HEAT VISION

Is the 'Avengers' Twist in 'Spider-Man' Trailer a Lie?

Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio is known for illusions.

Judging by the new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jake Gyllenhaal plays “Mr. Beck,” a character from another Earth who’s arrived on the main Marvel Cinematic Earth Earth because, in the words of Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, “the Snap tore a hole in our dimension.”

Don’t fall for it.

Sure, there’s the potential for this to be the case, and if so, it would even make sense: Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse introduced the multiverse as it related to Spider-Man, and Avengers: Endgame made a point of explaining how multiverses work inside the MCU. If there’s a logical next step for Spider-Man: Far From Home to take, it’s doing something related to parallel Earths — and if there’s a logical villain to do it with, it’s Beck, who traveled between realities for the 2012 Spider-Men comic book series in which Peter Parker and Miles Morales met for the first time.

For that matter, the idea of Mysterio being from a different Earth gives the title of the movie a different, deeper, meaning. Peter Parker may be “far from home” by superheroing for the fate of the planet while on vacation, but Beck being from a different planet altogether is as far from home as it gets. So, what we saw in the trailer all makes a lot of sense, if it turns out to not be a ruse. And yet, two things need to be remembered.

One, Marvel likes to mislead with their trailers, from the trailers for Avengers: Endgame being cut from, essentially, the first 30 minutes of a three-hour-long movie to the fact that both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame included digitally altered shots that either digitally placed or removed characters from scenes in order to keep fans guessing. That Far From Home features a multiverse-spanning storyline feels like a surprisingly big fact to just put out there in a trailer could be a feint on behalf of Marvel; note that, while we hear Nick Fury explain that Beck comes from a different Earth, we don’t actually get to see him say it — it could easily be a strange trailer-only piece of expositionary looping.

Of course, there could be a secondary con going on. After all, “Mr. Beck” isn’t just Mr. Beck in the source material. Longtime Spider-Man fans know him as Mysterio, a villain who debuted in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man No. 13 as a special effects expert and stuntman who started putting his skills at creating illusions to crime in the name of profit. To put it simply: Mysterio’s entire gimmick is misdirection. That he would try to take advantage of the fact that Earth is recovering from Thanoss snap for fun and profit is entirely consistent with the character’s comic book origins — and also a pretty good plan, if you want to get access to the kinds of secrets, technology and assorted information that you could then profit from on the black market.

This is, after all, a villain who once tried to defeat Spider-Man through driving him to despair with an elaborate ruse that involved creating a fake retirement home — called, wonderfully, the Restwell Retirement Home — and then actually running it, with other retirees staying there, for a matter of time all so that he could pretend that Peter Parker’s Aunt May has died. Overly elaborate schemes are pretty much his thing. In comparison, pretending to be a superhero from another world feels like something he could whip up in his sleep.

As I pointed out above, there are many reasons to argue in favor of the twist offered up in the Far From Home trailer, and it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea to pursue. But … if that’s really the story that filmmakers wanted to tell, there are more than enough actual superheroes in Marvel’s library to choose to tell it with. When the mysterious hero from another world has the name and costume of a character better known for being someone who likes to lie and create illusions as his entire gimmick … Well. Maybe a little more caution should be applied.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is released July 2.

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