spider-man far from home villain

Marvel movies love a good third-act twist, so it’s no surprise that Spider-Man: Far From Home has an eleventh-hour reveal as well. The Elementals that set upon the cities of Venice, Prague, and London are but the warm-up act for another threat. And not unlike Spider-Man’s previous foe in Spider-Man: Homecoming, this villain has more than a few ties to previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home follow.

A Mysterious Stranger

When Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Quentin Beck is introduced in Spider-Man: Far From Home, he is a noble-browed hero with a tragic backstory. Hailing from an alternate Earth that has been destroyed by the monstrous Elementals, mythic beings with powers to control the elements, Beck has traveled to this Earth in order to vanquish the threat that he failed to stop before. Going by the name Mysterio, Beck becomes an overnight sensation, dubbed by the media as the next Iron Man. He even steps into Tony’s shoes to mentor the young and impressionable Spider-Man, who struggles with the burden left to him by his idol, including a pair of glasses with some of Tony’s most advanced tech. Played with a solemn integrity by Gyllenhaal, Mysterio seemed like the hero that could fill the gap that Tony Stark left after the tragic events of Avengers: Endgame. Or so we think.

After Beck earns Peter’s trust and advises him on his ongoing crisis of balancing his personal and superheroic life, Peter decides that it was Mysterio that should inherit Tony’s glasses, E.D.I.T.H. (which, in classic Tony fashion is a cheeky acronym for “Even Dead I’m the Hero”). Peter passes on the glasses to Mysterio and happily goes on his way to continue being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and nothing more. But soon the illusion — literally — fades away and Mysterio is revealed to be not one man, but a whole team of disgruntled former Stark employees with Quentin Beck as the face of their vengeful organization. It’s a clever take on the classic Mysterio villain, who in the comics is a resentful stuntman/special effects designer who uses illusions to commit crimes.

BARF

It’s revealed that Quentin Beck’s goal the entire time in creating the Mysterio persona and earning Peter Parker’s trust was to acquire the E.D.I.T.H. glasses, which contained tech that could control an army of drones. The drones were essential in making real the threat of The Elementals, which are revealed to be incredibly realistic projections made using Beck’s technology that he built as a Stark employee: BARF. That’s right, the holographic technology that Tony Stark introduced in Captain America: Civil War is the source of the Mysterio’s power in Spider-Man: Far From Home. During Tony’s presentation of the tech at the beginning of Civil War, Beck is shown to be backstage and immediately incensed when Tony gives his marvelous technology a stupid name. Vindictive over this slight, Beck is soon fired and vows to become a far better superhero than Iron Man by manufacturing a huge conflict on a global stage in which he would swoop in and save the day.

But this petty jealousy is something he shares with a whole group of Stark employees, who he recruits to build the Mysterio persona. There’s someone to design the costume, someone to craft the tragic backstory of a hero from an alternate timeline (“Just ridiculous enough to be believable!” Beck praises), and another familiar face with an intimate knowledge of Stark tech.

A Box of Scraps

That’s right, it’s “box of scraps” guy! Former Stark scientist William Ginter Riva (Peter Billingsley) is the only character shown with an actual onscreen connection to Tony, having first appeared in Iron Man as the scientist enlisted by Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) to reverse-engineer the Iron Man armor to create the Iron Monger. But his failure apparently left him nursing a grudge against the great Tony Stark — you can kind of see in the above clip when he declares, “I’m sorry, but I’m not Tony Stark.”

The Mysterio group is just the latest example of the villains that have been created by Tony’s impact, and that Peter has to ultimately contend with. Homecoming did something similar by inserting Michael Keaton’s Vulture into scenes of the aftermath of the Battle of New York, in which he and his scrap team were denied a job because of Stark Industries’ takeover of the wreckage. Quentin Beck and his team’s motivation is ultimately a lot more petty (revenge, and also glory?), but it’s another way that Iron Man’s legacy is inextricably tied to Spider-Man.

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