SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME: A New Philosophy for Marvel – Wisecrack Edition


Hey, Wisecrack, Jared here. It’s no secret that daddy issues are to
the Marvel Cinematic Universe what HPV is to a college campus: Everybody’s got it. Indeed, paternal drama pops up constantly
in these films, from Odin putting Thor in time out on Earth, to Black Panther traveling
to the ancestral plane to yell at his dad, to Peter Quill confronting his celestial egomaniac
of a father. What’s more, many of the characters are
fathers themselves, from Ant-Man to Hawkeye, and of course, big daddy Thanos. But father conflicts are perhaps most present
and poignant when it comes to Tony Stark. Not only is he a literal father in Endgame,
but he is always struggling with his relationship with his own father, and acting as a surrogate
father to Peter Parker, as seen in Avengers: Infinity War and Spiderman: Homecoming. The nuances of Marvel fatherhood have been
covered in videos by The Take and Justwrite, so definitely check those out. But we think Marvel’s take on fatherhood
is undergoing a possible shift, and that this change occurred somewhere between Endgame
and Spiderman Far From Home. Depictions of fatherhood are starting to get
a little more complicated, and we think it all has something to do with the idea of “projection”
– like literal projectors and also emotional projection. So welcome to this Wisecrack Edition on Fatherhood
in the MCU post-Endgame. And of course, spoilers ahead for Endgame
and Far from Home. Alright guys lets do a quick recap of Far
From Home, which sees Peter Parker Eurotripping and hoping to give that spidey-suit a break
so he can just be a normal teen. This plan is derailed when very large, very
ugly monsters start popping off all over Venice. Peter tries to fight them and runs into Mysterio,
who seems like a nice-enough dude. Then the Skrull-version of Nick Fury tracks
Peter down to say that Tony left behind a pair of uber high-tech glasses that need to
be gifted to the next leader of the Avengers. Peter’s like “not it,” and goes back
to awkward-flirting with MJ. Then, he realizes the “right” answer:
Give the glasses to his newest friend, Mysterio. Only turns out Mysterio is actually a disgruntled
former employee of Tony’s who made up a fake sob story about his dead family and invented
a projection system that he uses to make everybody THINK the world is under attack when really
it’s just being blown to pieces by drone technology. Peter stops him, reclaims the glasses and
gets with MJ, so that’s nice. So how does Spiderman Far from Home perpetuate
and evolve the theme of fatherhood? There are a few dynamics worth mentioning. Most literally, 1) Peter is missing his father
figure, and 2) Mysterio lies about being a father who lost his children. Then, less literally 3) The Avengers are without
a leader, and people are looking to place the responsibility on Spiderman’s shoulders
and 4) Mysterio is trying to fill society’s paternal void that Tony left behind. To understand this last point more, we’re
going to have to dip into some Sigmund Freud, because, sorry, the dude is still relevant. In his book Civilization and Its Discontents,
Freud meditates on, among other things, the origin of religious feelings, which he credits
entirely to our childhood longing for a father figure. The way he sees it, childhood is a state of
inherent helplessness in which we are at the mercy of adults who parade us around in ridiculous
onesies. Freud identifies helplessness, along with
the resulting “longing for the father” and his protection, as the source of all religious
feelings. He even wrote, “I cannot think of any need
in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection” which means he obviously never
tried pizza bagels. As a result, he notes that we pretty much
CAN’T imagine God other than “in the figure of an enormously exalted father,” complete
with  a white beard and a scowl because you didn’t clean your room. Ok so God=Dad. But according to Freud, there’s more to
a father’s role in your psyche, and it has to do with his theory of the developing mind. For Freud, human brains develop like this:
First you are pure Id, or the base desires to eat, scream and poop. Then, as you realize that there are objects
outside of you, like your teddy bear, your spork or your mom’s visa card,  you start
to develop an ego, or the organizational part of your brain that does stuff like reason,
plan and decide to opt out of parkour. But there’s one thing left that still has
to develop: Your superego. The superego is, according to Freud, the part
of our brain that “retains the character of the father” that is, it’s the part
of us that internalizes our dad’s voice. We do this because when we’re tiny, our
father seems all knowing and generally badass. Of course, eventually we grow up and realize
that our dads make mistakes too and sometimes randomly send their rabbi hate mail, or is
that just me? Anyway, we’ll often turn to religion as
we seek to replace our flesh and blood father with a sort of cosmic father that still retains
all the dope qualities of our real dad. Besides God, we can also project our superego
onto any group of people or individual leader… whether of the state, of a political party,
or of a superhero team. Which brings us back to Marvel. Now, we see Thanos taking it upon himself
to fulfill the role Freud describes as paternal in Infinity War and Endgame. Dude’s followers are literally called the
“children of Thanos,” — and Ebony Maw actually says that EVERYONE is his child,
even in death. “For even in death, you have become children
of Thanos.” What’s more, we see him take a break from
conquering a planet in order to adopt Gomorrah as a surrogate daughter. But most starkly, Thanos takes up the mantle
of celestial father when he makes a decision on behalf of the whole effing universe: that
half of life should be destroyed because he knows best. “If life is left uncheck life will cease
to exist, it needs correction.” “You don’t know that!” “I’m the only one who knows that.” Here, we see Thanos choosing to fulfill the
father role, or the superego, for a universe he genuinely thinks needs him. Through Thanos, the series shows us a majorly
flawed but powerful paternal/God figure. What’s more, it furthers a theme omnipresent
in the series: sons paying for the sins of their fathers. Many Marvel heroes are essentially sons of
villains or, at least, coping with their fathers’ failures. T’Challa has to deal with the fallout of
his father’s mistakes. Star Lord has to stop his dad from taking
over the universe. Iron Man has to grow up to be better than
his dad, and Thor has to confront his dad’s seedy history of conquest. Thanos is the logical conclusion to this motif:
He’s destroying half of humanity and leaving his “children” behind to pick up the pieces. Then there’s Tony Stark, who, as we previously
noted, had an interesting father/son relationships with both his own father and surrogate son,
Peter Parker, and indeed, with the entire Avengers, of whom he was largely considered
to be the leader. Tony actually acts as a sort of shadow to
Thanos. In Civil War, he seeks to grant the government
power over the Avengers through the Sokovia Accords. In Endgame, he regrets not “building a suit
of armor around the world” to save everyone from Thanos. “What we needed was a suit of armor around
the world. Remember that?” Eventually, he even sacrifices himself for
all of humanity, a move that’s pretty damn protective. All of these acts imply that he knows what’s
best for humanity, though he does it in a way that is far more benevolent than the overbearing,
destruction-happy father figure that is Thanos. Tony’s paternalism is even made literal
in Endgame when he actually has a daughter. But now, Tony is dead and phase 3 of the franchise
has ended. Are we seeing a subsequent shift in the way
the theme of fatherhood manifests? Tony’s death leaves the Avengers, and the
world at large, reeling, without a father figure to unite them. Unquestionably, there seems to be a real need
for this father figure – evidenced by everyone’s clear desire to see Tony replaced, and fast. People start by harassing Spiderman who, as
Tony’s mentee and not obviously a 16-year-old, seems like the logical replacement. The central plotline of this film – what to
do with those damn glasses, is really about finding the next father-figure for the Avengers. Without a father figure to look to, Peter
seems lost and directionless. Hence his relief at discovering Mysterio,
with whom he immediately forms a close connection. He and Mysterio develop a sort of father/son
relationship, broing out at bars and fighting fake elementals together. Mysterio even offers Peter advice. “You’re not a jerk for wanting a normal life.” This relationship is unmistakably parental,
and consistent with Peter’s enduring urge to be protected by a father figure. If it seems like Mysterio is starting to replace
Tony as Peter’s metaphorical dad, things are about to get a lot more literal: Indeed,
because of his trust in and genuine affection for Mysterio, Peter decides that he should
be the new head of the Avengers, and thereby assume both roles Tony left unfulfilled. But Peter quickly realizes that he made an
oopsie because Mysterio turns out to be a grade-A scumbag who is actually manipulating
high-tech projections to make people think that they’re under attack, while simultaneously
blowing their cities to smithereens via an army of drones. Fittingly, part of his elaborate scheme includes
telling a lie about being a father, and losing his entire family to these elementals  on
a different version of Earth. “The strongest of them all, the one that destroyed
my earth. It’s the one that took my family.” His heroism, like the supposed perfection
of your father, is literally an illusion. Peter is appropriately bummed. “You lied to me. And I trusted you.” That doesn’t mean that Mysterio was acting
out of some random destructive urge, or the desire to own a cool pair of specs. He’s more interesting than that. We get some insight into what’s going on
beneath that fishbowl when Mysterio tries to kill Peter. “I created Mysterio to give the world someone
to believe in.” Basically, Mysterio recognizes that Tony functioned
as a kind of superego for the world. With Tony gone, he sees a way to fill that
void, specifically by creating a make-believe threat and then defeating said threat through
elaborate green smoke throwing. He made those crazy-ass projections because
he wanted to give the people someone to project their fears and hopes and beliefs onto. He wanted… to be their daddy. Sorry. Couldn’t resist. So, is Mysterio right? Does the world need a superego to look up
to? Or is the film saying that this kind of figure
is largely illusory to begin with? Indeed, illusion and deception is one of the
primary themes of the film, from Happy pretending not to date Aunt May, to MJ pretending that
she’s only interested in Peter because she thinks he’s Spiderman. Even Peter is not immune to illusions, donning
a fake Spiderman suit so that his classmates don’t figure him out. Then, obviously, there’s Mysterio who trafficks
in illusions, inventing his half-baked superhero status from scratch. Oh, and also all the literal illusions. This overarching theme, and particularly the
way it interacts with fatherhood, makes us think that there may be a shift in the way
the MCU will approach fatherhood as it enters phase 4. Because perhaps, there’s one more illusion
to consider: Tony Stark’s legacy. Indeed, Tony has never been more heroic than
in death, as first exemplified in this dramatically corny Powerpoint presentation. But the film complicates this notion when
it reveals that all of the “bad guys” are former employees who found Tony evil,
incompetent, or condescending. “To the man who brought us all together, our
former boss TOnry Stark. The jester king, literally wrapped in wealth
and technology that he was obviously unfit to weild.” There are other issues with Tony’s legacy,
from the villains he made out of Vulture and Ultron to his legacy as an arms dealer to
him siding with the government in Civil War. Perhaps Happy puts it best Nobody could live
up to Tony, not even Tony.” emphasizing the extent to which the myth is
often greater than the man. On top of that, by having Peter’s new “father
figure” turn out to be a big old fake, Marvel calls into question a central premise of the
film. It asks if what the world really needs is
a new Tony Stark, particularly if the real Tony had his fair share of flaws. So what’s the world’s highest-grossing franchise to do? Marvel could repeat the similar themes and
tropes of previous films, or it could pivot towards an entirely new disposition towards
father figures. In one important scene near the end of the
film, we see signs that the franchise could go either way. Peter is gearing up for his final battle with
Mysterio when Happy gives him that look, the subtext being of “Wow, he’s reminding
me of Tony.” So, is Peter going to be just like Tony? Is he going to inherit the same complexities
of father/son relationships we’ve seen thus far in the MCU? Or is this an indication of progress, that
he, as well as the rest of the Marvel canon, will move past the myth of the father as our
collective superego? One quick note – And it wouldn’t be Wisecrack
if we didn’t get a little meta so indulge us – We think it’s worth mentioning that
there’s actually another layer to this drama, specifically having to do with the recently
resolved fight Sony and Marvel had over the IP rights to Spiderman. With the threat of Sony permanently stealing
Spiderman from the Avengers, fans felt betrayed, almost like they were losing their superhero
leader, and they didn’t know how to orient themselves to that version of reality. Sound familiar? On some level, Spiderman’s own crisis was
also just lived out amongst his loyal fans. So as you can see, there’s potentially a
lot going on when Peter dons those glasses, and it poses some major questions about the
future of the franchise. So what do you guys think: Will Peter rise
and become the teen dad that the Avengers so badly want? Or will Marvel evolve past its depiction of
paternal figures as the ultimate protectors? Let us know what you think in the comments. And make sure you hit that subcribe button. Thanks to all our patrons. And as always, thanks for watching guys. Peace

100 thoughts on “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME: A New Philosophy for Marvel – Wisecrack Edition

  1. The idea of a Father figure being needed is bullshit and extremely harmful. Parental figures are important but when you start locking those positions behind a set gender you create a sexist hierarchy that artificially lowers the value of everyone.

  2. Ok as someone who is doing a phd in neuropsychology I have to get this off my chest….Freud's. Theories. Are. Bullshit. They have no evidence behind most of them, his philosophy is half baked and there are hundreds of better philosophers to talk about religion and why people believe in God. I love wisecrack and this video was still really good, but please for the love of God and all that is and isn't holy…stop.talking.about.Freud. Ok I feel better now 🙂

  3. I like the Rocket and Groot dynamic. They are certainly friends but due to language barriers and the rebirth of Groot, Rocket has taken on certain aspects of parenthood in his relationship with Groot.

  4. Fantastic Four's -"The first family" of Marvel – is rebooting in the MCU soon. … like it or not, we're getting Daddy back.

  5. Sigmund Freud is only relevant in pop.cukture. Only his id-ego-super-ego is still a part of modern psychology. Many of his theories were disproven by his own daughter, Anna Freud, and today he's mostly only used for being one of the founders of modern psychology. Lev Vygotsky is a far relevant figure in modern psychology and his works on cognitive psychology are still used today.

    P. S.The need for religion has more to do with having a conservative personality and feeling the need for constant supervision to maintain those conservative values. So yes, monotheistic figures are Sky-Daddies though for other reasons than wanting a father figure.

  6. "Marvel's Iron-Boy"

    The thing that gave me impressions that Marvel's writers are a bunch of fatherless curs.
    Basically i kinda wished that Sony kept Spider-Man, he's just gonna end up as Captain Marvel's butt-monkey…

  7. I hope the third Spider-Man film continues and resolves the trend of Spider-Man have to deal with the fallout of Tony's failures and becoming better for it.

  8. i'm thinking marvels gonna go maternal on us next after all they've been building up to it, black widow coming soon, these the whole group of female heroines that they teased in infinity war as well as in endgame so i think they're gonna have analyze the caring nature of mothers and in the compare it to the protection of the father

  9. There was way too much Spiderman content in the vid Bro. I was expecting it to be more about Wix.com because the name suggested tha… Oh wait, No it didn't.

  10. Just a thought, but
    If all human beings have an intrinsic need for a godlike "father" figure, maybe that is inside of us because a creator put that in our DNA so we would search for our "celestial/cosmic father".

    "We all have a God size hole in our hearts, it's on us to find him, accept him, and let him fill that void with his love; God's love.

    I've always been a bad person, but big ups to anyone trying to be a better person tomorrow than they were today.

  11. I get combining Spider-man with the mcu and pushing the Tony , Peter relationship. Money, money, money n all that. Think they just rushed the character too much and pushed the starktech. Rather see a Cpl more movies where he figures out how to be a good friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, taking some pics for the bugle and taking down Kingpin before he starts fighting in interstellar wars

  12. I dunno, does anyone want Peter to be the new Tony Stark? I'm not sure anyone considered Ironman the leader of the Avengers in any regard. It wasn't Tony saying "assemble" in Endgame. I also think all the daddy issues is a lot more simple than all that: there's more men MCU and Marvel comic characters, meaning that it's just more likely that any character will have an important man in their life, so there's statistically more fathers/father figures. Maybe now with Marvel getting a bit more equal, we'll see less.

  13. Especially because that meta crisis was an illusion in itself, Sony has owned the character and funded, developed and hired all the talent involved in all of the movies he's lead in this current iteration. Happy Hogan was the only character in Far From Home that wouldn't have been there if there weren't a partnership between Marvel and Sony. The whole controversy was about losing the potential for things that have not happened. And painted Sony as the bad guy even though it was motivated ny Disney trying to push them out, further their monopoly and weaponize fans by threatening they wouldn't get to see their favourite character next to their other favourite characters anymore even though the only reason for any of that potentially happening was because of their greed.

  14. Freud is only scientifically relevent for his general methodology, which needed a lot of tweaking to be accurate. His interpretations of the data, like mommy and daddy issues are NOT FUCKING RELEVENT AT ALL. Lazy writers just use him to write shitty plots that mean nothing to the audience because most of the audience aren't the abnormal types who would have sought his help back in the day. Call the shit out, don't prop a writer's lack of research as "still relevent."

  15. You guys essentially engage in pop culture textual analysis alongside critical theory in most of your videos. I think it works really well most of the time, but in this one you didn't really arrive at any ideas- you just made the case for a reading of the MCU alongside Freud. What's the synthesis of that dialogue?

  16. Marvel is going to be dealing with the question of legacy and time. I mean with the definite introduction of more cosmic level beings and things greater than earth, we're going to see more of the question: How do you deal with the fact that after a 100 years you won't be there anymore and someone else will. There's so much potential for Thor in the coming Phase movies I think.

    They can't keep on going big forever, however. I'm super interested and optimistic in the street-level micro stories of the MCU. I imagine a lot of interesting stuff has happened in the crime world due to the snap, and it'd be really cool seeing those stories focused on in the big screen.

  17. I think it's very telling that Parker chose to get rid of all the Iron Spider equipment when building a new suit.

  18. This is apply to all instances of leadership.
    Especially politics.
    Tony wanted what He thought was best for the world, he presented them upfront, but not everyone sides with him.
    Misterio create a problem that he solves so other will favor him, he say it was so people has a new figure to look up to.
    And that is the thing, people will go to position of power because:
    -They want something to be "Fix"
    -They want the power and recognition it entails.
    But maybe what need to be "fix" was only an excuse, but also can be something that need to be fix, or they thought it "need to be fixed".
    The same way they want power to tale advantage of it, or to influence the world by they own standard.
    So pay attention:
    Is really the problem a problem?
    There isn't more important ones?
    Is this really connected or just excuses?
    The solution really would make things better?
    For who they would be better?
    Most importantly what is the cost? And the consequences?
    What is the best case scenario?
    What is the worst scenario?
    Is this really reasonable or the personal impulse of their interest?
    In the world there isn't good or bad, just choices, is that choice could end up as a mistake is what you consider, and remember the once you already make.
    Doubt everything, even this comment.

  19. No one is turning to Captain America to be the father?
    Homie may be old but he sure as hell is a better person to look to than a 16 year old 😂
    Hell, even Falcon since Cap chose him to take over.

    But these idiots picked a kid?
    Smh..

  20. One thing I'm curious about is Ant-Man. He disappeared for 5 years (not because of the snap) and Cassie is now a teen. How does that affect their relationship. She was a really important part of his life. Hell, at the end of Ant-Man 2, Scott seemed to get along well with his ex-wife and her new lover, or at the very least there was no animosity between them. Hopefully we get an Ant-Man 3. I know some people were sour on that particular movie but I think Marvel has had worse sequels that later came back with something strong (Thor 2 to Thor Ragnarok being the best example).

  21. i wonder if perhaps the rise in secularism while the need for a freudian superego figure remains constant is leading to the swell in socialist mentality. since they're anti-god, the government is the new father figure.

  22. You have Banner as the head of the Avengers. He doesn't have to be on field always. One of the OGs, 1 of 3 who ever held 6 infinity stones , the one who snapped everyone back, man with 7 PhDs.

  23. I think superheroes were meant to protect people, similar to a father figure, I guess that’s what I love them for. I have this desire to see Peter grow up, be with MJ, protect the world like a family.

  24. Marvel, if you're reading this: maybe a change to a matriarchy (and maternal issues)? That'd be dope. And we got a glance of that at Endgame, so…

  25. Literally can’t watch this video because of that awful opening “joke” delivered horribly and tastelessly. Gross, thanks for turning me off of an MCU video for the first time ever. 👍🏼

  26. I think there's a bit of a false choice here. Part of growing up is incorporating the lessons and examples of fathers/father figures into your experiences, knowledge, etc. to make this new thing called "you". Then that knowledge needs to be passed on for future generations to benefit, else they make the same mistakes. I see Far From Home as more of a cautionary tale of what happens when we shirk our responsibilities. Someone once said that there is a hole in the universe the size of you; if you don't fill it, something else will, and it's usually worse.

  27. Nah. Love wisecrack but the mcu is as full of deep philosophy as it is of innovative cinema elements. You're grasping at straws trying to do this to the disneyland of cinema.

  28. Imagine if earth never knew of thanos or his plan but thanos still snapped and half of everything on earth was gone. Since we didnt know about thanos, do you think humans wouldve thought it was the rapture and gone crazy because it was "end times"?

  29. I don't think the theme of religion in humanity comes from wanting of a father figure, but rather the search for truth. People use religion often to explain creation or the afterlife, something that we have no way of knowing.

  30. Funny that these movies are about daddy issues when the Hulk is the only one who doesn't have a continuing series in the continuity. His back story would fit SO well.

  31. I think that Mysterio was more of a big-brother figure for Peter, and that Peter was attempting to make him into his father-figure by giving him the glasses.

  32. Late to the party but I feel like Freud's interpretation of father figures is a bit western-centric, naturally given that he was a European psychoanalyst. I think the real want is for any protector, but historically in western society, that figure is typically the man of the household, given that his role is to be the protector and the breadwinner in traditional family structures, but this could be anyone in one's life depending on circumstance.

    In my circumstance, I have 3 parental figures, one mother and two fathers, but I lost my faith in their protection and reliability early in life. I found myself in hazardous and uncertain conditions from 18 onwards and virtually on my own and decided that I was the only person that I could rely on, who would always be there for me. I stopped looking towards any "higher power" to make me feel safe and found more comfort in my own ability to persist despite how hopeless and hurt I felt at times and despite literal life or death situations that my parents never prepared me for.

    Sometimes I crave some sort of guiding figure to take that weight off my shoulders at times (Though I envision that as an older woman, maybe because I have mother issues, maybe because I'm a lesbian, thanks Freud) but whatever comfort I take in that fantasy I ultimately reject because of pride and distrust. I respect people in my life, but I've quit looking up to anyone.

    This is mostly anecdotal, but still.

  33. Marvel will just replace all daddies with mommies, make a character say what you have to say to achieve your woke badge and then cash in.

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