By and large, Spider-Man fans have embraced Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There always will be pockets of fans who prefer Tobey Maguire’s take, or the passionate group that adores Andrew Garfield. But Holland has earned the group’s trust, in general. If there’s one criticism leveled at Spider-Man in the MCU, it’s not something that Holland can control, but rather, about the people who are being put around Spider-Man on screen. And that point was just raised by Peter Ramsey.
Ramsey knows a thing or two about Spider-Man. He’s one of the co-directors of the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. And he raises an interesting concern that several fans have voiced on social media when he reacts to the casting of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the third MCU Spider-Man movie and notes:
That word, “mentor,” has dogged Spidey fans ever since the character came into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. Possibly the largest and most consistent complaint leveled at Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is that he’s more Iron Man Jr. than he is Spider-Man. He spends the bulk of Spider-Man: Homecoming in a Stark suit equipped with its own A.I. The storyline inserts Tony Stark into the MCU’s equivalent of the Uncle Ben role. And fans who grew up on the comics prefer (as Peter Ramsey notes) when Peter Parker has to struggle to figure things out on his own without the help of a high-powered mentor.
It almost looked like Peter (Tom Holland) was turning that corner at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. He had defeated Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and inched his way into Manhattan with a newfound confidence that he, alone, could defend that section of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Now, with Tony Stark gone, fans like Peter Ramsey hoped that Peter Parker would venture out on his own, hold down his own movies, and potentially fail in all of the ways that help make Spider-Man endearing. Giving him yet another “mentor” in his very next film is… disheartening. However, it’s unclear at this stage just how much of a role that Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) will play in the movie. There certainly were numerous time that the NYC-based heroes teamed up in the comics. And Strange made a cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, sending the Asgardian on a path to find his father Odin. So there are ways the heroes can work together without making Strange a full-on Spidey mentor.
Our guess, which we’ve gone on the record of sharing, is that Stephen Strange will be opening up the multiverse, which will create problems for all of the heroes in the MCU. The recent casting news that Jamie Foxx is playing Electro in the third Spider-Man suggests (to me) that Marvel is trying to create a bridge to Andrew Garfield’s Sony Spider-Man films. Anything is possible.
We’ll continue to track how involved Doctor Strange will play in the next Spider-Man movie, and continue to weigh in on whether or not Peter Ramsey’s widely shared opinion on Spider-Man’s need for a mentor as we get closer to the release date. While you wait, hit the comments below and tell us how you feel about this ongoing situation.