Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has finally come home. Yes, ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ has swung into cinemas at last, and it’s without a doubt the wall-crawling hero’s best big screen outing since 2004’s ‘Spider-Man 2.’ (Assuming we don’t count those scenes he stole in ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ that is.)
Of course, with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man now established as a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Homecoming’ – whilst being a hugely satisfying film in its own right – also drops a great many hints about how this new pocket of the MCU might develop in future films, and what it may mean for the MCU overall.
Not only that, but it may give us some ideas about what Sony’s planned series of ‘Spider-Man’ spin-offs might have in store for us as well.
Naturally, discussing this means there will be MAJOR SPOILERS for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ ahead, including discussion of its two post-credits scenes – so we’d advise readers to come back and read this after you’ve seen the movie, unless you’re happy to not go in blind.
You’ve been warned…
The not-so secret identity
While all in all Tom Holland’s Spider-Man probably isn’t seen unmasked by anywhere near as many people as the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield incarnations were, ‘Homecoming’ does see a number of key characters learn Peter Parker’s big secret.
The first of these, as revealed from the trailers, is Peter’s best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon. The addition of this new character was a smart move, as it gives Peter someone his own age with whom he can talk about his superheroics, beyond Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark and Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan.
We might note that Ned takes his name from a rather different character from the comics, Ned Leeds, who wound up becoming the Hobgoblin – but there’s very little about Batalon’s endearing performance that suggests future super-villain.
Then, in a nice climactic twist, ‘Homecoming’ boldly goes where no Spider-Man movie has gone before, with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) catching Peter red-handed – well, red everwhere’d, really – in his Spidey suit.
This seems sure to present another interesting twist on the new Peter/May relationship in future ‘Spider-Man’ movies, their dynamic already being very different from what went before thanks to the comparative youth of both Tomei and Holland.
Of course, there’s one other key character who learns Peter Parker is Spider-Man: Adrian ‘Vulture’ Toomes, who – in a Green Goblin-esque twist – is also revealed to be the father of Peter’s potential love interest Liz (Laura Harrier).
Toomes’ knowledge of Spider-Man’s true identity looks likely to come up again further down the line – however, before we consider that, let’s put the focus back on potential love interests…
“My friends call me MJ”
If there’s one moment that seems likely to irritate the hardcore Spider-Man fanbase, it’s the late reveal that Zendaya’s Michelle – a largely under-emphasised supporting character throughout, notable mainly for always giving Peter a hard time – likes to be called ‘MJ.’ While the initials here stand for Michelle Jones rather than Mary Jane, this clearly marks her out as a new take on the same character, and as such suggests that she and Peter may become romantically entangled down the line.
Some will no doubt feel annoyed by this as, from the moment Zendaya’s casting was announced, it was strongly rumoured that her character was the new Mary Jane, and those involved with the film flagrantly denied that this was the case.
As much as fans appreciate surprises, they tend not to take kindly to subterfuge: witness the outpouring of rage when, after similar denials throughout production, Benedict Cumberbatch was revealed to be Kahn in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ and Christoph Waltz turned out to be classic Bond villain Blofeld in ‘Spectre.’
Still, all in all this ‘MJ’ reveal is of less real consequence, more of a humorous aside, closer to when Joseph Gordon-Levitt revealed his name to be Robin at the end of ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ Even so, it would seem to more or less guarantee that Zendaya will be back.
(And of course, there are also those who will complain because Zendaya does not correlate ethnically with the traditional comic book MJ – but we don’t really care what those people think.)
Nor is Zendaya’s MJ the only character likely to return. The first of the now-obligatory post-credits tag scenes gives a clear indication of some other characters we may see again…
Post-credits scene 1 explained
As ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ ends with Michael Keaton’s Vulture apprehended and locked away awaiting trial, the first tag scene sees a prison floor encounter between Vulture and one of the criminals from the Staten Island Ferry sequence, Michael Mando’s Mac Gargan – who sports a rather eye-catching scorpion tattoo.
That’s right, Gargan is classic Spider-Man adversary The Scorpion – and with his mention of a number of other guys wanting revenge on the Wall-Crawler, this scene would seem to be hinting at the formation of the anti-Spidey super-villain team, the Sinister Six.
‘Sinister Six,’ as Spider-fans may recall, was initially planned by Sony as a spin-off movie to come after 2014’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ When that particular incarnation of Spidey was canned and Sony and Marvel made their groundbreaking deal to share the character, it had initially been thought that ‘Sinister Six’ had bitten the dust along with it.
However, as Sony now have Spider-verse movies ‘Venom’ and ‘Silver and Black’ in the works, it seems ‘Sinister Six’ is back on the table – and it’s feasible (though by no means definite) that we’ve already met three of their number in Keaton’s Vulture, Gargan’s Scorpion and Bokeem Woodbine’s Shocker.
(If you’re fuzzy on the details of the Marvel/Sony ‘Spider-Man’ deal, here’s all we know about it.)
But that’s just the first ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ post-credits scene. What earth-shattering new information can be gauged from the additional scene that comes right at the very end…?
Post credits-scene 2 explained
Well, okay, ‘explained’ is not really the word to use here. Much like the shawarma scene of ‘Avengers Assemble,’ and the brief cameo of Mark Ruffalo’s sleepy Bruce Banner at the end of ‘Iron Man 3,’ the final post-credits moment in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is just a bit of a goofy gag, having some fun with the increasing number of viewers who now stay in their seats all the way to the end just in case they miss anything important.
As ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ features Chris Evans’ Captain America in a number of cheesy educational videos shown at Peter Parker’s school, the film ends with Cap appearing yet again, to discuss the values of patience; how sometimes it pays off, and other times it doesn’t.
Kind of a punky note to go out on, but that’s appropriate enough for a film whose end credits play out to The Ramones.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is in cinemas now.