The 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' trailer is Marvel admitting that what happens in its movies doesn't matter
Avengers: Infinity War was the highest grossing movie of last year, but it wasn’t only adept at generating box office numbers — along with A Star Is Born, it led the year in memes. The Thanos snapping memes were decent, but my personal favorites came from the moment where we discover Peter Parker’s fate.
The scale of the casualties at the end of Infinity War made it seem likely that many of these characters wouldn’t be gone for long, but Peter Parker’s supposed death was the one that managed to make an emotional impact. It was the perfect combination of heartfelt and ridiculous, and produced gems like this:
Part of the reason people were able to make light of the death scene was Marvel’s upcoming release schedule: just after the release of Avengers: Endgame this April, Spider-Man: Far From Home was slated for this July. There was no doubt that Spider-Man would be back. Still, it was a bit jarring to see Mr. Parker alive and well when the trailer for Far From Home dropped this week.
The ‘teaser’ trailer, which stands at just under three minutes (will the actual trailer last longer than that???), makes no mention of Parker’s fate in Infinity War. Instead it picks up right where Spider-Man: Homecoming left off. Your friendly neighborhood superhero (Tom Holland) leaves Manhattan behind for a school trip with his classmates, only to find himself dealing with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a briefly glimpsed villain named Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). (Almost as shocking as seeing Spidey alive and well was seeing Gyllenhaal using his real voice as Mysterio).
This omission isn’t necessarily a bad thing; aside from my complaints about the MCU timeline, this movie looks really good. But it is notable, because the trailer was released before Endgame came out. Marvel is flat-out admitting that what happens in its movies does not matter. Character deaths are the most jarring moments in movies because they create a sense of finality, and actual tension. When a character dies there’s no going back, and it changes the trajectory of the plot for good. But Parker’s self-evident revival is an admission that Marvel never intended for their movies to mean anything on their own, but merely to serve as forward momentum for you to go and buy tickets to the next one (which, admittedly, I will). It’s a pretty big shift for the movie industry, one that moves it closer to alignment with television.
This might render the rest of the Avengers films meaningless, but I hope it doesn’t do the same to the Spider-Man stand-alone movies. Homecoming was the best Marvel movie since Iron Man, due not only to stellar performances and pacing but to the fact that the story was able to live on its own, outside of the Avengers’ universe-saving nonsense.
The Far From Home trailer makes me a little worried that the sequel will lose some of that local charm; we are departing from Spidey’s home turf, after all, and there’s a lot of Nick Fury for my taste. But I’ll keep some hope. Far From Home will have one thing that Homecoming lacked: a fully fleshed-out Zendaya character. And it doesn’t hurt to feature one the best actors around as the villain, either. He may not be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man this time around, but hopefully he can stay away from those pesky globe-trotting Avengers.