WARNING: This post contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man: Homecoming ended things with a humorous, yet tantalizing, scene, and now Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige explains why the creative team went in that direction. One of the defining traits of the character is the double-life Peter Parker attempts to pull off, constantly looking for balance in his personal and superhero responsibilities. Because of this, he keeps his crime-fighting a secret from those closest to him, including his beloved Aunt May. This makes Peter’s existence difficult at times, but he feels it’s the right thing to do so his friends and family remain safe and aren’t worried. With all May’s been through (presumably losing her husband Ben at some point), the last thing she needs is to be stressed about her super-powered nephew swinging through the streets of New York at night.
For most of its running time, Homecoming stuck to this quite well (with a few exceptions), but the closing moments before the credits turned the formula on its head. Returning home, Peter is delighted to see his high-tech suit returned to be his again, and he puts it back on under the assumption he’s home alone. As he takes off the mask, Aunt May is revealed to be standing in Peter’s doorway, letting loose an expletive to the surprise of Spider-Man. Despite Peter’s best efforts, May now knows what her nephew is really up to all the time – and it presents an exciting future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Feige discussed the twist and why he felt it was the best way to go, commenting that it places the Spider-Man movies in a new position:
“J. Michael Straczynski did an issue when he was doing his run of Spidey many years ago where she discovered the secret. I think it was in the laundry or something, and they had a sit-down scene. And probably going back to Spider-Man 2, I would sort of carry that issue around and go, ‘We should do this someday, we should do this someday.’ And it was great luck that it hadn’t been done yet. That was always part of the plan.
And very much like our instinct to say, ‘Let’s have Tony Stark say “I’m Iron Man” at the end. Well, what does that mean for the next movie? I don’t know, but it will force us to do something unique. We did not want to do the secret identity thing at that point in the MCU. And now, same thing. The dynamic now is forced to be something fresh and something unique going forward.”
Since there were two big screen Spider-Men before Tom Holland, Marvel and Sony worked hard to differentiate this take from the others. That was clearly evident by the high school setting and ability to crossover with the Avengers, but the filmmakers are also changing long-established character dynamics. This is arguably a smart decision, as it allows Homecoming sequels to tread ground that hasn’t been seen in the movies before. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 implied May knew who Peter really was (see: the “hero in all of us” speech), but it’s never been completely out in the open like this until now. Based on the laughs May’s reaction got from audiences, it’s safe to say many fans are onboard with this decision.
Marisa Tomei is one of those who likes it, telling CinemaBlend that it “takes a big burden off the character.” It will be interesting to see the fallout from this and how it impacts May and Peter’s relationship. Since May is not slated to return in Avengers: Infinity War, moviegoers will have to wait until at least the Homecoming sequel to watch it all unfold, and hopefully their first conversation will be seen on-screen.
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