Peter Parker is really bad at having a crush. The biggest plot twist in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first Spidey standalone film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring Tom Holland as the titular web-slinger, is a doozy, but it catches Peter by surprise in a way that maybe it realistically shouldn’t have.
This post contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
To be fair, 15-year-old boys aren’t known for their observational skills. But when you’re a suited superhero on the hunt for a masked, winged villain who’s bent on revenge against you and your billionaire mentor, you’d think said 15-year-old boy, Peter, would work on his observational super-skills. When Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) opens the door and we learn he’s Liz’s dad, Peter’s shock is palpable. As satisfying a moment as it might have been, all it really does is prove how far Peter has to go in his superhero skills and, honestly, his crush-having skills.
No, Peter can’t conjure an army of spiders (much to Ned’s disappointment) but he should have been able to conjure up Liz’s name or her dad’s face.
Addressing the latter point first: there’s no way Liz’s parents, who sent her to a competitive private school for geniuses and seem incredibly loving and involved in their daughter’s life, wouldn’t have been to school functions before. Their daughter is the captain of the debate team (of which Peter is a member) and they certainly would have attended competitions in the past where Peter would have seen them because all he does is stare at Liz.
Then there’s the issue of Liz’s name. While Karen, the A.I. living in Peter’s Spidey suit, doesn’t have a criminal record for Adrian Toomes and, therefore, no name, Peter spends a good amount of time stalking Toomes and his various goons. And while the goons were wont to use terms such as “boss” in place of a real name, it’s unrealistic that Peter would have never heard them use Toomes’s name while he was listening in with the use of his Stark upgrades.
What’s also unrealistic is a stereotypical Americana blue collar worker such as Toomes not wanting his only daughter to carry his name. In Marvel’s comics, Liz’s last name is Allan. This leads to the assumption that Liz’s name in Homecoming is either Liz Toomes or Liz Allan-Toomes, as there aren’t any hints in the film that Liz is adopted or would have a name that differs from her parents.
And if Peter had been listening in on Toomes’s goons like he should have been, heard the name “Toomes,” and actually known his crush’s last name, things might have turned out a little differently. It just wouldn’t have been nearly as fun a plot twist.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is now in theaters.