While it feels like we’ve been surrounded by Marvel series for the better part of this year, it’s easy to forget that it’s been some time since we’ve gotten an actual Marvel movie on the big (or small) screen. In fact, it’s been just a day over two years now since Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters and began to, somewhat, usher in a new phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While technically part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three, it acted more as a bridge film than anything else.
But now that we are on the relative eve of the next movie for Marvel hitting theaters, it’s worth it to go back and look at how Spider-Man: Far From Home began to usher in this next phase, setting the stage for a variety of storylines, and teeing up Tom Holland as one of the true stars for the studio in this next phase of films.
Coming on the heels of Avengers: Endgame Marvel used Far From Home to begin showing how the world was coping with and reacting to the reappearance of all those folks who’d left stage left after the Thanos snap and Blip in Infinity War. In that it is a bridge movie, we know that Peter is in mourning after losing Tony Stark and also conflicted about how he should re-enter the superhero space. It’s a bit awkward to start and more than a little overwhelming considering he’s now a celebrity. Tom Holland shines here as both a sad teenager on the other side of a traumatic experience that’s upended his life, but also as a run-of-the-mill kid dealing with a crush and the seeming weight of the world on him.
Marvel also used this movie to further the idea that Tom Holland, while continuing to learn about his powers, and additional responsibilities when it comes to being Stark’s prodigy, is also just a completely innocent kid who is too trusting of some and not enough of others. As such a young character, it’s been a refreshing new addition for Marvel who had relied for so long on fully-formed adults to carry the superhero mantle. But that won’t last long. He grows up quickly by the end.
The class trip theme for Spider-Man: Far From Home puts Spider-Man into more of a global context, again, setting the stage for him to begin taking his character more to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. And considering the flick ended with Holland’s Parker now persona non grata as well as completely exposed, there’s a sense that the future for Spider-Man is now considerably different than Parker, or really anyone, ever intended.
Spider-Man: Far From Home was another massive hit for Marvel, earning $1.13 billion at the box office and won over critics as well sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. Shifting Tom Holland’s Parker into this new role and expanding the threats against him was a necessary move for Marvel in this respect as they headed towards the next phase, and they pulled it off here.
Though it’s been two years since we had a Marvel movie, we won’t have to wait much longer. Black Widow is set to release this week after many pandemic-related delays. Though it’s less a Phase Four movie and more a look back at the character’s time following Civil War. And as for Spider-Man? We’ll next see him in No Way Home which will handle all aspects of the multiverse with plenty of callbacks to previous iterations in the franchise.