I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a bad habit of switching over to Marvel movies as I scroll through my Directv guide. No matter the movie or the amount of time that has lapsed since it started, I have to turn it on to see what’s going on. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the little details I pick up on or the lines that foreshadow future MCU moments or memories. Even the less popular MCU movies serve a purpose, and that is what I truly love about this company.
Well, I turned on Captain America: Civil War last night, and I tuned in just as Tony Stark decides to make a visit to Peter Parker. Civil War is one of my top three MCU films, and after watching that iconic fight scene shortly after their first meeting, I think I could make a case for the film being the most crucial to the first three phases. The writing for Civil War is spectacular, and the narrative the film depicts sets up that powerful reunion at the end of Endgame. Masterful. Regardless, Tom Holland and Robert Downey, Jr. had a real connection on screen, and I think the build between these two characters the Marvel writers have created up to Far from Home is going to make this upcoming film one to remember. As the film will close out the ever-so-thrilling Phase Three, the future of the MCU and the tone it will convey should be established at the conclusion of Far from Home. Therefore, here are three questions I believe need to be answered for a smooth transition into Marvel’s cinematic future.
What has happened in the world during the five year time jump?
Personally, I am not a fan of the whole time jump strategy in any type of film or television series. I think such jump is often lazy and unjust. However, it could work in the MCU IF it is addressed thoroughly in Far from Home. As with most films and series that implement the jump, the time that has lapsed is often disregarded or simply referenced. Well, such strategies just won’t cut it in the MCU. There is simply too many variables we have to consider in order for Phase Three to come to a strong close. For example, why is it that most of Peter’s friends haven’t aged? I find it hard to believe that all of his relevant classmates floated away with the snap. Or, who ran S.H.I.E.L.D. while Fury was away? Heck, why did we not see Fury fighting at Avengers headquarters against the Black Order and its army? What happened to Wakanda without T’Challa or Shuri? Does S.H.I.E.L.D. now have the global authority Fury always wanted, and if so, does that include Wakanda? See, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before Phase Four begins. I don’t expect Far from Home to address all of the possible questions left by Endgame, nor should it; however, some of the plot points need to be concluded to usher in the future. The last thing I want is for old storylines to slow down new ones, and as many fans are still emotionally affected by Endgame, those answers would have more of an effect on audiences now rather than later.
Next, will Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. recreate a new Avengers initiative?
Our core group of Avengers is no more, and Fury’s dialogue in the trailer appears to hint at a new beginning. Being that Fury keeps reaching out to Peter, I can’t help but believe that Spider-Man will now be the face of the new Avengers. I think this decision really works, and the youthful approach could bring some much needed continuity at the beginning of a new Phase. The main reason why Phase Three was so popular is that fans felt connected with its core group of heroes. That connection was built around Robert Downey, Jr. and Tony Stark’s charisma and personality. Peter Parker is no Tony Stark, but I would argue the casting of Holland was met with just as much excitement as the casting of RDJ. Therefore, a similar build up of Spider-Man to Iron Man could work due to the trust and recognition fans have granted to Holland. When other actors were announced, there always seemed to be some hesitation or “prove it” mindset with the majority of fans. When Tom Holland was announced, many fans seem to let out a collective “finally” in regard to casting Peter Parker correctly. Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to build that Iron Man-esque connection with MCU fans. I really don’t see any other hero taking on that role for the long haul, so it will be interesting to see if Marvel brings the same longevity feel to Far from Home that it did to the first Iron Man. Also, much like how Iron Man established the MCU with Fury’s Avenger post-credit scene, Far from Home has the potential to make another game-changing moment happen with a variety of characters like the newly acquired Fantastic Four or already hinted at ones like Adam Warlock. Regardless, this film needs to tell us if the Avengers initiative will continue or crumble for future films.
Is Tony Stark truly gone?
As noted above, Robert Downey, Jr. is Marvel, and I think it will be really difficult for Phase Four to be financially successful without the likes of him, at least long term. Fans seem to just gravitate toward Tony Stark, and such claim was solidified at the culmination of Endgame. Just think about how many people cried with Stark’s last words. I have never been in a theater environment like the one that took place during Endgame. There were points during the film where I could hear the audience take collective breathes, and there were other times when the floor shook from the blusterous applause and cheering/chanting. Aside from the whole Cap is worthy scene, Tony’s final “I. Am. Iron Man.” line brought down the house. Everyone knows that, and I know Kevin Feige and company know that. Therefore, how could the writers and produces not want to include RDJ in future films, especially since he is rather vocal about his love for the company and his willingness to continue his role within it? There is a fine line with such decision, though. First, if you want to usher in a new era, you can’t rely too heavily on the past. If Tony Stark were to be in future films, it would have to be in the mentor-like role he has with Riri Williams in the Ironheart line. I fully believed Tony Stark would not “die” at the end of Endgame, and I thought the major backing for such claim would revolve around Tony’s knowledge of technology. If you’ve read some of my past articles about the MCU future or Iron Man, you know I love the whole Tony Stark as A.I./J.A.R.V.I.S. lines, and I think fans would be very receptive to such direction. Could you imagine the eruption in the theater if Peter hears Tony’s voice during a post-credit scene? Exactly. If that were to happen, the film would not only resemble Fury’s entrance into the MCU at the end of Iron Man, but it would definitely set up Phase Four in a magical way.
You can catch Spider-Man: Far from Home in theaters starting July 1st. Tickets are on sale now!
Jon Maus is a high school English Language Arts teacher and an all-around pop culture enthusiast. He has a B.S. and a M.E. in English. Some of his favorite fandoms include The Walking Dead, Marvel, Disney, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.