Spoiler alert: Spider-Man: No Way Home gave us everything we wanted and more, including a moment that proved to be a highlight for many Pinoy viewers.
First of all, if you haven’t seen No Way Home yet, be warned that this article will be going into some major spoilers. So, if you have plans to catch the film, bookmark this story, watch the movie, then come back to this. But if you’ve already seen the movie or just don’t care about spoilers, then you know that all the rumors are true, and it was more glorious than anything we could have ever imagined.
Filipino Spidey and MCU fans have a lot to rejoice as of late as Spider-Man: No Way Home has finally swung its way onto local cinemas. For those of you who managed to avoid spoilers (congratulations) and the trappings of piracy, then watching No Way Home in the theater was truly an unforgettable experience.
Not only is it the best Spider-Man film in the whole trilogy, but one of the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a story decades in the making. Seeing villains and heroes from different universes come together for an epic showdown was cinematic spectacle unlike any other, not to mention the fact that the film raises a lot of exciting questions about the future of Spider-Man and the MCU. But there was one scene in particular that caught us off guard. And no, it’s not what you think. We’re talking about the memorable scene involving Ned’s lola, played by actress Mary Rivera.
A little over halfway through the movie, MJ and Ned are hiding at Ned’s home guarding the spell. With news that the villains are now free, Ned and MJ are desperate to find Peter. This is when Ned discovers that he can generate portals with Doctor Strange’s sling ring. The two use it to locate Peter, but instead, they find alternate versions of Peter Parker, the one’s played by Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.
This is when Ned’s lola enters the scene and reacts to the two Spider-Men. “Salamangka,” she says, alluding to the magic unfolding before their very eyes. Later on, she makes the scene even more familiar and funny when she asks Andrew’s Spider-Man if he can crawl on walls, and asks him to clean up the ceiling. She even tells them to not make a mess of her living room. “Ikaw ha, nagkalat ka na naman. Linisin mo lahat ng mga basura mo dito. At ikaw naman, alam mo naman na gusto ko na itong bahay natin maayos pero tignan mo, dumi dito, dumi doon,” she says with Ned serving as translator. She then leaves and this is the last time we see and hear of Ned’s lola in the movie.
AN UNEXPECTED MOMENT IN A PIVOTAL SCENE
While for some people, the scene may have been unimportant to the wider plot of the movie, it’s actually more significant than just a throwaway gag. For starters, Ned’s lola and that whole moment was in the middle of one of the most important scenes ever shown in the MCU. When people talk about this movie, they will talk about the scene where Andrew and Tobey’s Spider-Men entered the MCU for the first time and Ned’s lola was part of that. It is a major scene that will be talked about for years to come and Ned’s lola can’t be separated from the scene. The role was actually teased by a job posting Disney had a few years ago. So, to see it come to fruition is pretty cool.
PINOYS IN THE MCU
Second, this is the first time in the entire MCU that someone has spoken Tagalog. Jacob Batalon, the actor who plays Ned, is of Filipino descent. But it’s never been explicitly stated in the MCU Spider-Man films that Ned is part Filipino or that his family is Filipino. The scene solidifies that there are more canon Filipino characters in the MCU.
The first Pinoy character to get screen time in the MCU was Ayla Perez, a Filipino diplomat on the Global Repatriation Council with a background in the Philippine Air Force, played by actress Jane Rumbaua. You may have seen her in the finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier where she pilots a chopper and helps the new Captain America. Speaking of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the series also saw Pinoy representation by including the song Amatz by Shanti Dope in the series’ fourth episode. There also have been actors of Pinoy blood who have appeared in the MCU, such as Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy and Hailee Steinfeld in the recent Hawkeye series, though Drax and Kate Bishop aren’t Filipino. Finally, there’s also the fact that the scenery featured in the final shot of Infinity War was shot at the Banaue Rice Terraces.
Finally, for Filipinos and those who understand Tagalog, hearing Ned’s lola speak the language was a pleasant surprise. The scene also didn’t come with any subtitles, so it was like a fun inside joke and a IYKYK moment. It also gave the scene an added layer of personality. It’s actually great to finally see more Pinoy representation in the MCU, even if it was just for a short while. The only problem with the scene was that the way she spoke Tagalog was a bit weird, which sounded like she slowed it down. But that’s more of a minor gripe.
This probably will be the last time we’ll see Ned’s lola. But as for Ned himself, his future is up in the air. As of now, he doesn’t know who Peter Parker is, but that may change with the rumored new Spider-Man movies in the works. There’s also the fact that some versions of Ned Leeds in the comics become the villain Hobgolbin. So, who knows, we may just get more Pinoy representation in the MCU soon.
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