Is Spider-Man: Homecoming another installment of The Tony Stark Show?


Spider-Man: Homecoming stars the most comics-accurate Peter Parker we’ve ever seen. Yet, the new trailers feature Tony Stark almost as prominently as Spidey.

When Marvel Studios and Sony struck a deal in 2015 to share character rights to Spider-Man, it was as if fans’ prayers were answered. Spider-Man could be part of the MCU! He could join the Avengers! We could see him get snarky with Tony Stark! Hurray!

Since then, there’s been a lot of pressure to get his inclusion in the MCU right. Rebooting the Peter Parker origin story for the third time in 15 years is a risky move. As iconic as Spider-Man is, does anyone really care to watch this story unfold on the silver screen again? Short answer: yes, if it’s done right.

Casting Tom Holland was a good start. Having a more age-appropriate star already makes this Peter stand out against the previous two. True to the comics, this Peter Parker is a nerd who’s reluctant to embrace his powers, but eventually decides to use them for good.

Unlike previous incarnations of Peter Parker, we first meet this one in Captain America: Civil War. Tony Stark enlists him in his fight against Steve Rogers over the Superhuman Registration Act. We skip straight past Uncle Ben’s death — and apparently, a ton of other events from the original comics — to get right to the part where Tony Stark takes Peter under his superhuman wing.

I have to be honest: I’m not that into it.

Narratively, it’s not totally out of whack. The MCU has to introduce Peter. Tony Stark, an established character of the ‘verse, is a good choice to bring him in. But there’s a way to do that without turning Spider-Man: Homecoming into The Tony Stark Show.

Tony Stark’s presence in the newest Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers is too big. He features nearly as often as Peter himself. In fact, Peter’s whole storyline is based on Tony Stark being his mentor. It pushes elements from later comics — like the Iron Spider suit — to the forefront of the story.

Honestly, it takes away the fun of seeing Peter come into himself as Spidey. Isn’t that the point of an origins movie?

Much like in Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man has been shoehorned into a story that ultimately isn’t his. Civil War was, at least, an Avengers story. There was understanding, going in, that Steve would be interacting with his team.

On the other hand, Spider-Man: Homecoming appears to take autonomy from its titular character to make him a pawn of Tony Stark. That puts the focus on the wrong superhero, even if it’s just in the marketing. After all, posters and trailers build hype for upcoming films.

The new trailers and one of the newest posters build more hype for Iron Man than for Spider-Man. Seeing Robert Downey, Jr.’s face so much larger than Tom Holland’s on the Homecoming poster is weird. I know that Iron Man is a huge moneymaker, but this literally isn’t his movie. What’s he doing looming so big in the corner like that?

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Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark is significantly more conflicted and interesting in the comics. Hopefully, as the MCU continues its overall arc, we get to see that play out on screen. As of right now, The Tony Stark Show is turning me off of wanting to see Spider-Man: Homecoming.

If I want to watch an Iron Man movie, I have three to choose from, not to mention the Avengers films. See also: Civil War. Does Spider-Man really need to be another Iron Man sequel? I think not.