Because it was marketed as a lighthearted follow up to Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home didn’t initially seem as if it was going to be a movie that had any sort of major repercussions for the larger MCU. It was just going to be a movie about Peter Parker bopping around Europe and befriending weirdos in capes. But then the film hit cinemas and people actually go to see Marvel Studios’ take on Mysterio.
And then there was that out-of-left-field mid-credits scene.
Just when it seems as if Spider-Man’s saved the day and finally gone out on a proper date with MJ, everything comes to a screeching halt when a very Alex Jones-esque J. Jonah Jameson breaks the news that Spider-Man and Peter Parker are one and the same. Jameson’s scoop isn’t the product of any real journalistic work he’s done, but rather because Quentin Beck framed Peter for all of the chaos and destruction he caused as part of his Mysterio plan.
Rather than revealing himself to be a villain, Beck instead chooses to die a false hero and out Peter to the world, which is arguably the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to him, not counting the deaths of his multiple father figures (Beck included, kinda.) In the moment, it seems very much like Peter’s life is about to fall apart, but in a recent interview with Tthe Hollywood Reporter, Jake Gyllenhaal shared a different perspective.
After months of playing coy about Mysterio being a villain, Gyllenhaal was frank about the character’s villainy, but he argued that while what he did to Peter might’ve hurt him in the moment, he’s ultimately going to be better off for it:
So often, we’re used to the same structure, particularly in very large movies, and it takes a lot of courage to leave on those kinds of cliffhangers. The way I look at it is twofold: Mysterio exists as someone to teach Peter Parker a lesson. In my opinion, there’s no use for just a straight-up bad guy unless there’s a lesson to be learned. And the lesson, particularly for Peter, is what is growing up for real.
The courage that the filmmakers had in Far From Home to say, ‘We’re gonna bring in a villain that’s going to turn Peter’s world upside down and force him to be who he actually is to the whole world. Nothing’s a secret anymore,’ that was amazing. As an audience member, not as the person who played Mysterio, I believe in Peter Parker, and I believe in Spider-Man, his power and how strong he is. What Mysterio reveals will end up helping Peter, somewhere. He’ll learn from it, and those are the best characters. The characters who teach our heroes a lesson don’t always have to be like Obi-Wan.
Gyllenhaal makes a solid point about Peter having learned from his experiences with Mysterio both as an ally and an enemy, and you can see that borne out in Far From Home itself. Though Beck’s insistence on Peter making time to enjoy his life as a normal person was part of his ploy to obtain E.D.I.T.H., his advice was valuable all the same because being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance is important, even for superheroes. Mysterio genuinely liked Peter right up until the very end when he was trying to murder him and, in his own twisted way, and that reveal was really just his way of saying “you got this, kid. Go get em.”
Featured image: Woohae Cho (Getty)