Between the universe-hopping antics of Loki and the time-traveling chaos in Endgame, even the most hardcore of MCU fans sometimes struggle to keep up with the timeline. We can’t stop catching inconsistencies, and one of the most major ones to have bothered fans is in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In the first movie of the Spider-Man MCU trilogy, things kick off when Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes (AKA: Vulture) is part of a clean-up crew working to rebuild the city after the events of The Avengers. We then skip ahead ‘8 years later’, to when Peter Parker’s story begins. Well, for those of us well-acquainted with the Marvel movies in order, this doesn’t make sense.
It’s an oversight that Loki’s Miss Minutes tries to explain away in the new book, ‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe — An Official Timeline,’ saying: “Redline alert! Hi again! Adrian Toomes says the Battle of New York was eight years ago, but that event was only four years prior. This one’s a real head-scratcher for us — I reckon an analyst misplaced the case file.”
If you’re still scratching your head, let us explain. The Battle of New York took place in 2012, and then in 2016, Peter Parker is enlisted by Tony Stark to help out in Civil War. The events of Homecoming take place directly after this, so that subtitle should really read ‘4 years later’.
Miss Minutes’ explanation seems a little…half-baked. And, frankly, if Marvel is using the TVA‘s AI system to try to explain away their mild timeline errors, then you know things are complicated behind the scenes. And honestly, should we even trust her? Throughout the Marvel series, Miss Minutes has gone from helpful TVA aide to potential villain. Bad motives!
All this raises the question of whether Marvel actually needs to address these issues in the first place. While the timeline is only set to get bigger and bigger with the upcoming Marvel movies in Phase 6, it seems a little senseless for the studio to try to address every little oversight.
Of course, for some, this isn’t a “little oversight.” A complete misplacement of four years could be considered a major flub from a $53 billion company whose entire output hinges on various timelines and universes. But even if it was essential they correct the mistake or address it directly, it seems a little lazy to let it be done so with a cutesy, confused comment from a fictional character.
But when all is said and done, Spider-Man: Homecoming is still one of the best movies in the franchise, having put a fresh, young take on the web-slinging hero and providing one of the biggest twists on a Marvel villain we’ve ever seen. With that in mind, we’re happy to overlook a couple of fictional years.
With Phase 5 in full swing and with alternate worlds still, to come with the likes of Deadpool 3, we have to wonder if Miss Minutes is going to pop up each and every time Marvel makes a timeline error. If so, this talking clock is going to end up less of a bona fide Marvel character and more of a studio tool.
To see what else is to come in the Marvel collective, check out our guides to The Marvels, The Thunderbolts release date, and all the other new movies coming soon. You can also check out our list of the best movies of all time and take a look at our feature on why the MCU is making the same mistake Marvel Comics did years ago.