With his identity exposed and his friends and family suffering the consequences, Peter Parker seeks the aid of Doctor Strange, who casts a spell designed to make everyone forget Peter is Spider-Man. But things go awry and instead, the spell summons everyone who knows Peter is Spider-Man from across the multi-verse. Major spoilers follow.
When I reviewed the first MCU Spider-Man film, I credited it with simplifying the origin story down to a single sentence. But Marvel was playing the long game. The trilogy has been one long origin story, culminating here and demonstrating why “with great power comes great responsibility” proves integral to the Spider-Man character.
In one film, they give a nice coda to the aborted Andrew Garfield series, revisit the best villains of the Tobey Maguire series, and transform the MCU Spider-Man into a hero with engaging emotional stakes.
And yet, it’s not till the end that we glimpse a true MCU Spider-Man. The prior MCU films had written him into a corner. His best friend, girlfriend, and guardian knew his secret identity. He had a billionaire benefactor. He was even an Avenger. A fun character, sure, but not Spider-Man. This movie rights the ship, but it ends where I want it to start, with a young man alone, struggling to live up to an impossible ideal.
Will we see more Peter Parker movies? Perhaps. But after eight films, maybe Peter’s done. Indeed, this film feels like a wipe-the-slate-clean send-off that clears the way for a Miles Morales Spider-Man. Or maybe Spider-Gwen.
That’s okay. Peter belongs to an older generation. Twenty-some years ago, I couldn’t wait for a Spider-Man movie. Today, my interest in the MCU fades. Everything ends. It was a good run.