WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters now.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe broke from tradition when it introduced Spider-Man. Although Peter Parker briefly mentioned losing someone close to him throughout Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, he’s never expressly brought up the loss of Uncle Ben. Instead, Iron Man has served as his mentor and father-figure, and his death impacts Spider-Man throughout Spider-Man: Far From Home.
While tying Peter to Tony Stark is a compelling piece of world-building, it has also completely derailed the legacy of Uncle Ben, which is usually one of the defining pieces of Peter Parker’s character.
With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
Ben Parker has been a part of the Spider-Man mythos since Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Ben was Peter’s kindly uncle, who imparted lessons about power and responsibility onto a young Peter. Not initially taking them to heart, Peter allowed a criminal to pass him one night. Famously, that crook went on to murder Ben, leading Peter to vow that he would never turn his back on another person in need ever again.
This loss has always formed the core of Spider-Man’s personality in almost every incarnation of the character. It’s what gives him his famous drive, which is arguably his greatest tool when confronted by villains or threats. Spider-Man just doesn’t give up, because he knows what can happen when you do. It’s part of what makes him such an aspirational character. He has suffered loss by his own inaction, and he will always try to stop something like that from ever happening again. Seeing a Spider-Man who doesn’t try to act responsibly with his powers is like seeing Batman with a gun: it’s just feels wrong.
Tony Stark Jr.
The relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker has been prevalent since Spider-Man was recruited by the armored Avenger in Captain America: Civil War. After that, Tony became a mentor to Peter, and their relationship was incredibly important to both characters. The prospect of bringing Peter back to life is a large part of what motivated Iron Man to try and reverse the effects of Thanos’ actions.
Tony Stark's death in Endgame effects Peter in the same ways that Ben's death usually takes a toll on the web-slinger. It forces him to reevaluate who he is and what he stands for and ultimately fuels his dedication to being a better hero.
While his relationship with Iron Man could co-exist with Peter’s lingering feelings about Ben, it's never commented on, not even by Aunt May, Uncle Ben's widow. If anything, the loss of a second father-figure could make the absence of both in Peter's life even more pronounced, but that idea is ignored entirely. Instead, the only reference to Uncle Ben in Far From Home is Peter using a suitcase that has Ben’s initials on it.
While Iron Man is a considerably bigger deal than Ben Parker in terms of the overall MCU, it's jarring to see a decent chunk of Far From Home dedicated to Iron Man while Ben only gets a suitcase.
Even though the MCU didn’t rehash Spider-Man’s origin story, the MCU still needs to pay Uncle Ben the long-overdue respect he deserves. While starting in the middle of Spider-Man's superhero career was a smart decision that got the hero into action quicker, the MCU still needs to drive home the foundational importance he has in Spider-Man's life with more than a few passing references.
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 and is in theaters now.