A lot of Spider-Man fans were actually put at ease when it was announced that Spider-Man: Homecoming was not going to include an origin story for the wall-crawler. Many agree that we have seen the previous Spider-Man films from 2002 and beyond, and we don't need a recap of something we already know. Makes sense, right?
Well, on paper it might sound good because we don't need to dive into a story we already know the ending to. However, what a lot of fans forget is that Uncle Ben motivates a lot of what Peter Parker does as Spider-Man. When you take that out of the movie, you get a shallow superhero.
Throughout all of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the character of Uncle Ben is never mentioned once. Not a single name drop. The closest reference we get is Peter Parker talking to his best friend Ned Leeds about keeping his identity as #SpiderMan a secret because his aunt has been through enough already. That's it.
We got a taste of Parker's motivation in Captain America: Civil War, but Marvel doesn't go into any greater detail in Homecoming. Because of this, Spider-Man's motivations are unclear throughout most of the movie. The film seems to think that Spider-Man is more motivated to join the Avengers than using his powers responsibly, much like the words of wisdom from his Uncle Ben.
Both Peter Parker and Aunt May never seem to mourning. If you had no previous knowledge of Spider-Man's origin, you would never guess that a woman lost her loving husband and a teenager lost his father figure. There is no attempt to make the audience really connect with Peter Parker in this movie until Tony Stark takes away his suit.
It's easy to say that we already know what happened: Uncle Ben was shot by a man that Spider-Man could have stopped, leading to Parker learning that with great power comes great responsibility – but is that how it happened?
In the original trilogy, Uncle Ben was shot by a carjacker (later revealed to be Sandman), and in Amazing Spider-Man, Ben was shot by a simple thief on the street. We have no idea of the small details surrounding Uncle Ben's death, which are kind of important. Everything else in the movie has changed Spider-Man's lore, including his best friend being Ned Leeds instead of Harry Osborn, his love interest being Liz Allen (and soon to be Michelle Jones) instead of Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy, and even his suit being created by Tony Stark.
Why should we not assume that the events surrounding Uncle Ben's death have changed too? For all we know, he could have died in the explosion of Pym Industries in Ant-Man, during the incident in the Avengers, or maybe Winter Soldier assassinated him. Heck, we don't even know if Parker had an uncle at all, maybe his aunt May is gay and she was married to a Beth Parker. Sure, it's highly unlikely, but without any details it's hard for the audience to emotionally connect to the story.
While it was nice that we didn't have to retread any old plots from other movies, it is a problem that the writers did not find another emotional angle that drives Spider-Man to be a hero. Doing what he does just because he wants to be an Avenger make the character of Peter Parker shallow and kind of self-centered.
How Can Sony Solve This Problem?
While not the most popular film in the #MCU, The Incredible Hulk is actually a great example of what to do in this situation. The film was released in 2008, five years after the less successful Hulk. Instead of doing an origin story again, the film did a quick recap during the opening credits that explained everything that happened so far.
It perfectly caught people up to the rest of the film about Bruce Banner, his job, his girlfriend, his feud with General Ross and how he became the Hulk. While #SpiderManHomecoming shouldn't do the exact same thing, would it have been so awful to have one scene to recap what happened the night Uncle Ben was shot (if he was shot at all)?
There are currently two Spider-Man sequels planned, and it would really benefit the audience and #Marvel Studios to give some detail that Peter Parker even had an uncle who died. It doesn't need to be a long recap, but something to give some insight on Peter Parker's motivations to want to become a superhero.
What did you think about the exclusion of Uncle Ben from Spider-Man: Homecoming?