Spider-Man in the MCU: Has Marvel Ruined Tom Holland’s Character?

For a character that is quite literally the face of Marvel comics, Marvel Studios sure have a tough time with Spider-Man. Yes, their movies have been very successful, as almost all MCU movies are, but fan grumblings have grown louder in recent months.

One fan forum believes that not only is Spider-Man: Far From Home, really not that good, but that Tom Holland’s version of the character has become less interesting as he’s gone along – all while the third MCU Spider-Man movie is in the works.

Spider-Man has been a problem for the MCU

Tom Holland
Tom Holland | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Spider-Man has never had an easy road with movies or TV. Although he was created in the early 60s, a live action version of the character didn’t come along until the 70s, whether you’re talking about the cheesy TV shows starring Von Trapp child Nicholas Hammond or his brief appearances on The Electric Company on PBS. 

Even after superhero movies became more frequent in the 90s, it took a while for Spider-Man to show up, perhaps because visual effects technology hadn’t caught up with Spider-Man’s powers. Director James Cameron (The Terminator) took a crack at a script, but that never got out of development hell.

Then, Sony finally locked everything into place and came up with a mostly well-liked series of movies with Tobey Maguire in the 2000s. 

After that, Sony began to struggle with the franchise as it engaged in a reboot series starring Andrew Garfield that many fans thought was ill-advised. Finally, Sony and Disney got together and agreed to share the character, and fans have mostly loved the results, although that arrangement was imperiled last year when the studios couldn’t agree on terms.

It looked like Spider-man would have to leave the MCU, but the companies ultimately decided to extend their deal. However, not every fan is optimistic about the future. 

Why are some fans disappointed in Spider-Man?

People have been offering their unpopular opinions on whatever issue, thanks to a meme that’s circulating with Keanu Reeves with several guns aimed at his head. The meme asks, “What is the movie opinion you have that results in this?”

A Reddit thread starts off with “Far From Home is a forgettable MCU film. Then it goes on to take down the MCU Spidey a few more pegs.

“Spider-man was brilliantly portrayed and reimagined in the MCU in Civil War. Every appearance since then has removed all the qualities, landmarks and points that I find endearing and unique,” the fan said.

Another fan elaborated, “Especially agree about Spiderman. In Civil War Spiderman was a cheeky kid who was bold enough to rob Captain (America) of his shield. In his solo movies he looks bland.”

And another fan added, “Spider-Man: Far From Home was not a very memorable movie. I really thought it was bland and uninspired. I saw it once and I’ve never felt inclined to see it again. I can barely remember any major quotes from it. Not saying it was as bad as Amazing Spider-Man or Spider-Man 3, but it was a real letdown.”

What is the path forward for the web-slinger? 

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If that’s the way fans feel about Spider-Man, they may not like what Marvel has planned for Tom Holland’s third standalone movie. Reports suggest that the movie, due in late 2021, would team Spider-Man with Doctor Strange. It has been suggested that maybe the doctor could be a new mentor after the passing of Tony Stark. 

However, a number of fans thought the Tom Holland movies leaned too hard on the Iron Man relationship to the point where Spider-Man couldn’t stand on his own.

Some fans thought Dr. Strange, was basically the mystical Tony Stark — that is, an incorrigible smart-aleck forced to reevaluate his life after a near-death experience. No doubt some would feel Spidey and Strange would be Spidey and Iron Man take 2. 

Adding to the confusion is the concept of multiverses, which Far from Home introduced and which will be further explored in the Doctor Strange sequel, Multiverse of Madness. This has the potential to be really inventive or really confusing. Spider-Man 3 is due in December 2021, with Madness following only a few months later in March 2022.