“He’s like Iron Man and Thor rolled into one.” These are the awed words of Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) when the students are watching a news cast of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) taking on a water elemental. This line may be one of the most important to uncovering just what is in store for audiences when Spider-Man: Far From Home, directed by Jon Watts, hits theaters next summer. There is the obvious question of how the heck is Peter Parker alive and on Earth following the infamous snap, however, this article is going to do just what the trailer did…ignore that question and pretend that everything is okay. We are going to explore just what the friendly neighborhood web-head is up against in his second solo film.[Spoilers for MCU movies]
Mysterio: The MCU’s Newest Trickster
Some of you may already be familiar with the fish-bowl-headed villain, but for those of you who are not, here is a little background for understanding his role in the upcoming movie. First appearing in the “Amazing Spider-Man #13”, Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio, is a special effects wizard. A man, who was at the top of the special-effects mountain but found that he was not receiving the recognition that he craved. After a failed acting career, a friend of his jokingly mentions that the quickest way to become famous was to be a costumed hero.
Assuming the Avengers make everything right in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, this could make for a compelling back story to the newest villain. Throughout the MCU the audience has seen that the Avengers have a lot of popularity. From the moment that Tony Stark revealed that he was Iron Man to a room of reporters, to the Avengers Tower having a prominent piece of real estate in New York City, to Thor being asked to pose for a selfie when he and Loki visit NYC at the start of Thor: Ragnorok. Even in Spider-Man: Homecoming, at the end when Tony Stark is going to have Peter Parker announce that he was joining the Avengers, it is revealed that a large group of reporters had gathered at the Avengers facility for the announcement.
Assuming that the world remembers what happened when Thanos halved the universe, then it would be safe to assume that the initial battle in New York City would have gone viral too. A fight that featured Iron Man, Wong, and Dr. Strange exhibiting their powers on the city streets. And that is the key piece to Mysterio’s master plan.
The 21st Century is all about becoming internet famous, and that continues in the MCU. Spider-Man sees that his actions are being caught on camera and being put on the web (sorry) for all to see. There is a scene in the Far From Home trailer where Spider-Man is swinging around with a phone, there is not much context but perhaps the web-slinger is taking selfies as he sight-sees and posting them for his adoring fans, Peter is of course a teenager, and let’s be real, who wouldn’t capitalize on their powers to get a few more followers.
Enter Mysterio, a master-special effects artist, who is fully capable of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and becoming world famous.
The Master Plan
From the trailer we know that Mysterio is not the only force that Spider-Man is going to have to deal with. The Elementals are wreaking havoc as well, and that is why Nick Fury seeks out Spider-Man. The Elementals are a little known super-villain group that are able to control four elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. While they have a basis in the comics as their own entity, there is a possibility that they have a different on-screen origin. Mysterio wants to become famous as a superhero, yet in the comics he has no real super-powers. So, why not create some?
As we already covered, Mysterio is a special effects master artist. He is capable of creating realistic effects to enthrall the masses. The Elementals could be just that. Special effects that can do some collateral damage and put up enough fight to make Spider-Man look like he is out of his league. How do special effects harm the wholly real web-head? Well, special effects do not have to be just computer generated, in fact because each of the Elementals appear in the real world, it is likely that most of their effects are practical effects.
This could be another layer to Mysterio’s back story. With films engaging more and more with computer based special effects, perhaps Quentin Beck was the master of practical effects, but has lost his job to the up and coming computer effects. This would give credence to why Jake Gyllenhaal, 38 years old, was cast for the role. Beck could have already had his brief moment of fame in an under appreciated position in an industry that no longer needs his skill-set. In part to get revenge for being passed over in the prime of his career and in part to become famous, Beck creates an enemy that only he can defeat.
It All Comes Together
Spider-Man is brought in by Nick Fury to take on the Elementals, a force that S.H.I.E.L.D. (or S.W.O.R.D. if they arise following Captain Marvel) cannot handle. In the trailer we see the water Elemental put a beat-down on Spidey before Mysterio, arrives in the nick of time to overpower the enemy. Mysterio appears to have a similar skill-set to Dr. Strange, wielding the same magic. This can be seen from the symbols that appear from his hands during the fight sequence. That is where the viral street fight that Dr. Strange fought off Thanos’ minions comes in.
Mysterio could have replicated the magic in special effects for himself to give the appearance that he has similar powers and is powerful enough to have taken on the water Elemental. Flash says that Mysterio is like “Iron Man and Thor rolled into one”. His entrance in the trailer also speaks of special effects. He appears out of green smoke, a classic method for masking trap-doors in plays. His armor gives him an other-wordly appearance, especially the fish-bowl he wears as a helmet, mixed with his mystical powers, and maybe some advanced tech that will be revealed in the fight sequence as well.
His performance in the fight is so impressive that people, like Flash, are led to believe that he is just as powerful as the big guns on the Avengers line-up. This plays out exactly to Mysterio’s plan. To put on an impressive enough show that he can be talked about in the same breath as the Avengers. This grants him the fame that he craves. The bonus is that Spider-Man appears to be struggling against the Elemental, and Mysterio shows up to not only best the Elemental, but save Spider-Man, a hero he has already been recognized for his capabilities. This single fight puts Mysterio at the top of the super-hero echelon, along with the heroes that had stood up to Thanos and who had saved the world from the likes of Loki and Ultron. This is exactly the kind of spotlight that Mysterio craves, and he gets it.
We will have to wait and see how Spider-Man is able to figure out what Mysterio is doing so that he can stop him from being innocents in danger for his show-boating.
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