**Warning: this article contains MAJOR spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home**
After a short scene that introduces the deadly Elementals and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, Spider-Man; Far From Home kicks off with a touching…ish….tribute to the fallen heroes of Avengers: Endgame.
As Dolly Parton’s “I will always love you” blares and the Marvel Studios logo fades, a poorly made video from Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) classmates pans over grainy jpegs of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Chris Evans’ Captain America (well, he didn’t die, but he went to live in the past) and even Paul Bettany’s Vision, interspersing the frames with a lot of flapping doves and Comic sans MS font.
While it’s basically just a joke (and a callback to a similar fan-made video created by Peter himself in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming), this video is just the first reference to the events of Avengers: Endgame, which hang pretty heavily over Far From Home for obvious reasons.
After all, when Thanos snapped his fingers and half of all life disappeared it affected literally EVERYONE in one way or another – though now, this event has a slightly different name.
While Avengers: Endgame saw the heroes bring back the 50% of all living beings who were killed by Thanos (Josh Brolin), the world had still had to cope with five years without them, and Spider-Man: Far From Home shows the fallout from that period.
In archive footage we see both what happened when Thanos first snapped his fingers – half the students in Midtown High’s gymnasium turn to dust – and what happened when they returned, causing chaos as dozens of marching band students materialise during a basketball game.
The five years that half of humanity was missing are now (apparently officially) referred to as “The Blip,” and for its first half hour or so Spider-Man: Far From Home details a few consequences of that period beyond what we saw in Avengers: Endgame.
An example of the blip’s fallout is that one of Peter’s fellow pupils now has a little brother who’s older than him, while a younger student – Remy Hii’s Brad – is shown to have grown up hugely in the “blip” period, and is now a strapping classmate to Peter and his peers. Generally speaking, those people who disappeared have to try and pick up their lives as best they can, despite the world having moved on around them.
In another scene, Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson is drinking champagne on a plane, only to have it taken away when Zendaya’s MJ points out that he’s actually 16, not 21, as he was “blipped” like the rest of them. How exactly Earth’s infrastructure copes with so many people being a different biological age than the passage of time would suggest is not revealed.
It is revealed, however, that there’s a huge amount of housing problems following Thanos’ snap, with May’s (Marisa Tomei) new job working for a homeless charity appearing to focus specifically on those displaced by the blip. May herself (and by extension, Peter) found that someone else had moved into her apartment during her five-year absence, the new family believing that the re-materialised May was some sort of secret mistress or ghost.
And even those who weren’t “blipped” have had some pretty big life changes because of it. Martin Starr’s teacher Mr Harrington explains at one point that his wife pretended to have been turned to dust by Thanos so she could run off with another man, Harrington only discovering her deception after he’d staged her funeral.
After a certain period in the film, the “blip” is largely left behind and the story moves on. One part of Endgame, however, remains involved for the film’s whole runtime.
The death of Iron Man
Even more than the disappearance and reappearance of half the population, the death of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man hangs heavy over Far From Home. In fact, so important is Tony’s legacy in Far From Home that it’s next to impossible to pull out specific or individual Iron Man moments – it’s all tied into the emotional arc of Peter and the movie as a whole.
Throughout the film, murals and drawings commemorating Iron Man (including in Peter’s art class) can be seen in the background, and the question of who can succeed him in protecting the world is voiced by various characters throughout the film.
In person, Robert Downey Jr’s image is seen in the tribute video and some of the murals (as well as in a documentary that Peter watches on a plane), while a vision created by Mysterio shows a zombified Iron Man (with spiders crawling from his eyes) bursting from his grave to attack Spider-Man.
Later, after Tony’s old friend and bagman Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) gives Peter a much-needed pep talk, Happy watches Peter emotionally as the young webslinger interacts with holographic equipment just like his former mentor, sliding his hand into virtual gauntlets as he listens to one of Tony’s favourite songs – Back in Black by AC/DC, which appeared in the first Iron Man movie.
Generally speaking, despite his death Iron Man and Tony are a large part of the main plot, with his trademark sunglasses (which he often used to interact with his tech) becoming Far From Home’s MacGuffin when they’re bequeathed to Peter, and Peter mistakenly passes them on to Mysterio.
It’s also mentioned that Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) noticed Peter at Tony’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame but decided not to introduce himself, explaining why they hadn’t really met before this film.
Where are the Avengers?
**WARNING – EVEN MORE SERIOUS SPOILERS FROM THE END OF FAR FROM HOME ARE COMING**
“Are the Avengers even a thing any more?” one of Peter’s classmates wonders early in the film, and it’s a question never truly answered.
When Peter is recruited by “Nick Fury” (actually the Skrull Talos in disguise), he’s informed that most of the other heroes (including Captain Marvel, Thor and Doctor Strange) are either off-world or otherwise engaged, but when the Elementals attack various European cities it’s never made entirely clear why no other heroes are around to intervene.
With Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow gone there’s arguably a bit of a power vacuum at the heart of the Avengers, and it’s not clear whether the team officially disbanded at the end of Endgame or whether it’s dormant, with remaining heroes like Scarlet Witch, Falcon and the Hulk just waiting for another world-threatening event to jump back into action.
On the other hand it could be that, as suggested, there isn’t really an Avengers team any more – though the film’s second post-credits scene suggests the truth may be more complicated.
Avengers: Endgame news and reviews
In a call to the real Nick Fury, Talos complains that “Everyone’s asking where the Avengers are,” and that he doesn’t know what to tell them, only for Nick Fury to cut him off, emerge from his VR holiday and decide to get “back to work” on the Skrull spaceship he’s apparently been hanging out aboard.
And now we have to wonder – does this work involve the remaining Avengers? Are some of them with him in space, on some sort of intergalactic mission? Or is Nick Fury’s new work specifically Captain Marvel and/or Skrull-based, leaving the fate of the Avengers a lingering question?
For the next couple of Marvel movies, it may remain a mystery – supposedly a Black Widow prequel and a space-set new franchise are Marvel’s next projects – but at some point, we’re sure the world will need to find out just what happened to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is in UK cinemas now