A Stark-Powered Spider-Man Makes Peter Parker Less Relatable

Spider-Man has been a huge hit in the MCU thus far, but does having access to Tony Stark's wealth and resources make Peter less relatable?

Tom-Holland-as-Spider-Man and Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark Iron Man

A Tony Stark-powered Peter Parker makes for a less relatable superhero in Spider-Man: Far From Home. By any measure, Spider-Man's time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a resounding success, with Tom Holland breathing life back into a character that Sony somewhat fumbled with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. From Peter Parker's surprise debut in the Captain America: Civil War trailer, to his tear-jerking farewell scene following Thanos' snap, Marvel Studios' Spider-Man has introduced a shot of youthful levity into the MCU, punctuated with genuinely heartfelt moments of personal drama.

Tom Holland's Spidey has also been largely faithful to the Marvel comic books. Peter is an insecure, geeky, incredibly bright teenager who turns into a free-quipping superhero when school hours are over. There are no James Cameron-style webs coming directly from Holland's wrists and the character has shed the petulant arrogance that too often came to the fore in the Andrew Garfield incarnation. The MCU Spider-Man has, however, made one very significant deviation from the comic books: replacing Uncle Ben with Tony Stark.

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The wisdom is this decision is clear - avoid a repeat of Spider-Man's origin story and immediately tie him into established canon. For the most part, Uncle Iron Man has greatly benefited Tom Holland's superhero, replacing a tired father-son dynamic with a pairing that has provided the franchise with some of its most emotive scenes and giving Peter Parker a "fish out of water" quality when brushing shoulders with the other Avengers. However, being bankrolled by Tony Stark has arguably taken away what made the original comic book Spider-Man the most relatable superhero of his time.


Comic book legend, the late Stan Lee, has stated previously that the prime motivation behind Spider-Man's creation was to offer a superhero that readers could relate to; a character that wasn't a bulletproof alien, a mythical god or a playboy billionaire. This desire inspired Spider-Man's high school setting, his social woes and his friendly, neighborhood approach to fighting crime and instantly helped Peter Parker stand out among the myriad of other superheroes Marvel and DC were debuting during the Silver Age of comics. It's also no coincidence that the character became an instant hit with readers.

The current big screen version of Spider-Man still ticks many of those "just a regular guy" boxes, but his reliance on tech created by Tony Stark does take away the familiar homemade aesthetic that has previously been synonymous with the character. Via flashbacks and hallucinations, the audience has seen Peter Parker's early days as a self-made hero, and Spider-Man: Homecoming saw the youngster having to earn the right to his flashy Stark-made suit, but for much of Spidey's time in the MCU, he has relied on Stark tech and this is especially apparent in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

This deviation from the comics takes Peter away from his roots as a relatable, regular guy sewing his own suit and using pure ingenuity to augment his superpowers, and gives the character privileges more in line with the other Avengers. Having access to Tony Stark's vast wealth and resources also means that the MCU doesn't make full use of Peter's own genius and nowhere is this more apparent than in Spider-Man: Far From Home's suit-building scene. Preparing for the film's climactic battle, Peter sets about assembling a brand new picking components from a Stark-made uber-futuristic 3D printer. The sequence makes it clear that Peter has a keen engineering mind, but he's only assembling the tools and components already laid out by Iron Man.

Stan Lee's original intention with Spider-Man was to deliver a superhero that reflected readers' own lives and Tom Holland's version of the character certainly achieves this more than anyone else on the Avengers roster (unless you too have spent 70 years frozen in the Arctic). However, Spider-Man's comic book origins give readers the chance to dream that they too could become a superhero. By powering Peter through Tony Stark, Spider-Man: Far From Home sends a very different message - that anyone can become a superhero, but they'll need a ton of money and a pile of high-end tech to be taken seriously.

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