Well, we can now officially say that all bets are off. First it was Jamie Foxx coming back as Electro, and that led us to believe that live-action spider-verse is coming sooner than we thought. If you’re still skeptical, we have some news that will make you a believer. I wouldn’t of guessed it, but it’s been confirmed that Doctor Strange will be appearing in the third Spider-Man movie. Now is the time to be really asking some serious questions. How would a character like Doctor Strange fit into a Spider-Man movie? On top of that, look at where Spider-Man is at now. He’s a fugitive and on the run and he’ll have many bad guys gunning for him. I reckon Doctor Strange has some better things to do, but according to reports, he’ll be stepping in as the new Tony Stark for Peter Parker.
Now I’ll get right to it, because I’m beyond curious. If these reports are true, is having Doctor Strange take over as Spider-Man’s new mentor a good thing? On the surface, I would say yes, but many other people would disagree. Since Tom Holland’s Spider-Man entered the MCU, he’s attracted some particular criticism. I’ve argued with some friends about this and I’ve seen plenty of people complain about it on the internet. According to them, this Spider-Man needs to constantly rely on someone helping him and can’t do anything on his own. For instance, Tony Stark just gave him his first suit and his very own suit of armor that’s a very advanced piece of weaponry. It’s got the retractable, metallic legs, the hundreds of functions, and kill mode. It’s good for Peter, but in the eyes of some, this makes him less suitable to be a great Spider-Man.
I disagree with them completely. Yes, this Spider-Man needs help and has several mentors. He’s young, that’s what young people need. The more mentors, the better. Now he’s a fugitive, and anyone who talks to him would be aiding and abetting a fugitive. It would be the most opportune time for him to stop relying on others and learn to take care of himself. My main concern is out of all the mentors who can come to his aid, why Doctor Strange? Now the people who go after Spider-Man believe that since this is his third solo movie, he should be able to be on his own. No Tony Stark or Happy to come and save him and being on the run could be crucial to his character development and transform him from boy to man.
If Doctor Strange comes in and acts as the new Tony Stark, that could possibly take that away. I understand the concern, because we do eventually want Peter Parker to become his own hero. However, we all need to remember that he’s still very much a kid in high school. So far, he’s been acting like the comic Spider-Man did in his teenage years. He wants to be Spider-Man, but he’s also dealing with regular problems that every normal teenager goes through. He wants to go to homecoming, hang out with his friends, date MJ, but like always, his duties as Spider-Man get in the way.
We’ve seen a version of this in Spider-Man 2, but Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man was several years older. His issues were more personal, including just keeping a steady job. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man doesn’t have to worry about that because he’s too young. That actually makes his situation more intriguing, because that makes him much more naive. We’ve seen him at his most naive in his first solo movie pretty much right off the bat. After the events of Civil War, he is most anxious to go on his next mission and continuously annoys Happy about it. He continues to act as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but it’s not enough for him. The young and very naive Peter becomes so overconfident about joining the Avengers, he goes so far as to claim that he’s beyond high school.
Spoken like a true, naive child with high hopes. Well, that’s unfortunately not how life works, and he learned this lesson the hard way after he failed to apprehend the Vulture. Tony Stark took away his suit and after that, things started to turn around for Peter. He started doing better in school, completed the lego death star with Ned, and mustered the courage to ask Liz to homecoming. This nice, simple life didn’t last long though, as he quickly found himself fighting Liz’s dad, you know, because he turned out to be the Vulture. Yeah, that was a great twist, but the real turning point came when Peter was trapped underneath a broken building and left for dead. He struggled, screamed for help, but after recalling what Tony said to him, he realized he was much stronger than he thought.
That’s what intrigued me the most about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Marvel is forcing him to confront the hardships of life in order to mature him. Even after he stops the Vulture, he loses Liz. It’s a sacrifice he had to make in order to do the right thing and be Spider-Man. This carried over in Far From Home when he willingly gave away the EDITH glasses to Mysterio. He unknowingly handed over his responsibility to a supervillain and nearly paid the price for it. Me messed up big time, but he learned his lesson and once again saved the day. Heck, he even finally learned to hone his spider sense. Now that’s an improvement.
Even with Tony gone, he found mentors in several people. Nick Fury was the rough kind of mentor who was hard on him, while Happy was more compassionate. The best lesson he taught him was to stop trying to live up to Tony and just be the best of himself. That’s really all that he needed and it’s how he stopped Mysterio. Heck, even Mysterio was a good mentor to him and reminded him that he should stop worrying about what others expect from him. Two men delivering the same message. This advice will likely stick with Peter forever and it will transform him into a mature Spider-Man. He’ll be his own hero and can continue to make mistakes.
That’s fine, but the trick is he needs to learn from his mistakes. That’s part of being young and naive and the ones who learn from their mistakes are the ones who become great men. Now that’s what we can’t forget. Peter is still young. He’s a teenager and he’s still naive, but he’s learning. His maturity won’t blossom overnight, but that’s how it should be. In time, he’ll become the Spider-Man we want him to be. Just expect some speed bumps along the way. Every hero’s journey has them and he’s no different.
So how will Doctor Strange be a different mentor to Spider-Man? I honestly don’t know how. He can be a great mentor because he’s someone who has hit rock bottom and risen above it. This makes him the best guy to give Peter some lessons about humility and to respect power. I don’t know where else this new relationship can take them, but I can’t wait to see.