WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.
That Avengers: Endgame only hit theaters two months ago means fans haven't really gotten the chance to move past Tony Stark's sacrifice. That's one of the reasons why Spider-Man: Far From Home spends so much time ensuring that audiences get a sense of closure.
Even without an appearance by Robert Downey Jr., the film does a great job at establishing Tony Stark's lasting presence in Peter Parker's life and career as New York's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Let's go through all the ways in which Far From Home pays tribute to the fallen Avenger.
In the beginning of the film, we see a literal tribute to Tony Stark, alongside the other deceased members of the Avengers, including Black Widow and Captain America. Set to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," the clip is shown at Peter's high school as part of a report. What distinguishes Stark here is that he's shown at the beginning of the memorial video and again at the end. It leads into a brief refresher course on the events of Thanos' snap -- or the Blip, as it's called -- as experienced by regular people. They clearly know who it was that saved them from Thanos' mad plan to exterminate the entire universe.
After being hassled by reporters with difficult questions, Peter flees a fundraising gala at a homeless shelter -- organized by his aunt May -- to get some fresh air on a rooftop. On a nearby wall he sees an elaborate mural of Iron Man on a wall. It obviously affects Peter emotionally, because Stark is the superhero that brought him into the big fight and started him on the path to becoming a better person.
It was Iron Man that provided Spidey with additional strength when he needed it. Which made the Iron Man documentary on the airplane bound for Europe quite fitting. (You might have seen it when Peter was scrolling through the available in-flight movies while he was stuck sitting between his two teachers as the class left the U.S for Europe.) Peter considers watching the appropriately named "Heart of Iron" documentary as he does his best to distract himself from what looks like a budding romance between MJ and his romantic rival, Brad.
People all over the world within the Marvel Cinematic Universe admire Iron Man, a fact made abundantly clear with the number of billboards and murals across Europe. Not long after the class steps off the plane in Venice, a large screen can be seen depicting Tony Stark suited up in the Iron Man armor -- as seen in Infinity War -- above the entrance to the gatehouse of the airport.
Later on in Venice, Peter passes an old-looking staircase and sees yet another mural, this time depicting Iron Man's helmet on a wall, accompanied by a collection of candles, flowers and picture frames beneath it. Much like the in-flight documentary, the mural provides Peter with a moment of catharsis, believing that he did the right thing in making Mysterio an Avenger.
After the realization that Quentin Beck is actually a dastardly villain, Spider-Man confronts the master of illusion and is quickly defeated, both physically and emotionally. Thankfully, a conversation with Happy restores his confidence in his himself and the two set off to confront Mysterio one final time.
Before they jettison from the Netherlands, Happy back looks at Peter, who's in the middle of creating another suit and sees the person Tony had seen from the beginning. It's clear that Peter Parker is the "next Iron Man." So as they fly, Happy plays some music: "Back in Black" by AC/DC; the song that played in Iron Man (directed by Jon Favreau who plays Happy) when Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was introduced for the very first time.
That's the last real Iron Man tribute in the film, though Far From Home does feature numerous Iron Man-related appearances and references as part of its narrative. They're not just fun little reminders of a beloved character, it's all important. This story isn't just about Spider-Man, it's about the impact Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers had on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now in theaters, director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.