[This post was originally published on the Amusement Park Podcast website.]
The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps on rolling. Though one stage of Marvel’s superhero epic reached a conclusion of sorts with Avengers: Endgame, the overarching story continues with Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home. (Technically, Phase 3 of the MCU ends with this film, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.)
If there was any question of where Far From Home fits in the MCU timeline, the movie’s new trailer makes that clear. (I speculated on the latest Amusement Park Podcast that it must take place between Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War, but was obviously wrong.) So clear, in fact, that Tom Holland issues a spoiler warning before the preview begins. If you haven’t seen Endgame, don’t watch this trailer because it gives away a major development from that film, one you won’t want spoiled.
So we’ll do our best to maintain that secrecy and make sure you go into Endgame fresh, able to enjoy its many surprises. It’s interesting that Marvel would go ahead with this when Endgame has only been in theaters for two weekends. But now we know why directors Joe and Anthony Russo declared that the spoiler ban would be over on Monday (May 6). There’s another movie to promote! And Marvel has about two months before Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters on July 2.
It’s been a while since we’ve broken down a trailer with some key takeaways. But it’s also been quite some time since a big trailer debuted to provide that opportunity. (Did we miss the boat on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Maybe, but there wasn’t a whole lot to go on from that teaser.) This second look at Far From Home gives us a whole lot to chew on, so let’s dig in.
(Naturally, we’ll move past the first takeaway since it involves the major spoiler that Tom Holland warns viewers about from the start.)
Do Superheroes Get Vacations?
One perk of being a costumed crimefighter definitely isn’t paid vacation time. Most of them are too obsessed or dedicated to take time off. Bruce Wayne could take a vacation any time he wants, but Batman is always on watch. (Unless you count trips to the Middle East to take on Ra’s Al Ghul.) Tony Stark would probably take vacations, but he’s probably inventing two or three new Iron Man suits or creating new tech for the Avengers while on the beach with Pepper Potts.
Going on a trip that any high school student would covet, yet having his superhero duties eventually interfere with trying to enjoy himself and become closer with his classmates, is a classic Spider-Man conundrum. Peter Parker doesn’t get to be a regular high school kid. Something about great responsibility that comes with great power? Or Nick Fury stealthily barging into his hotel room…
Peter, Meet Quentin
In its recent summer movie preview, Entertainment Weekly ran a photo of an unmasked Peter Parker and Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) shaking hands that raised many questions among fans. Why would Spider-Man and Mysterio be shaking hands and revealing their secret identities to each other? (This seems even more peculiar for Peter, who has so much more at stake.)
But the new trailer fills in some blanks, revealing that Beck appears to be working with S.H.I.E.L.D. (or whatever agency Nick Fury is in charge of now). But the bigger, more important revelation is that, according to Fury, Beck isn’t of this Earth. Or at least the familiar Earth on which Peter Parker and our favorite cast of characters resides. Thanos’s snap played havoc with whatever walls existed between dimensions, somehow bringing Beck to this Earth.
Is Far From Home opening the door to a multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? That path already seems to have been opened with the Quantum Realm in the Ant-Man movies and Endgame. Other galaxies and dimensions have been a big part of the MCU with the Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel films. Or is this something entirely new?
Who — or What — is Mysterio?
After the first Far From Home trailer was released, I mentioned that Mysterio’s suit would fit right in on Asgard and his apparent powers resemble Doctor Strange’s. Maybe Beck is the Sorcerer Supreme of his alternate universe or something close to that? Could he be a demi-god of some kind? No need for Thor or Captain Marvel if someone of that power level is around to team up with Spider-Man.
If so, that’s a vast departure from the comic books, in which Beck is a failed stuntman and special effects whiz who uses his expertise and technology to fuel a life of crime. Spidey purists might take some issue with this, but Marvel’s movies have had no issue with veering away from the source material to best suit their stories. And those decisions almost always work out for the best.
Or is this all an elaborate scam — including classic Spidey villains Sandman, Molten Man and Hydro-Man — that Beck is playing on Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.? That would be more faithful to the character. (Mysterio’s costume, with that distinctive helmet globe, sure is.)
Nothing Gets Past MJ
The MCU is taking a much different, fresher angle on Spider-Man mythology. One of the best examples of that is “MJ,” Peter Parker’s love interest (played by Zendaya). The “MJ” isn’t for “Mary Jane,” leaving the door open for Mary Jane Watson if Marvel or Sony ever wants to go there in the future. This MJ is listed as “Michelle Jones” on IMDB and presumably in the film’s credits.
This MJ isn’t an aspiring model or actress, and she’s most certainly not interested in being defined as “the girlfriend” in this narrative or being appreciated solely for her looks. She’s smart, on par with Peter, which makes her amusingly intimidating. She’s also no fool, as revealed in this trailer, when she tells Peter that she knows he’s Spider-Man.
As she points out, wouldn’t it be kind of obvious? In Homecoming, Spider-Man appears in Washington, D.C. when Peter and his classmates are there on a field trip. In Far From Home, Spidey’s friendly neighborhood extends to London while the class is there again. And where is Peter when Spider-Man appears anyway?
Adapting classic comic book stories and narratives into movies often forces a postmodern take on these tales. That sometimes requires pointing out some obvious flaws which end up hurting characters. How could Lois Lane not know Clark Kent is Superman? (Man of Steel took care of that nicely by avoiding the issue entirely.) And how could at least one of Peter’s classmates not figure out that he is Spider-Man? Where Marvel goes with this in future Spidey films, presuming there’s at least one more, could be intriguing.
More Happy Hogan, Please
We don’t ask much from Marvel because they already do such an excellent job of giving us what we want and what we didn’t realize we wanted. But with Disney+ on the way and several Marvel limited TV series soon to come — including shows featuring Loki, Wanda and Vision, and The Falcon and Winter Soldier — how about providing us with the Happy Hogan series that we all want?
(OK, I shouldn’t speak for everyone. Maybe you don’t want a Happy Hogan TV show. But c’mon, think about it. Don’t you really?)
Will Happy get to visit Downton Abbey when he’s in London? We know from Iron Man 3 that he’s a big fan. Sure, this is a Spider-Man movie, but at least give the big guy his moment this time around. He works with Spider-Man, not for Spider-Man, after all.
He’s been a quietly underrated character in the Iron Man movies, upgraded to a more comedic supporting role in the Spider-Man films, and — without giving away spoilers — he also has one of the most touching moments in Avengers: Endgame. He’s the liaison between Tony Stark and Peter Parker, essentially being the surrogate mentor that Tony can’t or doesn’t want to be. He’s slightly miffed at having to be a babysitter because he really wants to be in charge of this high school kid. And we know he has delusions of being a bit more important than he really is.
Jon Favreau is busy with his own Disney+ project, overseeing the Star Wars Mandalorian series for the fledgling streaming provider. And he’s a man in demand, directing big blockbusters like The Jungle Book and The Lion King. But maybe when he’s done with those obligations, there could be some time to give Happy (and Favreau the actor) the showcase that he’s always deserved.