Spoiler-free ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ review: Where are the sewers?

Marvel’s latest release continues disappointing lack of sewer infrastructure moments

lown-up buildings. Villain chase-downs on the highway. Heroes jumping from rooftops and swinging from bridges. Surging power grids. We’ve seen it all before, Marvel.

After months of speculation and anticipation, the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” fails to challenge the infrastructure stereotype at the center of the entire Marvel universe:

No one cares about sewers.

Tom Holland returns with Zendaya and a cast of past Spider-Man stars in Marvel’s latest release. And while infrastructure remains a reliable backdrop throughout yet another save-the-world-in-spandex drama, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure remains the system unseen and unheralded once again.

Missed opportunities abound, as revealed even in the earliest trailers. No rescues from flooded roadways? No action sequences replacing aging sewers with more sustainable green infrastructure? No erosion-threatened roadways in need of strategic bank stabilization?


These are the kind of real-world challenges Marvel needs to make its cinematic universe more relatable. But yet again, the sequels rely on pretty faces and tall buildings instead of looking for something deeper. Literally and figuratively.

Nothing is more current in Americans’ minds than infrastructure funding and the hope for long-awaited and desperately needed Federal investment. But through the smoke and rubble of city battle scenes, we once again see much more broken than repaired. How can Peter Parker and Mary Jane expect to live in a metropolis without a commitment to the safety and security of public utilities?

If you’re looking for “action” and “adventure” in a stereotypical sense, sure, Spidey cues up all the sequences that check those boxes. But everyone knows the real action opportunities are in infrastructure planning. Maintenance. Operations. Construction. Long-term funding.

None of which have a home in No Way Home.

John Gonzalez is Communications Manager of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and was not invited to any “Spider-Man: No Way Home” screenings. He is not bitter but it is obvious he only knows the film based on trailers and Twitter memes.

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH