Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” may be the second reboot for the web-slinger on the big screen, but it’s a refreshing take on the superhero with a younger Peter Parker in the driver’s seat and a few twists and surprises.
However, one of the moments that will have a lot of fans talking long after the film is the return of a fan favorite to the Marvel Cinematic Universe who we never thought we’d see again.
Last chance to head back before major spoilers.
After a noticeable and surprising absence from “Captain America: Civil War,” Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts — and Tony Stark’s love interest — at the end of “Homecoming.”
It was a moment that caused the entire audience to gasp during our screening.
After an offscreen breakup mentioned in “Civil War,” Potts looks like she’s back working for Stark and the two have noticeably rekindled their relationship. Stark is ready to hold a big press conference to invite Spidey into the Avengers; however, when Peter decides he just wants to be a semi-normal kid in high school for a bit longer, Tony has to come up with another announcement for the press.
His answer? Billionaire playboy Tony Stark/Iron Man is finally getting married! Stark revealed a ring he’s been holding onto since 2008, the year the first “Iron Man” movie came out, and the two go to face the press.
Why Paltrow’s return to the MCU is a big deal
After sitting out of “Civil War,” we didn’t think we were going to see Paltrow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe again. For one thing, Paltrow had a three-film contract with Marvel which ended after “Iron Man 3.”
The way 2016’s “Civil War” dealt with Pepper Pott’s absence seemed pretty final. On the “Civil War” commentary, co-director Joe Russo explained a catalyst was needed to drive Tony to go after the Winter Soldier without someone to act as a voice of reason to stop him.
“The intent in this movie, because we knew where we were going with the character, [was] that we had to motivate Tony to want to kill Bucky Barnes in the third act in order for the third act to work correctly, that Tony would have to be off-balance,” said Russo. “The way that we thought we could make him off-balance was by pulling things out of his life, making him emotionally vulnerable. Really emotionally vulnerable. So, Pepper is out of his life. It clearly is an issue for him, as you can see, by Robert’s performance here.”
Sure, Potts probably wasn’t happy Stark returned to fighting crime after promising her he was done being Iron Man at the end of his third film. But her exit could have been handled better. A quick aside in “Civil War” told fans that Potts and Stark broke up offscreen. It was a pretty lame way to address the exit of a love interest who was in every “Iron Man” film, especially since Natalie Portman’s “Thor” character, Jane Foster, is being written out of the next Thor movie in the same way. EW reported Jane and Thor broke up offscreen, too.
Since Paltrow is in “Homecoming,” that likely means she reupped her contract with Marvel. It’s not known how many future Marvel movies the actress may appear in, but we’d like to think it’s more than one. Paltrow’s name appears in the main credits of the film before both Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr — two actors who have much more screen time in “Homecoming.”
INSIDER reached out to Paltrow’s rep and Sony to speak about her return to the franchise, but was told the actress is not doing press for the film since her cameo is so small.
Hopefully, the next Avengers movie, “Infinity War,” will clarify slightly how he and Pepper reconciled.
FOLLOW US: INSIDER is on Facebook