Spider-Man Losing His Secret Identity Is Actually a Big Problem

Spider-Man: Far From Home’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe end credits scene created the ultimate problem for Spider-Man: Being framed for murder was one thing. It was arguably even worse that the world learned he was a kid named Peter Parker. 

The revelation of a secret identity is one of the oldest tricks in the comic book collection of stories — back the hero against the wall by telling the whole world who he or she really is. In the MCU, however, that’s actually a bit of an anomaly — most heroes don’t have secret identities at all.

Spider-Man is an outlier According to some fans, maybe he shouldn’t be. 

What happened in ‘Far From Home?’ 

Tom Holland on the red carpet
Tom Holland | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

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Fans will recall that at the end of the second Sony/MCU movie, Spider-Man went swinging with MJ. She had already figured out his identity, much to his chagrin, but by the end of the movie he was OK with it. They trusted each other.

No sooner had Peter dropped MJ off than the charter member of the Spider-Man haters club, news magnate J Jonah Jameson, broadcasted Spider-Man’s secret identity around the world. And on top of that, he declared that Spider-Man had killed Mysterio, whom most of the world believed was a hero. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but even though Spider-Man was wearing his mask, he was almost at a total loss for words. If Peter were to run his mouth like Nick Fury, he would probably utter a compound word — the same one Fury almost spoke when he got dusted by the snap. 

Peter looked utterly lost at the end of that scene, but some fans had mixed feelings about it. 

What do fans say about Spider-Man’s secret identity?

On Reddit, Marvel fans answered the question, “What are some things that you absolutely cannot stand about Marvel movies?”. One fan answered, “The constant on/off nano-tech masks — superheroes have secret identities to prevent blowback in their “normal” lives, but in the MCU it’s given no kinda weight… the on/off nano tech in general also irks me.” 

Another fan remarked, “I’m so glad that the MCU mostly abandoned secret identities, First, it doesn’t fit the world we live in. Of course superheroes would be publicly known and in some cases celebrities. And with Stark’s or SHIELD’s funding, who wants to waste the time holding down a day job? Also, there’s really only one secret identity story to tell and retell over and over.” 

The fan has a point: Spider-Man is pretty much the only hero who has a secret identity. None of the core avengers do. In this regard, Iron Man is probably most famous for announcing who he was from the get-go. Bruce Banner seems to have given up on concealing that he’s the Hulk. Who needs a secret identity when you’re the god of Thunder? However, Spider-Man is far from being a god, a billionaire or a scientist with scary anger issues. 

One of these heroes is not like the others

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Here’s the key difference with Spider-Man: He’s still a teenager. Although some fans like to joke that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield looked too old to be a high school student, Tom Holland fits the bill since he’s only 23. Strong and confident as he is when he’s Spider-Man, Peter Parker is gawky and awkward in almost every other respect. That only makes the revelation of his identity harder to bear. 

The key reason superheroes had secret identities was to protect their loved ones. As Superman’s father warned him in his first movie, the easiest way for a villain to undermine a hero is to strike out at those he loves. Honestly, who wants to see Aunt May in peril, especially when she’s played by Marisa Tomei?  (She would give some villains a run for their money.)

We’ll find out what happens when Spider-Man: Home-something hits theaters in November 2021.