Ant-Man was the epilogue to Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Two, and Spider-Man: Far From Home is the epilogue to its Phase Three. But while Ant-Man didn’t really have much to do with the previous film, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Far From Home is a direct continuation of Avengers: Endgame. Tony Stark is dead. Long live the… new Tony Stark? Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it’s got to be especially heavy for a 16-year-old kid from Queens. Enough purple prose, let’s wrap up MCU March!
8 months after half the world’s population returned at the end of Avengers: Endgame (meaning this takes place after WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Peter and his classmates are taking a school-sponsored summer trip to Europe. While there he runs into savage elemental creatures and meets a new hero, Quentin Beck, AKA Mysterio (Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal). Hey, don’t we the audience know him as an established Spider-Man villain who uses illusions and deception? Nah, it’s cool–this Mysterio has powers, is from a parallel Earth, and has the support of Nick Fury. Peter is dealing with the possibility that he is the one expected to carry on Iron Man’s legacy, and some missteps convince him he’s not the right guy. He entrusts Beck with Tony’s defense satellite systems, which is a bad decision because Mysterio is really a vengeful ex-employee of Stark’s who uses illusions and deception (and has no real powers). Spider-Man defeats Beck, who dies in part due to his own hubris. The day is saved, Peter gets with MJ–who learned his identity–and the movie ends with the two web swinging through New York City (MJ hates it).
The mid-credits scene takes place seconds later, where the news reveals that Beck made a video/contingency plan right before his death where he claims Spider-Man was responsible for everything. J Jonah Jameson (once again played by JK Simmons) is an Alex Jones stand-in who plays the last bit of the clip: Mysterio revealing Spider-Man’s secret identity to the world. The post-credits scene reveals that Nick Fury and Maria Hill were actually the Skrulls Talos and Soren, last seen in Captain Marvel. The real Nick Fury is on a space station manned by Skrulls.
This film hit Peter Parker right where he’s weakest: his need to have a father figure. The ghost of Uncle Ben hovers over all these movies and this is not so much an epilogue to Avengers: Endgame as it is an epilogue to the funeral of Tony Stark. Beck comes in like a fun uncle and listens to Peter’s problems when Fury wants none of that, so Pete trusts him way faster than he should. Granted, “Nick Fury” also trusts him meaning we the audience question what we really know about this Mysterio. Maybe he actually is a hero and the elemental monsters are the real villains! Maybe he actually was from Earth 833, which in the comics happens to be the homeworld of Spider-UK! Maybe the concept of a multiverse, introduced in Doctor Strange, is being expanded! I mean, it is, but not really. That’ll come later.
Also, shoutout to Zach Barack, an openly trans actor who played one of Spider-Man’s background classmates. I noticed you and appreciate you making the MCU just a little bit more queer inclusive.
COMIC BOOK FUN FACT! This is not the first time that the world has known Spider-Man’s secret identity. During the Civil War event (I talked about it in the Captain America: Civil War post), Spider-Man had joined the pro-superhero registration side in part because he believed in it, but mostly because Iron Man was acting like a surrogate father figure. It’s a theme, you see. Anyway, as the biggest person on the pro side with a secret identity, he was convinced to go on television and publicly unmask. The aftermath was… a lot. After turning against Iron Man because Tony’s methods were becoming too extreme, Spider-Man became an outlaw. Then Aunt May was shot in Amazing Spider-Man #538 (2007) by one of the Kingpin’s goons. This led to one of the most infamous and poorly received Spider-Man stories ever, One More Day (2007), which saw Peter make a deal with the devil Mephisto to save May’s life in exchange for Peter’s marriage to Mary Jane. Weird deal, right? Well, it was all because editor-in-chief Joe Quesada thought Spider-Man’s marriage aged the character and held him back, so sure, deals with literal devils. Oh, and it was much later revealed that around that time Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, and Iron Man wiped the world’s memory of Spider-Man’s identity, but at the time it appeared that was just a freebie from Mephisto–again–a demonic being that is often mistaken for the actual Satan. It was an all around shitshow.
So, uh… that’s it for MCU March! Thanks for sticking around and I hope you had fun! I… sort of had fun? It was a treat to rewatch these films with hindsight, but so many posts a week quickly became a chore. No more big events for a while, I promise.
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Next: Spider-Man: No Way Home
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