019), former newspaper reporter. Work site at stephenleelaw.com