When a new comic book movie hits, that means it's time for our favorite pasttime. No, not picking it apart mercilessly - we actually like these things, and know you do, too! It's time for an Easter Egg hunt, looking for hidden (and not so hidden) references to major moments directly from the pages of comic books, or from other pop culture moments in time.
Luckily, in that particular category, Spider-Man: Homecoming does not in any way disappoint. On top of being an incredible, fun film, there are also enough Easter Eggs and references for someone even with the proportional strength of a spider to struggle carrying! While you'll definitely notice more with each viewing and can probably see this movie a few times (great excuse!) before spotting every fun nod, we have a comprehensive list here. SPOILERS ABOUND within -- we're talking about a couple of specific major moments in the film, so please, see the movie first. It's awesome and we don't want to ruin it.
Once you have, here's what we spotted, and tell us what we may have missed in the comments!
Busted Avengers Tower and Chitauri tech
The film starts off with a prologue set a few years back, as cleanup after the Battle of New York from the first Avengers film is still taking place. The cleanup includes preparing to take down Avengers Tower -- so we might not see that particular landmark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's New York City any more going forward, as they have moved to the upstate facility, the MCU's analogue of "Avengers Mansion," entirely by the end of the film. We also see Chitauri tech, including those giant space worms, which you may remember seeing Hulk and Thor punch a lot. Man, Avengers was a fun flick.
Later in the film, we see a weapon made from an Ultron arm (Avengers: Age of Ultron), hear about ongoing Triskelion cleanup (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and get a reference to the Sokovia Accords, so yeah, this is firmly in the MCU.
The Department of DAMAGE CONTROL
Finally, Damage Control has made it into the MCU. In the pages of Marvel Comics, Damage Control is an organization that goes around the Marvel Universe cleaning, recovering, and repairing the aftermath of superhero battles. They're an independent organization there, but here they're an official part of the Department of Homeland Security, and they're directly linked to Tony Stark. This isn't the first attempt to get a form of Damage Control into the MCU, though, as a half-hour sitcom centered on the organization was under development over at Marvel TV a few years ago. Damage Control was created by Dwayne McDuffie and Ernie Colon, who get a special thanks in the credits, too.
The theme song!
Sony Pictures and their subsidiaries still get top billing on this movie, but after the prologue we finally got the Marvel logo, showing off the recently revamped version that includes scenes from across Marvel Studios films. Instead of the regular Marvel theme music, though, we get the theme to the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon, in a fully orchestrated (and sadly wordless) edition. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can, and in this case, he can get a theme stuck in your head for days.
The entire opening sequence!
Yes, you've seen this all before, from various other perspectives, as the opening sequence (post-prologue of course), gives us a look at Peter Parker's point-of-view of the events of Captain America: Civil War. The cell phone footage style of the sequence is so much fun, and instantly feels like something a kid would do. it also pays nice homage to Peter's history as a shutterbug -- he made his living as a photographer in the comics for decades.
About those High School reporters
On the broadcast at Peter's high school, we see two reporters giving their take on recent events. The male character is Jason Ionello, a character inserted into Peter's high school years in the pages of Untold Tales of Spider-Man by Kurt Busiek and Pat Oliffe in 1995.
The female character, however, has a much deeper connection to Peter Parker. Elizabeth "Betty" Brant met Peter in the comics when he started working at the Daily Bugle. Her first story was Vulture related, a nice nod to their shared history since they both appear in the film. Peter and Betty dated, but she actually wound up married to none-other than Ned Leeds, played in Homecoming by Jacob Batolon (though his character is an amalgam of Ned Leeds and the character Ganke from the comics -- but that's neither here nor there). With two more movies planned in Peter's high school years, it's possible she'll have more of a role to play.
Star Wars LEGOs
Is it a shoutout to still relatively new sibling studio Lucasfilm? Is it just because Star Wars rocks? Is it a nod to the fact that Peter Parker called Empire Strikes Back a "really old movie" in Civil War, making fans of a certain age cringe? Probably a little of all of those, but Ned's Emperor miniifg and Death Star set are awesome -- even when the Death Star is perilously collapsing on Peter's floor like it's just been hit in the exhaust port.
Stan "The Man" Lee
Reports say Stan Lee recorded a few possible cameos one after another in Atlanta last year, hopefully allowing the inclusion of the aging comic creator in several films to come. Here, he's a bystander in Queens, and gets a comedic moment. When Peter incorrectly assaults a man who's trying to jimmy his own car's lock after being locked out of it, Lee calls down from a window saying, "Don't make me come down there, you punk!"
Yeah, Stan can definitely put Spider-Man in place. He did co-create him after all. This is even more fun knowing that Stan at some point will tell the Watchers about it, as we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
There are probably other names hidden in the graffitti around NYC, but it was easy to spot "BAGLEY" on the side of a building, referring to artist Mark Bagley. With Brian Michael Bendis, Bagley launched Ultimate Spider-Man, a more modern-day take on Spidey that kept the character in high school and built his supporting cast more significantly. In other words, it definitely heavily influenced this film and its reboot.
Captain America PSAs
Captain America is the sponsor of the Fitness Challenge at Peter's high school, but gives some other PSAs throughout the film. He is also, as hilariously noted, "probably a war criminal now," but whatever. The idea of Captain America doing PSAs is pretty easy to imagine, especially since he did in animated form in 1985 for the Department of Energy.
Peter Parker's Day Off
When Peter is in pursuit early in the film, he runs through a few suburban back yards, in what looks like an homage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Aaaaand, yup, one of the yards he's running through even has the movie on their TV. Fun! Domino's Pizza also just paid tribute to this famous scene this year. Zeitgeist?
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
When Spidey overreaches his young career a bit, Tony Stark encourages him to think local. "Can't you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?" Stark asks him. That's a nod to the comics, where Peter would refer to himself as the "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man," often in notes or to police and reporters. There was also a comic book series by that title that launched in October 2005, and ran for about two years.
Face it, Tigers
The high school mascot of Peter and company's school is the Tigers. That's a reference to the famous first line that Mary Jane Watson uttered to Peter when their aunts set them up, "Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!"
Ah, Spider-Tracers. Yes, this is a thing Spider-Man employs quite a bit in the pages of Marvel Comics. Sometimes they're tech-based, as we see in the film, but sometimes they've been atuned to his natural Spidey Sense, using it in conjunciton with the devices to track them - no, that doesn't really work even in the pseudo-science of Spidey's world, but it was a thing for awhile.
Here, it's an all-tech thing, and that's where the second Easter Egg comes in - remember that Death Star we saw earlier in LEGO form? Take a closer look at the trackng software for Spidey's bug, and it sure looks like the Death Star as depicted in the Star Wars films.
576 Web Configurations
When Spidey unlocks (too early) his suit's full capabilities, his suit AI Karen tells him there are 576 different possible web shooter modes. That's pulled right out of Dan Slott's playbook - in recent years, the writer has used Peter Parker's own intelligence to change the game, and he can now change up his webshooters on the fly, with things like taser webbing (seen in the film), barbed webbing, ice webbing, etc. Maybe not 576 configurations, but still.
ALMOST an Upside-Down Kiss
That famous kiss between Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man and Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson in the rain wasn't quite recreated here, but it sure got close, close enough to be a purposeful nod to the first Spidey film franchise.
Aaron Davis's more famous alias...
When Peter scans Aaron Davis, Karen brings up a full police profile of the character played by Donald Glover. IN the bottom right corner, it says "Alias: The Prowler."
Yes, that's Aaron Davis's costumed identity in the pages of Spider-Man comic books. He's sometimes a superthief, sometimes a near-supervillain, and most recently he's been Spidey's ally, even masquerading as Spider-Man when Peter needs to make a simultaneous appearance. There's another connection we'll get to...
"I got a nephew..."
Aaron Davis also says he doesn't want this supervillain and alien weapon nonsense in his neighborhood because, "I got a nephew who lives here." Well guess what, Marvel fans, Davis's nephew is none other than MILES MORALES! Yes, the younger would-be-Spider-Man gets the nod there, something Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed. Now give us our Miles, please.
Mac Gargan and his tattoo
He's a low-level thug here, but Mac Gargan does get spotlit just enough for us to point him out here. Specifically, he has a tattoo of a scorpion on his neck, a nod to the supervillain he'll become when he gets a Scorpion-themed suit complete with techno tail. He shows up again at the end of the film, and rumor has it he'll be in Sony's Spidey spin-off Silver & Black.
Half Spidey, Half Peter Parker
That shot when Peter gets trapped in the rubble and looks in his reflection is perfect - it's the half Peter/half Spidey face that Steve Ditko made famous, usually to indicate that his Spider-Sense was going off when he was out of costume as Peter. It's a nice homage to the co-creator and his design sense that helped make Spider-Man the success he is today.
Amazing Spider-Man #33
There are a few moments that could be considered the climax of the film, but we think it's the moment Peter is trapped under an impossible amount of rubble, basically holding an entire building on his shoulders. This was directly lifted from Amazing Spider-Man #33, "The Final Chapter," by Lee and Ditko. In it, Spider-Man is trapped under an incredible amount of rubble, and he talks himself up to picking it up and carrying on. "The weight is unbearable! Every muscle aches!" It's the perfect, quintessential Spider-Man moment, and it's recreated so wonderfully in the film. This is the scene that made Spider-Man one of the best comic book superheroes ever, and the scene in the film is when it becomes the best Spider-Man movie yet.
Leaving notes on crooks
In the film, a couple times when Spider-Man leaves a scene, he drops a note - even on Vulture and the stolen SHIELD and Avengers tech. Again, that's directly out of the comics. It's linked to the "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" bit above. It's a fun moment, and something that brings some nice levity to this new incarnation of Spidey.
"My friends call me MJ"
Michelle's last line is the worst kept secret in the MCU, but yes, Zendaya's character is this universe's version of Mary Jane Watson. While she's Michelle in the film, she does tell the team that her "friends call [her] MJ." Does this mean love is in the air for Peter and Michelle? Probably!
The Iron Spidey suit and a special press conference
The suit at the end of the film is an extremely tech-heavy new Spider-Man costume, a reference to the "Iron Spidey" suit that Tony Stark built for Peter Parker when he took his side in the first Superhero Civil War. During that, as well, he pushed Peter to hold a press conference, where he revealed his secret identity to the world and endorsed superhero registration. Don't worry, a deal with the devil and some magic erased all that.
That ring! And how long Happy's had it...
Tony suggests he pop the question to Pepper to have something to announce at the press conference Peter declines, and Happy Hogan says he's been carrying the ring "since 2008." Get it? Start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man in 2008? DO YOU GET IT, IT'S A NOD TO THEM WAITING FOR SPIDER-MAN TO JOIN THE MCU SINCE THE VERY START OF IT.