Spider-Man: Homecoming might be the freshest Marvel superhero film we’ve seen in a while, but that doesn’t mean it can escape some fundamental qualities of the franchise — multiple post-credit scenes.
Homecoming has two, one half-way through the credits, and one at the very end. Let’s tackle the last one first.
Warning: This post will contain spoilers for major reveals in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Our final credits sequence continues one of Homecoming’s best running gags — the series of PSA videos starring Captain America (complete with his Avengers-era costume) that Peter’s high school uses for seemingly every occasion. It’s also the movie’s second nod to a film that clearly inspired Homecoming, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
But there isn’t much else there to explain. It’s a joke; it’s not plot-relevant.
So let’s go over the mid-credits scene.
Here, we see Adrian Toomes, the Vulture, early on in his stay in prison for theft and exotic gunrunning. He encounters a fellow inmate, who commiserates with him about being thrown in jail by the Spider-Man. But, the tattooed inmate says, he’s heard that Toomes knows who Spider-Man is under the costume. If Adrian will tell him who the webslinger is, he and a few other inmates have plans to get revenge for all of them.
The character’s scorpion tattoo may very well be a subtle hint at the Spider-Man villain Scorpion, who shares many of Spider-Man’s abilities, but most famously is equipped with a seven-foot, cybernetic, stinging tail.
But rather than setting up for an eventual villain team up, Spider-Man: Homecoming does something very different. Toomes tells “Scorpion” that the rumor he heard is false: He has no idea who Spider-Man is, and smiles to himself as he walks away. This would seem to confirm what is more subtly presented elsewhere in the movie — that Toomes doesn’t have a super villain-style vendetta against a 15-year-old kid.
After all, in the final moments of Homecoming’s climax, Toomes opts to try to get away with a crate of priceless arc reactors instead of delivering a killing blow to an exhausted Spider-Man — valuing his family over revenge. And when those reactors explode, Peter saves him from the blast, despite the multiple times Toomes has tried to kill him.
Vulture committed crimes because he wanted to keep his family comfortable and safe, not because he had delusions of villainous grandeur. And now that his immoral career has been brought to light, he knows that pursuing a vendetta against a good-hearted teenage vigilante who saved his life — a kid that he knows is a friend of his daughter’s — will only bring his family more pain.
It’s a rare ending for a supervillain, in a genre where they almost always wind up dead or emotionally deranged, and Toomes’ arc is only one of the smart twists that Spider-Man: Homecoming brings to the table.