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It's Time To Talk About The Electro Plot Hole In Spider-Man: No Way Home

Contains spoilers for "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Spider-Man's (Tom Holland) Marvel Cinematic Universe journey began way back in 2016 as a part of the ensemble film "Captain America: Civil War." In the years since he has found great success and failure — certainly doing more than previous live-action incarnations of the web-slinger ever had a chance to. He's gone toe-to-toe with Earth-bound supervillains, faced down the Mad Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin), in a bid to save the universe, and even came back from beyond the grave. However, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" presented him with arguably his biggest challenge yet in the MCU.

Following a magical, multiverse-collapsing mishap courtesy of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), several iconic Spider-Man villains poured into the main MCU timeline. Standouts from Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) returned to the silver screen, but that's not all. Foes from Marc Webb's "Amazing Spider-Man" duology reemerged as well, those being the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and Electro (Jamie Foxx). The latter got quite the makeover this time around, but simultaneously left fans scratching their heads by the time the credits rolled. The MCU Spider-Man three-quel was a mind-bending, continuity-straining event, and while it was a ton of fun to reconnect with all the old heroes and villains, it did result in a few confusing moments. Fans will likely be unpacking all the various plot conflicts created by "No Way Home" for a generation, but there's one in particular that we just can't shake.

There's a big Electro-related plot hole floating around "No Way Home." Here's what it is.

Why did Strange's spell bring Electro to the MCU?

As noted previously, the reason why so many Spider-Man rogues from across time and space converged on the MCU Earth had to do with Doctor Strange's botched spell. As he tried to magically force the world to forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, the wall-crawler in question kept talking and breaking his focus. Seems like Tom Holland has trouble keeping quiet in any reality. As a result, Strange's cast went haywire, and before he could contain it, a few sinister bad guys slipped through the cracks. According to the former Sorcerer Supreme, the flub brought over people who knew that Peter Parker and Spider-Man were one and the same. That goes a long way toward explaining the rogues' gallery that our Spidey trifecta had to face off against, but there is one outlier here.

This concept makes sense for all of the villains except Electro. Fans of the Garfield-starring "The Amazing Spider-Man" flicks will likely recall that Foxx's electrified baddy never actually learned his Spidey's secret identity during his sole previous appearance in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Perhaps this little detail simply slipped through the cracks — there is a lot of continuity to wrangle, after all — but Electro's ignorance of Spider-Man's identity actually made it into the script. The villain addresses it explicitly in "No Way Home" when he mentions that he always thought Spider-Man was Black. 

So, what's really going on here?

The multiverse is getting more confusing by the film

The easy answer is that Marvel Studios and Sony simply wanted to play to the fans and give Jamie Foxx another chance to portray Max Dillon. As for in-universe explanations, fans have begun to pull some ideas together to explain this plot hole away, which is awfully generous of them. "Assuming Strange was right about the spell, perhaps Max absorbed some data that gave him Spider-Man's identity," posits Redditor Phillip_Spidermen, using a line by Electro in "No Way Home" concerning what he was doing before he jumped to the MCU as a point of reference.

User Petrichor02 also brings up an interesting idea in the same Reddit thread, stating, "Most likely the villains of No Way Home were pulled from universes that have history extremely similar to but not quite identical to the events of the Raimi and Webb Spider-Man movies." Octavius' inability to recognize his friend Curt Connors as the Lizard and Sandman constantly maintaining his sandy state — totally flying in the face of their Raimi incarnations — lend credence to this theory.

There's also the solution that a few people brought up, claiming that perhaps Strange didn't fully understand the spell or misinterpreted it in some way. There's also the timeless answer that Electro slipped into the MCU because comics is crazy and any attempt to explain away every little asynchronous detail is a fool's errand. There be dragons, folks. 

Regardless of the true answer, we can only hope that somehow a future MCU installment will put this Electro plot hole to bed.