The MCU is plagued with an issue of sameness. Many MCU movies noticeably adhere to "Marvel Formula" with just a few exceptions - the most notable being James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy films, with their inimitable style. By focusing on the adventures of 15 year old Peter Parker, Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming was able to present a pleasingly different kind of MCU movie - a superhero adventure by way of an irreverent John Hughes-style high school film - to huge acclaim and success. Not to mention, how else could we have gotten hilarious Captain America Fitness Challenge PSAs outside of high school?
Peter's high school also gave Marvel an organic way to showcase his wonderfully diverse supporting cast of classmates, reflecting what a modern day New York City high school actually looks like. The representation afforded by Zendaya's Michelle, Laura Harrier's Liz, Jason Batalon's Ned, Tony Revolori's Flash, and the rest of their classmates at the Midtown School of Science and Technology was incredibly meaningful to Spider-Man's global fanbase. People from all walks of life and of every ethnicity love the web-slinger and felt represented by a Spider-Man movie.
As Marvel Studios' plans clearly state, Spider-Man is not growing up any time soon, nor does he need to. Tom Holland's brash and funny Peter Parker, who is the youngest version of Spidey we've seen and is the youngest superhero in the MCU, is going to thankfully remain so for the next few years. The prior Spider-Man movies made it a point to graduate Peter Parker from high school as soon as possible, but Marvel smartly realizes there's no rush and is choosing instead to capitalize on all of the benefits of a young Spider-Man. Peter Parker's life in high school is prime territory to explore, and the trappings of his youth make him the most unique superhero in the MCU.
Spider-Man's teenage years are his best years. These are the years where his life is raw, reckless, and the most exhilarating. There are certainly a number of adult Spider-Man stories that would be the basis of great movies one day. In the MCU however, a grown up Spider-Man would make him just another Avenger, as opposed to the key to both the super team and the franchise's future. One day Tom Holland's Peter Parker will grow up, but for now, let's enjoy our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man as he learns to enjoy his teenage years.
Do you enjoy Peter Parker more as a high school student or do you want to see the adult Spider-Man's cinematic adventures? Sound off in the comments!
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019