All the creatives and stars of Avengers: Endgame joined in a massive social media campaign asking everyone to be decent human beings and #DontSpoilTheEndgame…for two weeks until Marvel Studios used MASSIVE spoilers for Endgame in their trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. It was clear they were seeking to use all the emotions flowing in the wake of Endgame to motivate advanced ticket sales for Far From Home. Marvel Studios was very direct about how Spider-Man: Far From Home served as the epilogue to Avengers: Endgame. I enjoyed the film but was – and remain – frustrated by a plot point with seriously troubling implications.
Note, this has spoilers for both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home (obvs.).
Before I begin the analysis I want to reiterate that I really did enjoy Spider-Man: Far From Home. It was light and fun, with all the sweet and goofy moments you expect when the MCU’s on point. I felt it was the perfect come down after the heavy emotional hit of Avengers: Endgame. Also, I’ve ALWAYS loved the Americans-travelling-in-Europe trope for setting up comedic hijinks and the high-school-Europe-trip subset is particularly entertaining. With this great cast and all that awkward (in a good way) chemistry, this film had everything I was looking for after Endgame.
But the central plot point on which the film turns illustrates a troubling direction/mindset for the MCU. It also makes absolutely no sense within the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film opens with the world mourning the death of Tony Stark and the other Avengers who fell in the battle with Thanos and his Black Order. Thankfully the tone isn’t heavy and school’s out for summer! Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya), Betty Brant (Angourie Rice), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), and some of their classmates are off to Europe for a science trip under the supervision of Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) and Mr. Dell (J.B. Smoove). Things don’t go as planned and soon giant Elementals are threatening the world as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smoulders) are trying to pull Spider-Man into battle alongside the mysterious inter-dimensional traveler Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
But the question on which everything pivots is – Who is the next Iron Man? Who will follow in Tony Stark’s footsteps?
It is a question asked both in-universe and amongst MCU fans. With this first generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded, what will the next generation look like? What shape will it take? Who will form the core as the original Avengers – specifically Tony Stark’s Iron Man, Steve Roger’s Captain America, and the always criminally-underrated Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow – did? The answer the film offers, both in-universe and to fans, is Spider-Man. And everything about this is a problem.
Tony Stark and Nebula sat in the cockpit of the Guardians’ ship hours after The Snap. They were both stunned, unable to communicate even though they sat in the same room.
Nebula was the most affected by the events that transpired. She had lost her sister to Thanos just because she was willing to save her life in that interrogation chamber. Now half the universe was annihilated.
“Are we going to leave this planet or what?” Tony Stark asked, startling Nebula.
“Yea,” she responded. “I’ll help with the controls. I know you people from Earth aren’t familiar with Ravager ships.”
Stark looked at her. “I think I can figure it out. You could say I’m a…mechanic.”
“And I am a machine.”
Stark smirked. “Suit yourself,” he said, indicating the yokes and buttons before him.
She rose from her chair, reached him, then began clicking those same buttons. She gripped…
There are some things I like about this scene. I love that Peter Quill was one of the first to kneel, even though he didn’t even like Tony, because that’s the sort of person he is.
But. When I first heard about this scene it was in relation to Gamora, so I assumed that maybe it would be a scene abouther. Nope! She still warrants barely a thought in a story that should have been hers. We see her walking away while the other superheroes kneel and that’s something at least, confirmation she actually, y’know, wasn’t dead. (Because, you know, why would the cinematic version of the movie bother to confirm something like a major female character being alive at the end.) But once more Endgame proves that the only character it was really interested in is Tony, Tony, Tony. Gamora, the one who arguably actually kickstarted the whole Infinity Saga, will have to wait until Guardians 3. If that.
Sigh. I really resent Iron Man these days, in so many ways. Black Widow didn’t get a whole battlefield of people who didn’t know her kneeling to her.
So it’s been a few days now since Avengers: Endgame came out and I think I’m finally ready to put the Analysis Hat, and the Complaints Hat, and the Celebration Hat on. There were some things I loved and some things I loathed. Also since a lot of people haven’t seen it yet you have to click the ‘more’ button:
And I can’t find much written about Iron Man,
because it was ten years ago and all the articles about it have fallen
to the Internet void. But I think the movie makes itself pretty clear
that it’s largely about corporate responsibility.
PS I know the gifs look funny out of context. They do. I’m sorry