Tom Holland’s “I don’t feel so good” moment in Avengers: Infinity War became indelible quickly. Stories have circulated endlessly about how the young actor improvised part of the dialogue, making the scene that much more impactful.
Watching Spider-Man fade to dust was painful enough, and seeing him be genuinely afraid made for one of the most wrenching scenes in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, fans say there was another moment in Spider-Man: Homecoming that doesn’t get talked up as much, but it’s just as worthy of discussion: The scene where Peter Parker got buried.
What is the burying scene?
The scene in question comes late in the film when Peter confronts the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton, a task already made difficult by the fact that the Vulture is the father of Liz, the girl Peter Parker dated before he hooked up with MJ, played by Zendaya.
Vulture flies around the building causing it to collapse on top of Spider-Man. Peter doesn’t just stoically take the hit — he’s crying because he’s buried under a ton of rubble.
“It’s the scene where you’re really hit with the realization that this is just a child in way over his head. The panic and fear in his voice is actually quite chilling how real it is,” the fan wrote on Reddit. “It’s one of the reasons I think Homecoming is such an important stepping stone in Peter’s journey, in becoming Spider-man and coming to terms with his own limits while always striving to rise above them.”
Another fan pointed out Holland pulls off a similar feat of acting in the second standalone movie, Far From Home, when Mysterio gets the better of him, and he’s haunted by an image of Iron Man rising out of his grave.
Not only do we get a variation of the burying theme, but we again are reminded that for all his skill and power, Peter Parker remains a vulnerable teenager.
The burying scene comes from the comics
It just so happens the burying scene was inspired by a moment from the comics, by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Spider-Man’s original creators. As Vox explains, the scene was an homage to Amazing Spider Man number 33, which came out in 1963.
The scene plays differently, partly because the villain involved is Doctor Octopus, and he’s been pinned by the rubble trying to get a serum that will save Aunt May’s life. But the emotional arc of the scene is basically the same, as Spider-Man fears he might be defeated for good.
He struggles mightily, with the dialogue “The weight is unbearable! Every muscle aches!” as he begins to black out.
This has been called “the greatest Spider-Man story ever told,” largely because the artwork is so effective. The reader feels Spider-Man’s struggle and pain, even though Spider-Man is wearing a mask and we can’t see any facial expressions. The movie does let us see Holland’s face, but in fans’ minds, it’s no less effective for that.
Tom Holland is the MCU’s goodwill ambassador
Holland is well-liked by fans not only for his acting skill, but for his general cheerfulness and unflappability. When the deal that allowed Sony and Disney to share the Spider-Man character fell apart last year, Holland promised fans that everything would be OK and that even if he went on with Sony, he and Sony would work to make the stores “even cooler.”
As it turned out, reports contended that Holland himself played a key role in smoothing over Sony and Disney’s ruffled feathers, so we’ll get at least one more standalone Spider-Man movie with Holland and maybe one movie with him on the Disney side. It’s enough to make fans forgive him for repeatedly spoiling the movies.