The MCU Proves Spider-Man Doesn’t Need a Mentor

Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had one of the most unconventional introductions of any superhero in the franchise. Peter began as a loner who never wanted help from anyone in the comics and even picked fights with his allies. It wasn't until he was older that he began to see the value in friends and sought help when things got too tough. Rather than follow that same thought, the MCU has been proving why Spider-Man doesn't need a mentor in other ways.

When thinking of Tom Holland's Spider-Man, it's hard not to also think about Robert Downy Jr.'s Tony Stark, who took on a surrogate father figure role to the young hero. As a result of this, there has been a divide among the fanbase of those who love the pairing and others who feel it was unnecessary. However, for this version of Peter to reach the status he is known for in the comics, it's necessary, in a world of Avengers, for a young vigilante to attach himself to a more experienced hero.

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In Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter is 16-years-old and essentially given the keys to the kingdom. He never sees himself as a kid and wants to join in the action with the other Avengers. However, his impatience eventually leads to him endangering lives and losing his suit and Stark's trust. To make matters worse, Peter also proves the reservations Tony's friends had about recruiting a child in the first place. Ultimately, Civil War and Homecoming show how Peter is meant to grow from relying on others to having the strength to rely on himself.

Following Stark's death in Avengers: Endgame, Peter mourns the loss of Tony as a friend and mentor who hit the fast-forward button on his superhero career. At first, he feels lost without Tony and even tries to pawn his responsibilities off to Quentin Beck, who was manipulating him. Peter's choices then leave him under scrutiny from Nick Fury, who demands that he act as mature as the situation demands. Eventually, Quentin's betrayal teaches Peter that not everyone is as honest as Stark, and he can't be so willing to trust anyone trying to act as a mentor.

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With Spider-Man: No Way Home, it's been confirmed that Doctor Strange will not be a mentor to Peter. In fact, Peter's decisions contribute to their relationship breaking down. Because Peter is a kid, his choices over the trilogy have led to him alienating himself from the other heroes. Since he's a child, they still see an impulsive kid with a lot of promise. However, because of his impatience and meddling with Strange's spell, he creates a multiversal issue that perfectly symbolizes that a mentor was never what Peter needed.

By having Peter come up with the other Avengers as a student to Stark, he's able to understand the gravity of certain situations that come with being a hero. However, he also learns that not everyone in the world is out there to help him. By No Way Home, it's clear that the MCU's goal isn't to have Peter learn to be the Spider-Man fans know and love by way of mentors. Instead, the MCU shows how Peter isn't ready to play in the big leagues, and by giving him a taste of the future, he can find himself and learn how to be a great Spider-Man rather than be the next great Avenger.

Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters Dec. 17.

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Nicholas Brooks (1027 Articles Published)

CBR Features Writer Nick Brooks has been writing for over ten years about all things pop culture. He has written for other sites like Animemojo.com and Gamefragger.com. When not writing you can find him with his lovely girlfriend, cooking, reading comics, or collecting any new Star Wars Black Series, Marvel Legend, or Transformer. For more of his thoughts on pop culture check out his blog, The Next Panel with Comic Brooks.

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