It's kind of hard to believe, but Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming marks the 16th feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The major comic book franchise has come a long way since Tony Stark built an arc reactor in a cave with a bunch of scraps, and while there are plenty of hardcore fans who hang on every detail, there are many who find themselves lost in the constantly expanding continuity. It's those latter individuals who we hope to help with this feature.

Below and on the next few pages we've put together this guide explaining absolutely everything you need to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe before buying your ticket for Spider-Man: Homecoming. It's completely SPOILER-FREE, so don't worry on that front, and prepare for an in-depth analysis of some of the most important people and events to learn about prior to seeing the latest Marvel blockbuster.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man

We haven't seen the specific origin of Tom Holland's Spider-Man play out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his small part in Captain America: Civil War did clue us in to what he's all about. Like most Peter Parkers before him, this one lives in Queens, New York with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and uses both powers courtesy of a radioactive spider bite and his own creative ingenuity to stop street level crime in the city. He's also by far the youngest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he's only a sophomore in high school.

Peter started suiting up in a homemade costume and practicing "with great power comes great responsibility" shortly after the death of his Uncle Ben, but his hero game gets taken up a few notches when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) takes him in as part of the Stark Internship Program (which winds up suiting as a nice cover story for Peter to tell Aunt May and his friends in Spider-Man: Homecoming). Thanks to his participation in the Leipzig-Halle Airport battle against Captain America, he has a fancy Stark-designed Spider-Man suit to work with -- and as you'll see in the new solo film, it provides him with an impressive number of cool tricks kept up his sleeve.

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