As some added flavor to this original article (this wordpress is basically my ongoing portfolio now so I will link to everything on here), I had some further thoughts on this subject. Because as much as I hate to spoil my own article: Spider-Man doesn’t need to have anyone else in his stories.
I think I made a pretty compelling case for a few of Avengers if they were absolutely, under no other circumstances, needed for his sequel, but Peter Parker works because he’s a loner. There are other people in his life, friends, family, coworkers, etc. But he himself carries a specific burden even other superheroes may not fully comprehend. He’s growing up as the world’s youngest superhero at the moment. He’s a kid burdened with unbelievable power and responsibility in a world ravaged by the previous generation of heroes and villains. It’s a perfect Spider-Man duality: surrounded in a world by superpowered individuals, while being utterly isolated from everyone else.
At the end of the day, Peter is just trying to get by in a world that is crushingly unfair. He’s a good kid anyways. Not just because of his guilt (though that is a motivation) but because it is the right thing to do. Saying he will always do the right thing is one thing, actively pursuing the greater good is another. More often than not, that decision made to “do the right thing” is far from the easy choice. And it’s something I’m thinking about long after Homecoming has ended.
More important than any guest appearances are the everyday struggles of Peter Parker. They need to double down on those next time. For example: I think the sandwich shop owner should have died during the bank robbers escape. Just imagine: an image of Peter Parker in his Spider-Man suit running out of the rubble, only the cat in one hand as he stands in the middle of the street. Once again, bank robbers got away and he is inadvertently responsible for the death of another elderly man. The guilt of being Spider-Man is *there* without the death of Uncle Ben in the film, but I don’t think they lean into it hard enough for full gut punches like that. There is passing reference to Peter not wanting to disappoint Aunt May “after everything she’s been through,” and the movie shows more than it tells. As a longtime fan of Spider-Man on film, I definitely appreciated that.
I also think Spider-Man should have been kicked out of his prestigious science school after he went missing during the D.C. decathlon event. Show me that Mid Town High public education! Not only that, but this adds a whole other layer to the climax. So when Peter has to leave his Homecoming dance, and he leaves Liz on dance floor to stop her father (holy hell, what a twist) he’s also essentially giving up his last chance to spend time with his friends at this institution.
Furthermore, that adds even more conflict for the inevitable sequel. Ned and Peter tragically grow distant while Peter is forced to face off against Ned and Michelle at the next science fair or some shenanigans. Peter’s stakes are often just as interesting as Spider-Man’s, and they certainly should feel just as weighty.
There are moments when he gives up his social life in the movie and for a first film in the reboot, it’s about all we need. I just can’t help but wonder how much more I’d love it if this film had pushed it even further. It’s right there on the edge of pushing the gift/curse angle of Spidey.
I loved Homecoming. A lot. But I just don’t want them to pull their punches in regards to my favorite superhero. There’s this great mantra in storytelling about constantly pushing your characters so the audience can see who we really are. By pushing Peter Parker into the harsh reality of living by himself, there’s no better way to show us there’s nobody better to be given that power and responsibility.