Spider-Man: Far From Home spins another web of humour, adventure and intrigue, as Tom Holland's superhero steps up in the wake of Avengers: Endgame.
The movie expands the canvas of the Spider-Man universe, both thematically and visually, as Peter Parker's emotional growth plays out against a backdrop of glamorous European locations, where he's vacationing with his school friends. It's on the Continent that Peter is paired up with Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) at the behest of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – and this initial meet-and-greet is eventually revealed to have serious ramifications.
With spoilers, here is our mid and post credits scene breakdown, examining the potential impact of Far From Home on Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)...
What happens at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home?
Far From Home occupies a 'post-blip' world – blip being the term that describes those snapped back into existence after the events of Avengers: Endgame. At the same time, Peter must also grapple with his feelings for MJ (Zendaya) who, in the midst of a romantic nighttime Prague jaunt, reveals she knows he's Spider-Man.
Even more significantly, it's revealed that Spider-Man's apparent ally Mysterio, with whom he's been working to defeat the Elementals, is in fact the villain of the piece. He's been using elaborate projections and drone strikes to create the illusion of the Elementals attacking European cities such as Venice – in so doing, he hopes to emerge as the world's new saviour, in the process expunging the memory of the late Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr).
His motivation: revenge – he's an ex-Stark Industries employee whose tech was 'adopted' by Tony, leading to feelings of betrayal, an intriguing ret-con of Tony's apparently affable persona that adds an air of posthumous ruthlessness to the Iron Man mythology. (Of course, Mysterio isn't the first to feel this – in 2013's Iron Man 3, a flashback reveals Guy Pearce's Aldrich Killian was spurned by Tony, leading to a vengeance-fuelled vendetta.)
Following Spider-Man's climactic defeat of Mysterio at London's Tower Bridge, he returns to New York and takes new girlfriend MJ on a hair-raising swing through the city. It appears that the friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler has found it within himself to become an Avenger, impressing Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) in the process. But there's a twist coming...
What does the Far From Home mid-credits scene mean for Peter Parker?
Having taken MJ on her inaugural flight through New York, Peter is confronted with a news bulletin in Times Square, introduced by none other than the brash J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons, reprising his role from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films). It turns out the late Mysterio recorded a video before he died and leaked it to the press, implicating Spider-Man as the person responsible for his death. And as a final sucker-punch, Mysterio also leaks Peter's true identity...
So what does this mean? Well, it's a clear allusion to the history of Mysterio and Spidey's rivalry from the comics – at one point, the villainous master of illusion is even able to convince Peter he has a double. However, he appears to be pretty definitively dead at the end of Far From Home, which seemingly puts the kibosh on a future appearance – or does it?
As evidenced in Far From Home, Beck needn't be alive in order for his presence to be felt. For all we know, he could have recorded even more elaborate illusion videos prior to his death, which could further complicate Spider-Man's life and turn the tide of public opinion against him. This would be a neat way of alluding to the comic book heritage even when the character is dead and buried, not to mention it would allow Jake Gyllenhaal to reprise his terrific portrayal.
Let's not also forget, there's one who got away at the end of Far From Home: Beck's assistant and former Stark Industries employee William (Peter Billingsley), witnessed in 2008's Iron Man being berated by Tony's mentor/nemesis Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). Following Mysterio's death, we glimpse William shutting down his computer and leaving with some tech – does this spell further bad news for Peter? And are we potentially looking at the heir apparent to the Mysterio mantle?
At the same time, there may also be ramifications for Peter's personal growth. Now that he's been outed, he may be compelled to balance the competing pressures of his ordinary teenage existence and his Spider-Man persona – this would draw him even closer to the legacy of his own mentor Tony Stark, who operated on a dual level in the public eye as both billionaire playboy industrialist and avenging superhero.
Is this set to be the real test of Peter's mettle as he pilots a course to become a fully-fledged Avenger? It's the sort of challenge that turns a boy into a man, but on a more immediate level, it's clear that Peter has now been framed as a bad guy. With Phase Four of the MCU looming, maybe we'll be confronted with the notion of Spider-Man as a fugitive – perhaps he'll be forced to take refuge in a distant galaxy with the likes of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)? And on that note...
What's the significance of the Far From Home post-credits scene?
It was clear at the end of this year's Captain Marvel that the title character's mythology and background was set to play a significant role in phase four of the MCU. And Far From Home confirms it with a post-credits shocker: it turns out the Nick Fury and Maria Hill we've been following throughout the movie are in fact shape-shifting Skrulls in disguise. More specifically, they're Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his wife, initially established as the villains of Captain Marvel before eventually being revealed as victims of the ruthless Kree's war-mongering vendetta.
Nick Fury, it turns out, has his feet up while sat aboard a Skrull spaceship – presumably this is the kind of respite needed after the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But more than an amusing throwaway gag, it also seems to foreshadow where the MCU is headed. The introduction of Captain Marvel as a character promises to open the doors to previously undisclosed realms – as she says herself in Avengers: Endgame, there are a lot of galaxies that need defending, and they don't necessarily have a team of Avengers to do the job.
So one of the key questions is this: was it the real Nick Fury we spotted during Tony's funeral at the climax of Endgame? In an interview with Digital Spy, director Jon Watts confirms that it is: "I think it's the real Nick Fury at the funeral, and I think Talos got a debrief from Nick Fury about this the last time they saw each other. Talos is really good, so he would have gotten a lot of tips along the way how to play this character."
We don't know where Fury and the Skrulls are headed at the end of Far From Home, but it excitingly portends a new dawn in the franchise. There's also an interesting chronological observation: the alliance between Fury, Captain Marvel and the Skrulls arose at the end of the Captain Marvel movie, which is set in 1995. Far From Home is set months after Avengers: Endgame in the 2018/2019 period, which leaves a good 14/15 years of the Fury/Skrull partnership unexplored.
Who's to say, therefore, that the Skrulls haven't already appeared, disguised, in a previous MCU movie? This would be another neat way to ret-con events throughout the series, showing how the shape-shifting aliens have been on Earth working in and among the Avengers for longer than we dared to think. On a more general note, there's clearly a lot of untapped potential in the history of the Skrulls, namely their persecution at the hands of the Kree and their ensuing refugee status – this is surely being set up as a key facet of the next Captain Marvel movie, and it may also play into other MCU titles.
Returning to Mysterio for a moment – his reveal as the antagonist also throws into doubt his claim that he hails from the 'multiverse'. We thought Far From Home would act as our introduction to the live-action Spider-Man shared universe (previously seen in animation Spider-Man: Into the Multi-Verse), but Mysterio claims it's all part of the facade designed to fool Nick Fury, Spider-Man and the wider world.
Does such a multiverse therefore exist? Jon Watts says we shouldn't rule it out. "I like to think the fact that Maria and Fury – who aren't actually Maria and Fury – the fact that they buy this multiverse story, to me, it lends some credence to the fact that there may actually be a multiverse," he says. "Maybe we don't know about it, but it seems like kind of the Skrulls do. At Marvel, you feel like everything is on the table, which is very fun."
Let's not forget Marvel chief Kevin Feige has already confirmed the existence of the multiverse: "I mean, in Doctor Strange, we hear the Ancient One talk about the multiverse, so we've already established it as a thing."
Is this all smoke and mirrors a la one of Mysterio's illusions? It's rumoured that Marvel's phase four slate will finally be revealed at the Disney D23 Expo this August, so for now let's continue to speculate.
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