Far From Home Swings Spider-Man Forward
Where is the Marvel Cinematic Universe going? Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn’t precisely answer this question, but it drops some interesting hints in unexpected ways.
(Spoilers abound, you’ve been warned.)
There has been much internet fuss about the end credits scenes, only some of which is deserved. The final scene is fun, explains some seeming plot holes, and probably sets up a role for Nick Fury in a Captain Marvel 2 sequel. It doesn’t necessarily mean more than that, though it does raise my hopes that the next long-term threat is a space-based character like Kang the Conqueror.
The outing of Spider-Man is more interesting, and not just because it defines some of Peter’s challenges for the next movie. It’s the pay-off to a whole movie that has been interrogating Peter’s identity and his role in the MCU.
Who Fills Tony’s Sunglasses?
The death of Tony Stark looms over Far From Home. The story revolves around who is worthy to replace Tony. (Never mind that, as “Happy” Hogan points out, even Tony was rarely worthy to be Tony.)
From the franchise standpoint, Peter Parker is the natural choice. Iron Man was a B-list character in 2008. Spider-Man has spent decades at the top of the A-list with Batman, Superman, and Wolverine. He’s beloved in Brooklyn, Tokyo, and Tampere. Marvel can make huge bank with this guy.
As a character, though, Peter is in no way ready to be Tony. He’s a kid. He’s shy. And for much of Far From Home, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is manifestly out of his depth. He doesn’t want to save the world from “Avengers-level threats”, he just wants to take a vacation and maybe kiss a girl.
And yet. The kid has potential. Happy sees it while Peter is re-designing his Spider-suit. Peter has the scientific and engineering mind to be the tech hero of the MCU. And while he lacks Tony’s brash nature, he has all of Tony’s big heart.
As Nick Fury might observe, all Peter needs is a push. Wrecking his secret identity is the push.
Far From Home Sets the Course
Far From Home doesn’t tell us a lot about where the MCU is going, but it sets up a long journey for Peter Parker.
Over the next few years, look for him to grow into the role of Tony Stark: technology hero, clever hero, humane hero. He’ll also make an interesting contrast with Captain Marvel, the soldier hero. Peter and Carol trade off many of the power dynamics and personality traits of Tony and Steve. That may lead to a fascinating dynamic a few movies down the bend.
And make no mistake, Marvel is playing a long game here. If he’s willing, Holland is likely to be Spider-Man for the next ten years. (If he’s not, audiences have already shown they will take Spidey casting changes in stride.) The Spidey of 2030 will be a strong, confident adult — a worthy leader of the Avengers against whatever threat comes their way.
It should be a fun journey to watch.