Spider-Man: Far From Home shows that Peter Parker is still stuck in Tony Stark's shadow, and that's something that needs to change moving into the MCU's Phase 4. While technically a Phase 3 film, Spider-Man: Far From Home is very much about the start of something new for the MCU; the film to show fans what happened after Thanos' snap (and, of course, Iron Man's snap with his own Infinity Gauntlet), as well as how the world has recovered from the blip.
Given that it's the first movie to tackle the death of multiple Avengers, it understandably needed to address the aftermath of the Infinity Saga in some way. So, the loss of Tony Stark is, unsurprisingly, a huge part of the film - not least because Stark has been a father figure to Peter since they first met. Plus, with Iron Man gone and so many heroes being off-world or focusing on other things, people around the world have wondered who the next Iron Man would be. That became a big part of the story in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
However, Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn't end quite the way that fans may have expected (with Peter stepping into his own as the new primary hero of the MCU), but with Spidey still very much in Stark's shadow... and this needs to change in Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man Far From Home Was About Peter Parker Becoming The New Iron Man
Obviously, Spider-Man: Far From Home was about Peter Parker being duped by, and then defeating, the villain Mysterio. But beyond the straightforward hero vs. villain story, this movie was really all about Peter struggling to fill Tony's rocket-powered shoes. Not only is he grieving, but he is trying to cope with the fact that Stark left him an incredible amount of resources, not least of which are his own glasses. Now upgraded with EDITH, Peter's very own AI helper, the gift of these glasses is a clear push for Peter to start becoming an Iron Man-level hero.
The only problem is that Peter absolutely does not believe that he is ready for this. He struggles with intense press scrutiny and questioning, with the idea of taking on Tony's legacy, and most of all, with the idea that Nick Fury (even Skrull Fury) would come to him with a global emergency. As he continually points out, he's just the neighborhood hero. Add on school trips and tributes to Iron Man surrounding him, it's easy to see why Peter feels like he is just a kid, someone who's perhaps not up to the task.
This is the perfect set-up for Spider-Man to rise to the occasion, though, and come into his own as a hero. In many ways, seeing this would even echo the original Iron Man movie, forcing someone to truly overcome adversity. Spider-Man: Far From Home may go a long way toward this; however, it falls short of lifting Peter out of Iron Man's shadow.
Peter Parker Is Still Relying On Tony Stark
In many ways, Peter is still having that argument with Tony about being nothing without his suit... except this time, it's that he is relying far too heavily on more than just one suit; he needs Stark's money, Stark's tech, and even Stark's staff to save him. Happy quite literally comes to his rescue more than once, and when Spidey loses a suit, he makes another using Stark Tech. Yes, this gives the film the space to really draw the audience's attention to just how similar Stark and Parker are (in appearance, when Peter puts on the glasses, and in the way they design suits, right down to how Parker moves his arm to build tech around it). However, it also does the comic book Spider-Man a disservice.
The original Peter Parker is a genius, someone who's known for his ingenuity. And while the MCU Peter Parker is certainly no fool, and was operating solo for months before meeting Iron Man, more needs to be made of his ability to invent things, not just piece together a suit from Stark technology. He is also an incredibly independent hero (as far as heroes go), and his relationship with Happy seems to be moving into an interesting new space - while having Happy around works in terms of dynamic, having Peter essentially inherit him is pushing him a little too hard to be the next Iron Man, and not the first Spider-Man.
What Spider-Man 3 Needs To Do To Create A Proper Spider-Man
Peter Parker may still be in high school (just), but it's time to take him out of school and away from the little-kid-needing-a-dad role that he has held in the MCU so far. Peter doesn't need to leave Tony entirely behind, of course, but he does need to step it up in terms of inventions, and simply in terms of being comfortable with his own abilities.
Speculation about the next Spider-Man is currently focusing on a Secret Invasion storyline (thanks to the end credits scene), but this is likely to be something for the next big team up, not a solo project for Spidey. Instead, fans are looking for Spider-Man 3 to potentially introduce the Sinister Six, which, along with Peter dealing with being outed, has the potential to see him really stepping into his own power. The Sinister Six would make for a phenomenal team of villains to really show Peter becoming a confident hero, and with multiple villains already introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home, this would be a fairly straightforward way to show that Spider-Man has become capable enough to tackle a whole team of bad guys. The Sinister Six would also push him to be constantly improvising, changing up his tactics, and generally being a bit more Spider-Man and a lot less Iron Man.
There's another major thing that Spider-Man 3 can do to differentiate between these two heroes, and it all comes down to the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scene reveal. So far, Peter has been trying to follow in Stark's footsteps wherever possible, but when it comes to secret identities, Peter isn't the type to announce his address to the press and challenge anyone to come after him. Iron Man may have loved to bask in the limelight, but Spider-Man's secret identity has always been a huge part of who he is. Presumably, Peter will spend at least part of Spider-Man 3 clearing his name somehow (hopefully not by making a deal with the devil), and not only will this be another major challenge to rise to, but it will be the first time that Peter has consciously chosen to do the opposite of what Tony would do. In terms of becoming less an Iron-Man-Lite, and more his own hero, this is massive - and could mean that the decision to out Spider-Man at the end of Far From Home isn't as crazy as it first looked.
Should Spider-Man 3 put Peter up alone against multiple hard-hitting villains, give him a chance to make his own tech and combine it with Stark's, and show him consciously going against what Tony would have done, it could be the perfect film to complete Peter's journey from kid-with-powers to full blown hero... and exactly the Spider-Man we need to lead the MCU.