Does the MCU's Spider-Man Need Uncle Ben: Fans Weigh in?

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, since the character’s first appearance in Civil War — and throughout his MCU run — has been hailed as the best Peter Parker by fans and critics alike. 

Some will argue that Tobey Maguire will always be the Peter Parker, as he occupies that special sector in our hearts reserved for nostalgia and reminiscence. However, Holland’s portrayal adequately delivers on both character fronts: he is a convincing Peter Parker and a convincing Spidey. While Garfield and Maguire, arguably, were a great Spidey and an incomparable Parker, respectively.

While Tom Holland’s Peter Parker continues to impress, gaining a fandom so vital to Disney that the media conglomerate will do anything to retain him, Uncle Ben has failed to enter the picture (literally and metaphorically).

While Marisa Tomei came to the MCU’s silver screen in the form of a fun-loving Aunt May, Uncle Ben has yet to make an appearance. Has he even been mentioned in passing? If you have to wonder, the character has virtually been dismissed from the narrative. With two standalone Spidey installments now behind us (and several Parker appearances spanning the Avengers saga), will Uncle Ben ever appear? If not, how do fans feel about a Spider-verse without him? 

Is Spider-Man the same without Uncle Ben?

While many critics and fans agree that Tony Stark and Peter Parker’s relationship in the MCU made for a unique take on the superhero’s origin story, many Marvel enthusiasts argue that such a dynamic does not excuse Uncle Ben’s absence. In a discussion concerning Uncle Ben’s relevance to Peter Parker’s narrative journey, one fan stated:

Without uncle ben there is no Spider-Man. If uncle ben never existed and never gave Peter the wisdom of with great power comes great responsibility peter would just use his powers for crime or self gain.

Making Tony his uncle ben defeats the whole purpose of his character arch origin. This billionaire super hero he wants to impress. It’s sad but some people love it so what can you do

Many fans agree that Uncle Ben’s death is not all that mattered; Uncle Ben’s existence and role as a mentor to Peter Parker made Parker who he is. 

Did the MCU drop the ball with Uncle Ben? 

The movie does not need to show Uncle Ben’s death; however, the films should, in some way, allude to the significance the character retained while alive. One fan explained:

Nobody is saying “show us the origin” again. You can have Ben be an integral part of a Spidey film without showing his death. Have Peter and May reminisce about him…show some flashbacks to great times between the two or three of them…have Peter visit his grave in a moment of doubt and fear.

I’d argue Ben is THE most important parent figure in comics. Sure, Batman is driven by his parents murder-but that motivation is an engine for his crusade. He wants to honor them and make them proud…but he doesn’t neccessarily try to emulate his father and mother. Peter tries to live by Uncle Ben’s teachings everyday. Ben’s influences are a more prominent narrative focus than the Waynes or the Kents and El’s, etc.

While the Spider-Man films have been successful, many fans agree that Uncle Ben’s absence has proved to be a missed opportunity. Uncle Ben carries value. Uncle Ben is a parental figure who cannot and should not be replaced by another superhero. 

You can argue that fans are so familiar with the Uncle Ben’s story that it has grown old hat, but that same familiarity could have been utilized to the MCU’s benefit, changing the typical origin story to include Uncle Ben in a unique way, in a manner more in-line with the MCU’s comedic and adventure-oriented tone. 

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