Spider-Man: Homecoming hits cinemas today, marking the first time Spidey gets a solo adventure in the MCU. The consensus from critics and early fan screenings is pretty unanimous: the film is great and you should go and see it. Like any Marvel film Homecoming is full of easter eggs and references to other films and the comics they're based on. Barring the obvious cameos from MCU mainstays like Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, here are all the easter eggs and references we spotted.
The Classic Theme Song
Remember the theme song from the '60s Spider-Man TV series? A few months back we heard an orchestral rendition of it that may or may not have been for the film. Paying close attention to the Marvel Studios logo sequence and you'll notice that the usual score has been replaced with the classical adaptation of the Spider-Man song.
Now I dare you to listen to that music without hearing this in your head:
Battle of New York
The Battle of New York took place in 2012's The Avengers and plays a key role in Adrian Toomes turning to a life of crime and becoming the Vulture. Toomes himself owns a salvage company that had been hired to clean up the Chitauri's leftovers, and led to him and his men using the alien tech to develop new weapons and technology.
Homecoming is the first time we get to see a long-time Marvel mainstay hit the big screen, though it's not the first time Damage Control has been mentioned in the MCU (they got name-dropped in season 3 of Agents of SHIELD.) In the comics Damage Control is a private company that cleans up the mess after superheroes or villains do their thing.
In the MCU Damage Control is a federal agency, launched in the aftermath of the Chitauri invasion in collaboration with Stark Industries. They're responsible for cleaning up after major events, and while not confirmed it seems like they had a hand in clearing thing up after the Dark Elves invaded London, and the Battle of Sokovia.
Damage Control was also set to be the focus of an Office-style mockumentary comedy series on ABC, but over the past couple of years it hasn't come to fruition. We can assume that its role in Homecoming was the cause of that, but hopefully the film's release means we will actually get to see it.
Following the opening scene and credits, we get to see the events of Civil War from Peter Parker's perspective in the form of a video diary. It shows just how ecstatic he is to be involved in the whole thing - much to the chagrin of his new handler Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). We also get to see the first time he wore the upgraded Spider-Stark suit, and how hyperactive he was in the aftermath.
Cutting back to Peter's life at school, one of his very bored looking teachers mentions the Sokovia Accords by name.
As ever Stan Lee gets his gratuitous cameo, this time playing a man called Gary who ends up taking part in a shouting match after Spidey mistakes a man locked out of his car for a thief.
Parker is obviously a Star Wars fan, even though he referred to The Empire Strikes Back as "that really old movie" in Civil War. His bedroom shelf has a number of Star Wars toys including rebel fighters and R2-D2, while he and Ned spend the film putting the Lego Death Star back together.
Fun fact: Ned mentions that the Death Star has over 3,800 pieces which would correspond to the 2008 Death Star set (#10188). However the set they actually build is the 2016 Death Star (#75159) which has over 4,000. Yes I noticed this. Bow before me Lego nerds, I am your king.
There are no references to Uncle Ben's death, but it is alluded to when Ned is trying to convince Peter to tell Aunt May that he's Spider-Man. Peter is adamant that "after everything that's happened" she couldn't handle it - a clear reference to losing Ben sometime in the recent past.
In Civil War Peter tells Tony that he's only had his powers for six months, with Homecoming taking place two months later. It's same to assume that Ben's death happened in those original six months, since Peter refusing to use his powers responsibly directly leads to his death - and the guilt stemming from it became the driving force behind his hero career.
The High School
Kenneth Choi also plays Principle Morita, who has been confirmed to be a descendent of Jim Morita - one of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. You can also see a picture of Jim in the principle's office, alongside some framed military medals. Martin Starr also appears as Mr Harrington, the academic decathlon coach, having previously had a minor unnamed role as the guy in the computer lab in The Incredible Hulk. Is it the same guy? There's no reason why it couldn't be.
Betty Brant, who would later go on to work at the Daily Bugle (and was played by Elizabeth Banks in the Raimi trilogy) also appears throughout the film on the student newscasts played by Angourie Rice.
The chemistry lab also features a selection of famous scientists from throughout history, and among them is a picture of Bruce Banner. Howard Stark also makes an appearance in a mural that decorates one of the school's hallways.
The Shocker's Outfit
We never get to see either Shocker in the full comic get-up, but we do get to see a glimpse of it during the weapon sale scene. Jackson Brie's sleeves have the same yellow-diamond pattern as the quilt-like costume from the comics, and later on we get a glimpse of Herman Schultz wearing something similar.
A lot of the weapons and tech in the film are shown to be based on Chitauri tech, but the weapons sale shows off a few more references to battles in the MCU. The most obvious is a gun that's stated to have come from one of Ultron's drones, but black hole grenades are also mentioned. The black hole grenades were part of the Dark Elf arsenal in Thor: The Dark World, and since they did invade London it makes sense that their weaponry would end up in the hands of Damage Control - and thus the Vulture's crew.
The Shocker gauntlets also happen to be modified versions of the gauntlets used by Crossbones in Civil War.
Aaron Davies is a small-time criminal that Spider-Man encounters during the film, but that name isn't accidental. In the Ultimate Universe Aaron Davis is the uncle of Miles Morales, who is referenced during the scene where Davies is questioned by Spider-Man - though not be name. Kevin Feige has confirmed that this is a nod to the character, who grew up to be Peter Parker's successor in the Ultimate comics.
Spider-Man's HUD also lists one of Davis's aliases as 'The Prowler', and in the Ultimate universe that was the name Davis conducted his criminal activities under. It's worth mentioning that the Prowler in the mainstream Marvel universe is Hobie Brown. Davies also takes an interest in devices that would let him climb walls, which would be pretty helpful for a burglar.
The fact that Davis is played by Community's Donald Glover is also interesting, since Glover had voiced Miles Morales in two episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man. Fans also campaigned for Glover to play Spider-Man back in 2010, which inspired Brian Michael Bendis to create Miles Morales in the first place.
The AI inside Peter's suit, referred to as 'Suit Lady' and 'Karen' is played by Jennifer Connolly - known for starring in films like Labyrinth, Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind, and more. What makes her inclusion more than basic casting is that she also happens to be married to Paul Bettany, who voiced JARVIS and later played The Vision.
One of the criminals on the Staten Island Ferry was named as Marc Gargen, played by Far Cry 3's Michael Mando. In the comics Gargen doesn't start off as a hardened criminal like he is here, but is instead a private detective who goes onto become the the supervillain Scorpion. Here Gargen has a scorpion tattoo on his neck, which alludes to that aspect of the character - and hinting at his possible future.
One of the big plot points is that Tony has sold Avengers Tower, and is moving all of its contents to an Avengers facility in upstate New York. This also happened in the recent run of Invincible Iron Man, though that was down to financial trouble rather than a simple change of location.
Happy also mentions a number of items being moved, including the Hulkbuster Armour from Age of Ultron, Cap's prototype shield (presumably the one seen in Iron Man 1 and 2), 'Thor's magic belt' - the name of which Happy can't pronounce.
In Norse mythology Thor's belt is Megingjörð, which is said to double the Thunder god's strength when it's worn. It's also appeared in the comics a few times, where it functions in a similar way. Honestly I'd have trouble pronouncing that as well.
Amazing Spider-Man #33
Did that scene where Peter has to push himself out of the rubble seem familiar? That's because something very similar happened in Amazing Spider-Man #33, which went on to become one of the most iconic Spider-Man covers.
There's a lot to take in when the Vulture is raiding the Avengers jet, but we noticed a few items of interest including: Tony's Mark 42 Armour (from Iron Man 3), a selection of Chitauri rifles, boxes of miniaturised arc reactors (that only Tony is able to build), and one of the early Iron Man masks. It's not clear which one, however, since (with the exception of Mark V) Mark III-through XI had the same design and colour configuration.
While obviously not intended to be a reference, the location of the climax is the famous theme park on Coney Island. It was previously mentioned in Civil War by Bucky Barnes, who mentions Captain America threw up after riding the Cyclone roller coaster. That same event was also referenced in The First Avenger.
At the end of the film Tony offers Peter a brand new suit, which looks more metallic and armour-like than the one he originally received. This is a clear reference the the Iron Spider armour that Tony gifted to Peter in the comics during Civil War. While the design is completely different to the one in the comics, it's obvious what's being alluded to.
A while back rumours circulated that Zendaya would be playing Mary Jane Watson, and a lot of stupid people got angry about it. She's not, since her character is named Michelle, but at the end of the film she asks to be called 'MJ' - a common nickname for the character in the comics. The background of this reference isn't clear, but I like to think of it as a "fuck you" to the people who got irrationally angry about casting rumours that weren't even true.
Whatever the reason, it's like John Blake actually turning out to be called Robin in The Dark Knight Rises. Not the character from the comics, but still related in some weird roundabout way. Presumably there will be an actual Mary Jane in the MCU at some point, with the classic red hair.
In the post-credits scene Gargan confronts Toomes in prison, mentioning a bunch of people he knows on the outside that would love to kill Spider-Man - all they need is his name. While this might be me projecting on the film a bit, considering the fact post-credit scenes usually hint towards future films it seems likely that this is hinting at the Sinister Six - a team of villains that teams up to try and take down Spider-Man together.
In the comics Vulture was a member of the original Sinister Six, and Scorpion would join later iterations of the team. Film fans will know that Sony had planned a Sinister Six movie that was eventually cancelled when Spider-Man joined the MCU, and given how it's revived its other plans for spin-off films it would make sense that the Sinister Six was next on the agenda. We just have to wait and see how Toomes will use his knowledge of Peter Perker's identity should he join the team's ranks.