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Growing up is a part of life, whether we like it or not. There will come a day when we step out of our comfort zone into the so-called “real world”, and face the challenges of maturity and adulthood. Many of us try to cling to our youthful days, but there’s no denying the responsibilities placed upon us which we must take.

This is the same transition that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker goes through in Marvel Studios’ newest film Spider-Man: Far From Home. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter’s life goes back to normal (?) in high school with a European trip looming, while carrying the weight of being friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Since being introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Captain America: Civil War, Holland has made the web-shooting hero his own, but he’s never found the claim so difficult just as he does here in Far From Home. The root of this dilemma is the death of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) who served as a mentor and father-figure – sound familiar?

Tony Stark = Uncle Ben

That’s right, Stark has become the MCU version of Uncle Ben – Peter’s adoptive father who dies and becomes a drive for him to become Spider-Man in the comics. The MCU never introduced us to an Uncle Ben, choosing to show that Peter lives alone with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) leaving us to assume that Uncle Ben already passed away.

But in a way, Stark steps into that fatherly role which Peter clings to, so much as tearfully embracing each other when one of them passed away. This familial loss is what troubles Peter in Far From Home, making him question if he’s ready to step up and be a hero like Iron Man.

Only to add to that predicament is his feelings for MJ (Zendaya). Luckily the class trip to Europe opens up the perfect plan for Peter – he gets to have a few weeks away from doing superhero stuff, and has the chance to make a good impression on MJ.

Power & Responsibility

But a hero’s work is never far away, and Peter finds himself in the eyes – or rather eye – of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as the hero the world needs right now, especially with strange creatures erupting everywhere. Not to mention a man from a different universe, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), is somehow in the picture.

Peter finds himself in a weird situation. In Homecoming he’s eager to do big hero stuff even if Tony and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) tell him to start out small. By the end, he realizes that calling but still after the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, he’d rather be a neighborhood Spider-Man than the Avenger he was made by Stark.

Mild spoiler warning for Far From Home, Peter finds a solution in Beck – both as the hero Fury is looking for, and the father-figure he needs in the place of Stark. After all, Beck is a skilled fighter from another world, and clicks very well with Peter; it just seems right for a young person like Peter Parker.

Time to grow up

But to avoid any major spoilers, a big part of growing up is being responsible for the things you ought to do, especially when you have the power to do so (thank you Uncle Ben). During Peter’s lowest moments, he realizes he has to step up and be the man Fury, MJ, Aunt May, and even Happy needs him to be.

And that is where Holland excels as Peter Parker, being so close to the character’s actual age allows him to encapsulate the adolescence that Peter is going through – as a teenager and as an Avenger. He’s no longer just a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he’s one of Earth’s mightiest heroes who even Nick Fury needs help from (and that says a lot).

This “growing up” realization is depicted in Far From Home in Peter’s “Spidey sense,” which the film calls “Peter tingle.” From being unable to dodge a banana, Peter can sense the trouble he is about to face but is no longer afraid to fight. Why? Because he’s ready to take responsibility.

An encompassing question in the film is “Who will be the next Iron Man?” Fury, and even Stark himself, believes that is Peter (although for a moment he looked at Beck as the answer). Peter may still be finding in himself if Stark made the right choice, but at least we know he learned from the best. After all, if there won’t be another Iron Man, there will always be one Spider-Man.

Catch Spider-Man: Far From Home in cinemas now.

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