Warning: SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home are in play. If you haven’t caught up with the film just yet and want to remain fresh, bookmark this story and head back once you’ve seen it.
Typically in the story of Peter Parker’s origins as Spider-Man, the most important figure on his journey is his Uncle Ben; who still totally exists in this universe. However, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the lessons of power and responsibility are processed through the relationship between Tom Holland’s Peter and Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. From Captain America: Civil War to Spider-Man: Far From Home, we see Peter learn the ways of the superhero and eventually become an Avenger.
Now, with the arc of Peter and Tony’s relationship completed in the MCU, it’s a good time to look at just how that story played out. Specifically, we’ll be taking a special interest in how that relationship looks in the wake of Avengers: Endgame's momentous events
If you’re not current on the last two films in the MCU, or at the very least Spider-Man: Far From Home, you may want to think twice before moving past this point. For everyone else though, let’s crawl into the web of Peter Parker and Tony Stark’s relationship in the Marvel Studios canon.
Spider-Man And Iron Man’s Relationship
In the MCU, we’re first introduced to Spider-Man through Tony Stark recruiting him in Captain America: Civil War. As Tony’s aware of the Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawler and his street level heroics, he sees Peter as a valuable asset in the conflict pertaining to the controversial Sokovia Accords and Bucky Barnes' capture.
That relationship developed into something stronger and more advisory when Spider-Man: Homecoming decided to include Iron Man/Tony Stark in its story of Peter Parker trying to be a normal teenager, while balancing his fledgling career as a superhero.
With a keener focus on his mentee’s development, and the tech upgrades he provided to Peter, Tony starts to not only become more concerned with Peter Parker’s future, he also begins learning how to become somewhat of a parental figure to Peter as well.
Naturally, the two butt heads throughout this phase, as Peter thinks he’s ready to take the training wheels off and Tony wants to make sure they’re firmly on. By the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming and during Avengers: Infinity War, Tony has a newfound respect and confidence in Peter’s abilities, and offers him a shot at the big time.
At this point in his journey, this is the perfect note for Peter Parker to walk off on. However, when Spider-Man: Far From Home comes into play, this provides a rather interesting note of contrast to how Peter eventually feels about his superhero life.
How Avengers: Infinity War Set Up Avengers: Endgame
With a gigantic two-part narrative in the middle of their arc, Avengers: Infinity War was the first important step in pushing Tony Stark and Peter Parker’s mentor/mentee relationship into the right place to really take off.
Despite rejecting an offer to become a full-fledged Avenger, Peter still answers the call when Thanos’ cronies invade Earth in search of the Infinity Stones.
At this point, Spider-Man and Iron Man have basically worked out the kinks in their relationship, but Peter’s still pretty excitable. Which is why, despite Tony’s warning for him to return home, Peter Parker tags along with Tony Stark to rescue Doctor Strange in the prelude to Avengers: Endgame.
This comes at a cost though, as while Peter proves he’s a true blue hero as Spider-Man, there was nothing he could do to prevent himself from being snapped/blipped from existence. That would tee up the final phases of their arc together as heroes and influence how Peter feels about being Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
How Avengers: Endgame Changed Everything
After witnessing Peter Parker’s “demise” through the repercussions of Thanos’ actions, Tony Stark is stranded with Karen Gillan’s Nebula in the depths of space at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame. This leaves him in a similar situation to the one he was in at the beginning of his Iron Man journey: confined by circumstances, with plenty of time to think back on the past and eventually develop a way to escape.
This time though, Tony went home and eventually had a family of his own with Pepper Potts. Content with no longer being the hero, after a time of great loss, the former billionaire genius playboy philanthropist became a stay at home dad, taking care of his daughter Morgan.
It only lasted for so long though, as through his mentoring relationship with Peter Parker, Tony formed a connection that not only allowed him to become a father in the first place, it ultimately won him over to helping the surviving Avengers travel through time to undo the devastating effects of The Decimation.
If it wasn’t for his relationship with Peter Parker, Tony Stark may not have taken the journey that Avengers: Endgame led him into. Ultimately, he might have still lived and had his life with Pepper and Morgan the way he wanted it to be. But Tony taught Peter too well, and ultimately those lessons stuck with him.
Tony Stark sacrificed his life for the sake of the universe when he harnessed the power of the Infinity Stones in his own iron Infinity Gauntlet. In turn, Peter Parker would soon find himself occupying the same sort of headspace that Tony himself was in with Avengers: Endgame, as he’s not so sure about being an Avenger in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Spider-Man: Far From Home And The Death Of Tony Stark
Tony Stark, the hero triumphant of the MCU, is dead when Spider-Man: Far From Home starts. Peter Parker now sees how Tony felt when he got dusted in Avengers: Infinity War, as he’s questioning whether or not he still wants this superhero gig.
It’s especially obvious when Peter starts having deeper feelings for Zendaya’s MJ, as he plans to confess his feelings to her during their summer trip in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and even talks about how he’d rather have her than the Spider-Man mantle. No matter where he goes though, there’s always an image of Tony Stark/Iron Man waiting for Peter, preventing him from even remotely avoiding the loss he’s suffered and the responsibility sitting in its place.
Much like Tony’s long dark hour of the soul in Avengers: Endgame, Peter’s experienced a loss so gigantic he’s still grieving over it eight months after the events that lead to Spider-Man: Far From Home took place. Just as Peter’s disappearance reminded Tony of his duties as a hero, the journey that Spider-Man takes in his latest adventure reminds him of what he has to do in order to live up to his mentor’s legacy.
Just as Talos, disguised as Nick Fury, tells him during the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the world is looking for the next Tony Stark. Whether he takes that as the call for a new technological genius to try and solve the world’s problems, or a mastermind to help corral the Avengers back into fighting form, there are new responsibilities that Peter has to live up to now.
Bringing the entire MCU into one huge circle of closure, the next arc of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is perched on the tip of a hero’s journey into their own identity. Spider-Man: Far From Home has now made Peter Parker’s double life as Spider-Man an open secret, and much like Tony Stark before him, he’ll have to navigate the threats and fandom that come with being outed as an Avenger.
It’s going to be a hard road to walk, especially with the world now knowing that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are one in the same. Oddly enough, that’s exactly the sort of situation Tony Stark found himself in when he revealed to the world that he was, indeed, Iron Man. Despite his sometimes impulsive nature, Peter has shown in the past that he’s learned well from Tony’s example; which only suggests that it won’t be long before our web-slinging hero learns how to handle this upcoming round of peril.
Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home are both currently running in theaters. Those in need of something new at the movies are advised to check out our 2019 release schedule, in the hopes of discovering new cinematic excitement.