As much as it concerned me going in, Iron Man’s inclusion in Spider-Man: Homecoming makes thematic sense given the establishment of the MCU version of Peter Parker. He’s trying to fit in with the cool kids at school, it only makes sense for him to try and fit in with the cool kids of the superhero world (i.e, the Avengers). What he learns through the course of his journey is the physical size of his heroic endeavors don’t translate to their moral importance. Just because he’s helping old ladies walk across the street or stopping bank robberies doesn’t mean he’s not doing his part to make the world a better place. It’s okay for Spider-Man to get caught up in the epic crossover stuff, as all Marvel characters are wont to do, but his solo outings should always be based between the streets of New York. And if they’re insistent on having other heroes join the webhead on his path to becoming a better hero, then they should be operate in some similar fashion too.
Spider-Man, Ant-Man & the Wasp: Ant-Man ventured into the teeniest-tiniest corners of the MCU yet. Homecoming follows suit with the smaller scale stakes and battles. If there needed to be another crossover, these characters are almost perfectly made for one another. However, one of the big complaints for Ant-Man was the lack of focus on The Wasp, a woman superhero who is just as, if not more important, than whoever is currently occupying the Ant-Man suit. While it was frustrating to literally have a suit waiting in the wings for Hope Van Dyne, it’s good to know the two heroes will come as a package deal from now on. Maybe they’re on the hunt for a nationwide bank robber, someone who moves through walls like a ghost. Will O’ the Wisp comes to mind, with his density control proving to be a drastically different foil for someone who stops bank robberies on a daily basis.
In terms of what they could teach young Mr. Parker, the grounded civilian lives of their characters serve as a good reminder that their actions have consequences. Scott Lang is a fugitive from the government post-Civil War and before that he suffers from being a thief with a heart of gold; but a thief nonetheless. Hope had lost her connection to her father, Hank Pym, after he had become a mournful recluse. Bring back Michael Douglas as Hank and have him note how they’re making these guys [Spider-Man] younger everyday. There are ethical questions about the toll being a hero can have on a person. How it impacts their emotional state, their relationships, and their physical health can fundamentally change who they are. Here we’d see three generations of bug-inspired super heroes discussing what that means for them, and anybody else who comes after them. What they’ll come to realize thanks to Spider-Man, is that people are far more resilient than even a biochemist could ever understand.
Spider-Man & Hawkeye: One of the quieter aspects of Age of Ultron highlighted Clint Barton’s secret homelife, reminding the heroes and the audience this is what they’re fighting for. It’s not about ending the fight to go home, it’s about fighting for the home already by your side. Peter Parker’s journey as Spider-Man revolves entirely around that. He will always be Spider-Man, probably until the day he dies. It’s vital for him to remember the people already in his life as well as the ones he comes across on a daily basis swinging down the streets of New York. Depending on Hawkeye’s situation post-Infinity War, he seems like a safe bet to help remind the kid from Queens of that very aspect. Hell, he already serves as a quasi-mentor for Wanda Maximoff in Age of Ultron and Civil War. As for who the two come across, What Homecoming showed was any number of villains is okay depending on the story you need to tell. The Vulture’s gang of villains from Tinkerer to two Shocker’s? Awesome. It all correlates to the working class environment the film is set in. What better way to continue that than with the idea of Spider-Man going up against another gang, specifically the Sinister Six. In the post-credit scene of Homecoming, Mac Gargan in his pre-Scorpion attire is scarred from his encounter with Spidey and tells Adrian Toomes a couple guys are getting together to take down the web-head. With Phineas Mason being the only one from the previous gang to escape, maybe he could outfit them with a prison break and new high-tech weaponry. While Peter Parker has to look at what is important outside of his Spider-Man persona, the six criminals look to one another as all they have left is their vengeance on Spider-Man.
Spider-Man & Scarlet Witch: Scarlet Witch is the most powerful superhero in the MCU. She can alter the fabric of reality and even over-powered Vision by manipulating his infinity stone. She has unlimited power. That’s a whole lot of responsibility for the youngest Avenger (it’s debatable whether Spider-Man is an honorary one up to this point). In a world ravaged by the previous generation’s heroes, what does it mean to be young heroes in a world that may no longer want them? Even outside the context of the MCU, growing up and having tragic circumstances thrust upon them. Before she volunteered to Hydra’s superhuman testing, Wanda and Pietro were war refugees from Sokovia. While their backgrounds and powers are drastically different, there’s little doubt in my mind these two individuals could create one hell of a dynamic duo and kindred spirits in the ever-evolving MCU. And who knows, maybe Peter comes across a wacky Mysterio and Wanda can help expose his fraud magic with some of her own legitimate kind.
Spider-Man & Nobody Else: Seriously. No one should co-star in the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even putting Iron Man in Homecoming wasn’t necessary but at least they made it relevant to Peter’s journey of self-discovery and understanding his own heroic merits as juxtaposed to Tony Stark’s journey. It makes sense for him to be the one to tell Peter “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you don’t deserve to have it,” after all his trials and tribulations as the shell-head. The statement made at the end of Homecoming is that it’s time for Spidey to swing towards his own horizons. Especially with Avengers Tower being sold off, someone is going to have to look after the streets of New York (unrelated: Avengers Tower should totally be bought out by a new iteration of Oscorp). Let the world of Spider-Man and Peter Parker unfold of its own accord. There’s this great joke about puberty that nobody understands what you’re going through, even though everyone goes through it at one point or another. The joke for Peter Parker is that literally no one understands because nobody has gone through his ordeal before him. Don’t force someone down to tango with whatever new trouble the web-head gets himself into. His tests are more than physical confrontations with the villains who manifest in the streets of NYC. They push him to his moral limits, isolated and uncertain, determining who he will become not only as Spider-Man, but as Peter Parker. Here’s to hoping the Homecoming sequel lives up to that responsibility. They certainly have the power.
Featured Image: Sony Pictures Releasing