Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
Amazon brought a bounty today, the first being Monsters, by Barry Windsor Smith, a story supposedly based on an idea he had for The Incredible Hulk that got spiked by Editor in Chief Jim Shooter for one reason or another, but was allegedly picked up by writer Bill Mantlo, leading Smith to spend 30 years running with it in parallel on his own. I just started it, but it looks to be a great story about a man warped by a broken father figure.
It also brought Spider-Man: Far From Home on 4K Blu-Ray. Which I have seen already, but has some of the same themes, albeit very, very superficially. That said, I have had a few beers, and a big, flashy movie to crank through the subwoofer is probably more my speed at this particular moment in time.
It's kinda weird that it took three movie series, and frankly, a lot of comic runs, to extrapolate that Peter Parker might, after the death of his uncle, go looking for an alternative father figure elsewhere. Kevin Feige and company picked up on it straight away, and made it Tony Stark. But Feige was also smart enough to spin that out, and recognize that Peter might have the same guilt for failing to save Stark as he did for saving his uncle, and immediately want to push that need for a father figure on the first comer, whether he deserves it or not.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of grown-ass adults who were born with, or went in search of, power. Except for Peter Parker, who is a kid who had an accident. And the key word is "kid," and teenagers are, as we have established, the worst people on Earth. So it completely tracks that a kid who once kept The Infinity Gauntlet away from Thanos would hand over control of the most powerful weapons system in the world to the first man who treated him like a son.
That's the cool part of Far From Home: seeing Peter grow past needing a father figure, into having enough confidence in himself to make his own decisions. And the flick makes the whole thing work... right past where Spider-Man needs to be.
I finally figured it out: Kevin Feige wants us to have a central figure around which the next phase of the MCU can coalesce, and he wants it to to be Spider-Man. That's why Stark took him under his wing, and why Stark gave him access to his defense network in this movie. And it makes total sense from a marketing perspective: everyone loves Spider-Man.
It doesn't make any sense for Spider-Man, who is, after all, just a kid who had an accident. A kid with minimal resources, working where he can be most effective: at home. There's a reason it took until the early 2000s, and Brian Michael Bendis, to put Spider-Man on The Avengers, and it's because until then Spider-Man was the one saving people in New York while The Avengers and The Fantastic Four were dealing with Galactus or whatever. Because Spider-Man was us, any human being could be in that costume, doing what they could to keep their home safe.
This is two Spider-Man movies where he spent almost no time in New York, but where he finally grew up a little. I'm hoping Spider-Man: No Way Home stays in New York, and becomes who he's supposed to be: an example, who protects his home before anything else.