What's missing in Spider-Man: Far from Home

The original Avengers movies tapped into the zeitgeist. The new Spider-Man only taps into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Spider-Man.
(Image credit: Jay Maidment/Sony Pictures)

Like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, the new Spider-Man movie is all about the franchise's own struggles of identity. Thanos' plan was to use the five Infinity Macguffins to cull half the universe's population, a kind of Malthusian redemption for a character "driven mad" by the loss of his home world: having watched his civilization collapse from overpopulation, he set forth to wreak his solution onto everyone and everywhere else. But his villain arc was always, also, legible as the Marvel Cinematic Universe struggling to deal with a serious surplus of heroes. As each new movie introduces one or more new super-powered heroes — as Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Black Panther, and Spider-Man joined an already packed roster — there were simply too many stars to make a legible constellation (especially with more on the way). Some of the originals had to go, so they did: Thanos' plan was defeated, but the franchise's overpopulation was solved by culling Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Vision from the herd (and allowing Thor and the Hulk to recede into supporting roles). In this way, balance was restored, and we watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.

Spider-Man: Far from Home, then, is all about the space which their absence has opened up, and the question of what will fill it.

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