The MCU"s New Canon Update Has A Major Implication For Tom Holland"s Spider-Man Origin

  • Jessica Jones' riff on Spider-Man's classic "With great power comes great responsibility" line is now official MCU canon.
  • Other shows have also used variations on the iconic Spidey line.
  • Spider-Man movies in the MCU have shied away from more classic elements of the character, but that seems set to change in Spider-Man 4.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has helped the Marvel Cinematic Universe weave some common threads with the Defenders Saga, the series of Marvel shows that originally aired as Netflix originals. It was Spider-Man: No Way Home that introduced Charlie Cox’s Daredevil to the MCU and with Daredevil villain Wilson Fisk finding his footing in Hawkeye and Echo, it’s highly likely for Holland’s web-slinger to cross paths with Kingpin, much like the comic books. Cox’s own project Daredevil: Born Again can continue the Defenders Saga in a new format, finally making shows like Jessica Jones and Punisher a part of the MCU timeline.
For years, fans of the Netflix-distributed shows (now on Disney+) had debated whether they were canon to the MCU or not. But now, an MCU executive has ended the debate. Marvel Studios Head of Streaming Brad Winderbaum confirmed that the Netflix Marvel shows are MCU canon, explaining that the studio couldn’t introduce street-level vigilantes like Daredevil and Luke Cage to crossover events like Avengers: Endgame simply because “it was too much” to accommodate. Now, with future MCU releases like Daredevil: Born Again, the possibilities are endless. Sadly, this canonical shift takes away a dramatic element from the MCU’s Spider-Man.
Related Spider-Man's Complete MCU Timeline Explained Tom Holland joined the MCU as Spider-Man in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and has since become one of the MCU's most important superheroes. Jessica Jones Used Spider-Man's 'Great Responsibility' Line 3 Years Before No Way Home The Spider-Man Movie Had Aunt May Saying It Just Before Breathing Her Last Close Be it in the comics or the multiple cinematic adaptations, the iconic line With great power comes great responsibility” is synonymous with Spider-Man’s heroism. Often attributed to Peter Parker’s mentor and father figure Uncle Ben, the quote outlines the moral responsibilities that Parker faces when he dons his red-and-blue costume. But over time, this heroic motto has also come to stand for superhero cliches as is evident from a cheeky moment in Jessica Jones’ season 2 finale. In the episode titled “AKA Playland”, Jones sarcastically remarks that she would “throw up” if anybody equates great power with great responsibility again.
If you say, 'With great power comes great responsibility,' I swear I'll throw up on you.
Considering that Jessica Jones is officially MCU canon, the quote seems to be in common use even before it got featured in Spider-Man: No Way Home. In the 2021 movie, it’s Aunt May who utters the iconic motto before dying in a surprise attack by Green Goblin. Aunt May’s death in No Way Home makes for a particularly tragic scene with her last words being the ones that would define Spider-Man’s very identity. But with Jessica Jones alluding to the quote years before in a more light-hearted context, the No Way Home scene is now robbed of its emotional gravitas.
Agents Of SHIELD Referenced Spider-Man's 'Great Responsibility' Line Even Earlier But The Show’s Ambiguous Status In The MCU Canon Must Be Considered Jessica Jones’ mention of the quote is preceded by another humorous nod in Agents of SHIELD, which prominently revolved around Agent Phil Coulson from the Avengers movies. The reference can be traced back to the pilot episode when Agent Daisy Johnson remarks, "With great power comes.... a ton of weird crap you are not prepared to deal with." This implies that the quote perhaps gained currency nearly eight years before being alluded to in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But this can be an overstatement, as Agents of SHIELD hasn’t yet been confirmed as a part of the official MCU canon.
Related MCU's Netflix Update Makes Agents Of SHIELD's Decade-Long Canon Debate More Likely To Get Answers Than Ever The debate over whether Agents of SHIELD is MCU canon may soon come to an end, as other Marvel Television shows have been integrated into the MCU. But then again, the MCU characters probably were aware of the “Great Responsibility” line from actual historical examples instead of any Spider-Man mentors. Even before Spider-Man comics popularized the quote, early versions date back to British parliamentarian William Lamb, who, in an 1817 debate, proclaimed “the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility"(via 1817: The Year Without Habeas Corpus by Gary Dyer). Even Winston Churchill referenced the same quote in a 1906 debate (via API Parliament UK). In the unlikely scenario of MCU figures quoting an actual historical snippet, Aunt May’s dying words yet again become less effective.
The MCU's Spider-Man Origin Is A Disservice To The Iconic Marvel Character Purist Comic Book Fans Have Had Many Concerns With Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Peter Parker’s coming-of-age arc from a confused teen to a responsible hero is emulated by the “Great Responsibility” line that is often mentioned during dramatic moments of his origin story. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man aced the emotional angle with Uncle Ben’s words initially being disregarded by Peter. But when Ben tragically dies in a shooting, his uncle’s motto rings in Peter’s mind as he strives to be a better superhero. The MCU Spider-Man movies subverted this moment by throwing in the “Great Responsibility” line in the third movie instead of an origin story, replacing Uncle Ben’s demise with that of Aunt May.
While the Spider-Man: No Way Home scene carries emotional depth, the movie contains so much multiversal chaos for Peter to handle that the motto gets lost within the larger context. Since his MCU debut, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has never got his shot at a grounded origin story with the character largely reduced to Iron Man’s sidekick or even a mini-Iron Man when he dons the Iron Spider costume. Unlike the comics, Spider-Man’s street-level vigilantism and Peter Parker’s financial struggles are yet again hardly touched upon. It will be a fresh change for Holland’s next Spider-Man to have no MCU ties.
How The MCU's Spider-Man 4 Can Deliver A Proper Spider-Man Movie Peter Parker Can Rely On Himself For Once Close As is evident from the melancholic ending of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker’s identity has been wiped out from the memories of his closest aides, like best friend Ned Leeds and love interest MJ. Forced to live on his own in a cramped, downmarket apartment, Peter is shown to lead a life of anonymity for future sequels. Keeping a low profile can prove to be a fresh start for MCU’s Spider-Man. In the fourth Spider-Man movie, he can fight real-world crime as a street-level hero in New York and realize the “great responsibility” that he carries with his powers.
Related MCU Spider-Man Director's Trilogy Reframing Comments Address A 5-Year-Old Fan Complaint Many have criticized the fact that the MCU's Spider-Man has always been connected to other superheroes, but Holland's Spider-Man arc may justify this. For all the fan service it offered, some retrospective opinions on Spider-Man: No Way Home complained about the cameo-filled excess of it all. In this context, the fourth Spider-Man movie can finally change Spider-Man’s status from a bumbling sidekick to a solo hero in his own right. The MCU Spider-Man doesn’t need multiversal movies anymore that connect him to Doctor Strange or Iron Man subplots. It’s high time for the New York hero to mature on his own accord and become the “friendly neighborhood” that Spider-Man was always supposed to be, something that hopefully won’t make Jessica Jones “throw up”.
Marvel's Jessica Jones Where to Watch *Availability in US
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Cast Krysten Ritter , David Tennant , Mike Colter , Rachael Taylor , wil traval , Erin Moriarty , Eka Darville , Carrie-Anne Moss , J.R. Ramirez , Terry Chen , Leah Gibson , Janet McTeer , Benjamin Walker , Sarita Choudhury , Jeremy Bobb Release Date November 20, 2015 Seasons 3 Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg


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