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Our Spider-senses are still tingling after the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which delivered heaps of the awesome wall-crawling, quip-filled action that we’ve come to expect from our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. However, as much we’re looking forward to Homecoming’s release in July, a lot of fans are growing increasingly worried about the involvement of a certain ferrous fellow.
Although he's only set to appear in 5 or 6 scenes, Iron Man's presence will certainly be key to Spider-Man: Homecoming — and many fans aren't happy with that narrative direction. Some have become concerned that Spider-Man is going to be overshadowed by Iron Man in his own movie. In Homecoming, the armored Avenger is not only our hero’s role model, he’s also Spidey’s tech supplier and mentor. Some people have jokingly referred to Homecoming as Iron Man 4!
But should we be so quick to quibble about Tony Stark’s role in the film? Could Iron Man’s big part in Spider-Man: Homecoming actually be a good thing? Let’s take a look at all the positives.
1. We Need to See Their Beautiful Friendship from the Comics
As the comics have repeatedly shown, #SpiderMan and #IronMan get along very well. They are both intelligent, snarky guys with a passion for justice, science and technology, and they both tend to stick around the New York area. Indeed, Ultimate Iron Man and Spider-Man frequently nerded out together, and spent a whole issue bonding over their admiration of Stark's tech. Plus in the current Marvel comics Peter Parker has become the CEO of his own tech company and has Spider-Man as his bodyguard. Hmm, doesn't that sound familiar... copying an old friend's methodology, perhaps?
From Falcon and #CaptainAmerica to Doctor Strange and his Cloak of Levitation, the MCU has presented us with several brilliant friendships ripped straight from pages of our favorite comics. It would be madness to not translate this one to the silver screen as well!
2. It Makes Perfect Sense for Iron Man to Be There
This might be the first solo outing for #TomHolland’s iteration of Spider-Man, but we’ve obviously seen him before in Captain America: Civil War. Certainly, there was a great chemistry between Tom Holland and #RobertDowneyJr even in their short time together. But, according to Homecoming director Jon Watts, the way in which Civil War left things between them is a great place to start a fresh story:
“…[Tony] plucked this 15-year-old kid out of obscurity … to embark on this insane adventure. And then he just drops him off at the end of it while he continues his part of the story. There’s a lot of repercussions to that.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is so beloved by fans and envied by other studies because of its intelligently crafted interconnections. It would be non-sensical, and a waste of great cameraderie, if Tony Stark didn’t make an appearance after all of the great groundwork that #CivilWar laid.
3. Stark Sets This Spider-Man Apart
Iron Man’s role is to not only to set the record straight for cinema-goers, but also to ensure that the plot of Homecoming is fresh and unique. Andrew Garfield and the first Amazing Spider-Man film did pretty well where critics and audiences were concerned, but what was the main aspect that everyone scrutinized? It was the fact that the “untold story” that it promised to tell was actually pretty similar to 2002's Spider-Man.
Everyone knows Spider-Man’s origin as well as the basic premise of his character: he’s an ordinary and likable loner who juggles his day job, love life and education with his extraordinary adventures as a superhero. We’ve seen five movies of this, but we haven’t seen a Spider-Man solo movie with our protagonist working alongside other heroes before.
In short, Iron Man is in Homecoming to make sure that the reinvigorated Spider-Man franchise never becomes too similar to the wall-crawler's previous iterations.
4. Iron Man is on Hand to Help The Brand
Despite what the internet has led you to believe, there is a lot to love about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, even with its flaws. However, the corrosive hatred it received and a poor box office run meant meant that the wall-crawler’s reputation was tarnished and that Sony’s management were unsure about how to course-correct and proceed.
As we know, the unprecedented Marvel-Sony deal was borne from Sony’s floundering, and now Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man is here to save the day. How, I hear you ask? Well, say what you will about the failings of Iron Man 2 and 3, but almost a decade on from the game changing Iron Man, neither Downey Jr’s popularity nor his command of the box-office have faded. Neither has the Marvel Cinematic Universe's. You may not like some entries in the MCU, but since it's beginning in 2008 it hasn't suffered a flop or an outright critical disappointment. And that's important.
How better to ensure that everyone knows Spider-Man is now back on track and part of the widely beloved #MCU than to feature one of the world’s biggest celebrities, playing the character who spearheaded the entire franchise, in a starring role?
You might think this is overkill, but these simple gestures really do matter. I mean no disrespect when I use this as an example, but plenty of people will see the Homecoming trailer and wonder why Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield isn’t playing Spider-Man. And hey, why aren’t Superman or Batman members of the #Avengers again?
Therefore, Iron Man is on hand to help get the general public interested in the Spider-Man movies once more, and to put his star power to good use after Spidey's critical mauling in 2014. To paraphrase Ton Hanks’s cameo in The Simpson Movie:
“They’ve lost some of their credibility, so they’re borrowing some of mine.”
5. It’s the Beginning of Iron Man’s End
The Marvel Cinematic Universe obviously doesn’t begin and end with Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, but his character sure does cast a large shadow. As of #DoctorStrange, the MCU consists of fourteen movies; Stark has appeared in seven of them. Plus, he was heavily name-checked in three others.
Now, with #InfinityWar looming, the future of Iron Man in the MCU is unclear. By the time his last contracted movie rolls around in 2019, Downey Jr will have been playing the character for over a decade, and he may be looking to call it quits. Sure, he may renegotiate and continue to don the armor for years to come; however, as it is with Chris Evan’s tenure as Captain America, a question mark currently hangs over Downey Jr's future as Iron Man, as well as the MCU’s prospects without him.
Rumors are already abound that #BenedictCumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is being drafted to fill the gap left by Downey Jr’s Stark, but Homecoming may also be part of this easing into a less Stark-centric MCU. In this film Tony Stark is secondary to the main and inexperienced protagonist, rather than a leading figure as before.
Having his Iron Man mentor a new generation of heroes means that we get to see a symbolic "passing of the torch" for other Marvel characters to take his place.
6. Robert Downey Jr is Awesome!
Seriously, the man’s a generous guy, an all-round cinematic legend and hilarious to boot. Admit it, if you were making a movie and had the chance to put him in it, you know you would.
As we can see, there are plenty of reasons to have Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, whether its for marketing purposes or to help aid the story. But how do you feel about it? Would you rather Spider-Man have stood alone in his own movie? Or is there another hero you'd have preferred to see in Homecoming?