Home Again1 of 12
Spider-Man: Homecoming is finally out in theaters, and it's one of the most "Marvel" MCU movies in recent memory.
From a fully-evolved shared world, to numerous Easter eggs, to new twists on Spider-Man's central themes, there's quite a lot to unpack in the film.
But there's good news - your friendly neighborhood 'Rama staff is here to dig deep into the film - which we've naturally been obsessing over - and decode some of the most important - and easily missed - aspects of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Iron Standard2 of 12
2008’s Iron Man didn’t just launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe – it set the standard against which all subsequent Marvel solo movies have been judged. In a way, part of the reason Spider-Man: Homecoming feels so at home in the MCU is because it embraces the promise of Iron Man while still moving past it.
So it’s appropriate that Homecoming be the venue for an update on Tony’s life – and a reunion of the main cast right down to Tony’s playful robotic arm, and a big, ill-advised announcement at a press conference. By showing Tony evolve while simultaneously giving us a subtle rundown of his big mistakes – all of which Peter manages to avoid – Homecoming proves that, true to his mentor’s wishes, Peter is better than Tony.
And of course, there’s also the matter of setting up a much brighter moment in the MCU than when we last saw Tony in Captain America: Civil War. That decision definitely fits the tone of Spider-Man stories better – but it could also be a shrewd moment of reprieve before Avengers: Infinity War pulls the rug out from under fans one more time.
Get Me Pictures Of Spider-Man!3 of 12
One thing missing from Spider-Man: Homecoming is The Daily Bugle. Adding that element to the story may have just been too much for the narrative to bear (and too hard to pull off without earning the goodwill necessary to replace J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson), but there are still some references to Peter’s photojournalism job there.
Most directly, his video diary from the beginning of the film, in which he documents his time as Spider-Man and uses his phone to take pictures of himself in action from a distance, mimics his longtime career of being the only guy who can get pictures of Spider-Man.
As for whether that will go beyond homage, time will tell.
Who Will Wield The Shield?4 of 12
Along with Steve Rogers’ obvious cameos in a series of fitness videos for Peter’s school, there are a few references in the film to the Star-Spangled Avenger which give some insight into his current place in the MCU after giving up his identity as Captain America.
First off, Peter’s gym coach calls Cap a “war criminal” – a line that’s played for humor but which does shed some light on how the public views the fallout of the Sokovia Accords – which also get a mention in Peter’s history class.
Then there’s the more pointed moment where Happy Hogan refers to a “new prototype for Captain America’s shield” that Tony has built. It’s possible it was built before Steve and Tony’s falling out in Civil War – but it seems like too casual a reference to not at least consider the possibility that Tony already knows Steve is going to need a new shield.
Or, perhaps more dramatically (but true to comic books), Tony building a new shield means that there could be a new Captain America when Avengers: Infinity War kicks off.
Egg Hunt5 of 12
There are tons of references and Easter eggs in Spider-Man: Homecoming - so many that we’re just going to highlight some you may have missed. Firstly, could the silver-haired student seen in multiple high school scenes be Felicia Hardy? Or perhaps Silver Sable? It could be a simple coincidence, but both characters are scheduled to appear in their own spin-off film.
Then there’s the matter of Donald Glover’s Aaron Davis – A.K.A. the Ultimate Prowler. As Davis tries to buy weapons from Vulture’s henchman, one of them mentions a set of “climbers” that seem to interest Davis. This could be a reference to the original Prowler’s extensive use of special climbing talons – a major gimmick in his early appearances.
Then of course there’s Aunt May’s “troubled” past. May confesses to Peter that she too used to sneak out of the house when she was young – possibly making a light reference to the controversial story Trouble in which thinly-veiled versions of Richard & Mary Parker (Peter’s parents) and Ben & May Parker (his aunt and uncle) navigate a melodramatic web of teen relationships and drama.
Ultimate Spider-Man6 of 12
Along with giving many aspects of Peter Parker’s mythos a fresh coat of paint, Homecoming also embraces many parts of the Ultimate Universe, something that should not be surprising for those who follow the MCU.
From Tony Stark wearing a fairly faithful version of his Ultimate armor, to Donald Glover playing the Ultimate Prowler (and off-handedly mentioning his “nephew” – a reference to Miles Morales), Homecoming draws heavily on the now defunct publishing line’s version of the characters.
There’s also the matter of Ned, who is pretty obviously an adapted version of Miles’ best pal Ganke, and of course the Scorpion who, like in the Ultimate Universe, is an arms dealer with a scorpion tattooed on his neck.
Sinister Syndicate7 of 12
Speaking of the Scorpion, the meeting between Mac Gargan and Adrian Toomes in prison could foreshadow one of the biggest parts of the Spider-Man mythos – a team-up of his villains.
The Amazing Spider-Man films were working towards setting up a version of the Sinister Six, but it wasn’t an organic process. Here, we’re seeing the seeds of two of Spidey’s villains coming together, with a clear path for the Scorpion to become a full-on supervillain.
But this scene also raises other questions about the future of Spider-Man’s villains – namely, what’s Toomes’ role moving forward? Director Jon Watts confirmed that Vulture keeping Peter’s secret was a way of repaying him for saving his life, but the Vulture is hardly an altruistic character. Did he keep Peter’s secret as a kind of leverage? Will he use that knowledge against Peter later? Or could he be leveraged to divulge it by threatening the Toomes family in Oregon?
Given Keaton’s gripping performance, here’s hoping he comes back so we can find out.
Secret Identity8 of 12
Peter revealing his secret identity to people close in his life isn’t new – not even in movies. But Homecoming approaches this twist in a totally different way. First off, it’s worth noting that Ned is really Peter’s first onscreen friend that isn’t also secretly trying to kill him. That relationship – and the benefits it brings Peter – are central to Homecoming.
And of course there’s the matter of Vulture knowing Peter’s secret (more on that later), but the real kicker is the last few moments of the film, when Aunt May walks in on Peter in costume. That’s not an entirely new twist – there have been stories where May has known Peter’s secret before – but seeing it onscreen is major – and flips their dynamic on its head.
Given that Aunt May doesn’t exactly permeate Homecoming, here’s hoping this means she’ll have an increased role in future entries in the franchise.
Liz Osborn9 of 12
If the dynamic between Liz Allan, her dad Adrian Toomes, and Peter Parker seemed a little familiar, that’s because it sort of is.
Like many of the best parts of Homecoming, the Liz/Adrian/Peter dynamic of Peter keeping a secret from his friend, whose father is secretly his arch-enemy, is straight out of the Osborn family playbook.
Given that there have now been two attempts at a big screen Green Goblin – and the new film’s creators are committed to not retreading old ground – we’re unlikely to see Harry and Norman Osborn show up any time soon. But we still get that perfect dramatic tension that comes from Peter playing a mental game of wits with his arch-enemy while also trying to protect his friend from learning the terrible truth.
What’s more, there’s an almost direct allusion to this dynamic – both in the way Toomes’ personalities seem to switch on a dime, and because in comic books, Liz Allan eventually married Harry Osborn.
Do You Even Lift?10 of 12
Just before Homecoming’s climactic scene in which Peter Parker prevents Vulture from committing a midair heist, Vulture tries to kill Spider-Man by dropping almost an entire warehouse on him. Trapped beneath the rubble, Peter cries out for help, almost giving up before finally summoning the strength to free himself and defeat the Vulture.
It’s an iconic Spidey scene, lifted directly from Amazing Spider-Man #33 (and homage numerous times in Spidey-related media) – and one that, in the film, is directly set up by another homage.
To collapse the building, Vulture summons his wing harness, using it to independently attack Peter – similar to the way Green Goblin often uses his Goblin Glider, but which is not common for the comic book Vulture.
It all comes back to Homecoming’s central conceit – showing you the greatest hits of the Spider-Man mythos on the big screen, but with just enough new ideas to keep it feeling fresh and exciting.
Secret Origins11 of 12
Throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony Stark tells the same thing to Peter Parker several times – “If you’re nothing without the suit, you don’t deserve it.”
It becomes the refrain that sticks in Peter’s mind as he sets out to defeat Vulture without the benefit of the hi-tech suit and special weapons Peter’s Tony Stark designed suit possesses. And if you think about it, it’s really a familiar sentiment.
In a way, it’s the new version of the old “power & responsibility” mantra. True heroism comes from within, and no matter what tools you give someone, if they don’t have the responsibility to use them wisely, they’re no hero.
That lesson is one of important aspects of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man – and even though Homecoming technically isn’t an origin story, it sure does follow the same core themes as the spider-bite and the death of Uncle Ben.
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