(This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Spider-Man: Far From Home)
After watching Far From Home, which is definitely the new Iron Man 3, again in theaters, I’m even more in love with the movie and what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading towards. It looks like they are grooming Tom Holland’s Peter Parker to take over as the next Tony Stark, quite possibly the first person with the keys to the kingdom that isn’t a closed-off alcoholic layered in snark and emotional unavailability.
The first Far From Home post-credits scene all but cements my theory as J. Jonah Jameson, who is played once again by that State Farm guy, revealed to the whole world that Spider-Man’s true identity is indeed Peter Parker. It was a real Tony Stark moment for the young teen, although he wasn’t in control of his “I am Iron Man” moment like Robert Downey Jr.’s character was ten years ago.
So much for future tech exec Peter Parker trying to explain Spidey’s constant presence because he was his bodyguard…
It was a shocking scene no doubt wrapped up in the “fake news” footage provided by Mysterio (or one of his teammates) and hysterical Alex Jones-style reporting of JJJ. Spider-Man was always falsely represented in the media, decades before “fake news” became a part of our lives we all just accepted and got along with our day.
Hey, was Alex Jones inspired by J. Jonah Jameson as a kid?
This isn’t funny anymore, it’s getting way too real…
Anyway, while watching Far From Home a second time, it occurred to me that this movie was more than just another Spider-Man sequel. It was, in fact, his own little Iron Man 3, for a number of reasons.
Both Happened Right After an Avengers Movie
Iron Man 3 was the first Marvel movie to hit the big screen after the first Avengers movie, which blew the collective minds of comic book and film fans everywhere. Kevin Feige and crew had just changed the game and fans were consuming everything Marvel released in moving picture form at this point, especially the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series starring fan-favorite former corpse Phil Coulson.
The public was so eager to see what happened next in the ongoing storyline and they showed up in droves to the Robert Downey Jr.’s final solo installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man 3 made more than Iron Man and Iron Man 2 did combined at the box office. Though widely panned as one of the worst Marvel movies (aside from the Thor sequel The Dark World), it was still a great movie. But, we’ll get there later.
Far From Home was also the first Marvel movie to hit the big screen after an Avengers movie. This time it was the $2.7 billion grossing juggernaut of a film known as Endgame. Just like Iron Man 3, the movie is benefitting from post-Avengers excitement. It was the number one movie two weeks in a row and steadily climbing up to be another one of the $1+ billion paydays that executives have learned to expect from almost every Marvel outing. Of course, Spider-Man being the most recognizable Marvel character EVER didn’t hurt either, but you get the point.
Both Dealt With the Effects of PTSD After Saving the World
Iron Man 3 found a Tony Stark still struggling to process the events that unfolded in the first Avengers. He and his comrades had saved the world from an alien invasion and he was riding a wave of unprecedented popularity that comes from that.
However, he also had to fly through a wormhole or whatever it was to blow up an alien spaceship. Then he free-fell through space in nothing but his metal suit. The event left our hero shook up, to say the least. He was having nightmares when he slept and triggering flashbacks during the day.
Tony’s world had just expanded in a way he hadn’t seen yet, the villains were in space as well as on the street. Iron Man 3 was more about the man behind the suit, a human being who had to process his trauma in order to get behind the wheel again. That involved a series of comical and heartwarming interactions with regular people across the country.
Far From Home also found a superhero trying to cope with what had just happened, only this time it was Peter Parker. The difference between the kid from Queens in Homecoming and now is astonishing, and kudos to the writing staff for pulling it off so well. He went from being eager to join the Avengers to getting what he wanted and regretting it.
In Endgame, Spidey found himself pulled from the world of high school and bank robbers to the outer regions of space and intergalactic extremists. He was a fish out of water who dissolved in front of his mentor and came back only to watch said mentor die right in front of his eyes.
He didn’t want to be Spider-Man (or even Night Monkey). He just wanted to be Peter Parker. Peter would rather be traipsing around Paris with MJ instead of fighting creatures made of molten lava that doubled as a reference to obscure Spider-Man villains in Prague. Homecoming Spidey was ready to leave Queens and save the world; Far From Home Spidey saved the universe and was ready to stay in the neighborhood.
(On a side note, did anyone catch the “ASM 28965” license plate on the car Nick Fury was driving in Prague? It was a reference to Amazing Spider-Man #28, which was published on September 10, 1965, and was also the first appearance of the aforementioned obscure Spidey villain known as Molten Man. The “fire villain” Spidey fought in Prague was a sly nod to the Molten Man, stepbrother to Liz Allan, aka Peter’s high school crush.)
NERD, I know so much about Spider-Man lore that you can trust me when I say that Far From Home is the new Iron Man 3.
Both Had Villains Who Were Merely a Smokescreen to a Much Larger Threat
The Mandarin finally made his appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man 3. Though seen by many as Tony’s ultimate foe, he had only been teased in the first movie when we saw all the “ten ring” symbols in the background of the terrorist videos. Fans who were excited at first to see Iron Man’s “Joker” hit the big time were ultimately disappointed after the controversial twist.
Turns out this Mandarin wasn’t a diabolical madman wielding ten rings fused with incredible power. He was a mere actor who was just a puppet filming videos while partying it up in a mansion. Turns out, the scientific group known as AIM was using the Mandarin as a political scapegoat for their Extremis agenda.
Most fans do not agree with me when I say that the twist was brilliant. Sure, I was pissed off at first but it made more sense after repeated viewings that mad scientists were killing people in the name of business instead of some comic book-y villains being used to stir up our pulp fiction-honed sense of patriotism and brute force heroics.
I mean, how often do politicians nowadays use theatrics to pull at our heartstrings all in the name of filling their pockets or pleasing the business that owns them?
Mysterio wouldn’t have been my first choice of Spidey villain to be in Far From Home, but I understand why he was now after seeing the film twice. He wasn’t the villain at first, though, which is a clever nod to the first Mysterio story written by Stan Lee (R.I.P.) where Quentin Beck pretended to be a hero and frame Spider-Man for his crimes.
In fact, we thought weird versions of Hydro-Man and Molten Man were the villains at first. I didn’t buy that Mysterio was a hero at all because I’ve read a few comic books, but I’m sure the audience members who never read a comic book before Christopher Nolan directed Batman Begins didn’t see it coming.
The twist that surprised me, however, was that Mysterio wasn’t working alone and that he and his crew were all jilted ex-employees of Tony Stark who had been screwed over at various times during the existence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a great twist that called back to the previous movies in interesting ways and caught the die-hards like myself off guard.
It Was Like Having Two Twists for the Price of One!
Far From Home is definitely the new Iron Man 3, as it multiplied all the layers of deception it provided for the audience.
Mysterio is a villain who in a way was a sly bit of social commentary on the pervasive nature of CGI and technology in general, how it is altering our perception of reality and distancing us from the truth and real human contact. It’s almost an inside joke on how Hollywood runs on computer graphics now instead of the old days of crazy sets and creatures built out of clay and paper maché.
In fact, deception in the media seems to be the real villain in Iron Man 3 and Far From Home. The news was manipulated by false footage and implanted perceptions to sway public opinion and achieve the desired consequences. In a world of Fake News made easy by the isolating nature of modern technology, you can create a false terrorist organization with a movie set and monsters from other dimensions with a swarm of state of the art drones.
Not to mention that Nick Fury and Maria Hill weren’t even who they were supposed to be. Instead, they were Skrulls masquerading as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents while the real Fury seems to be on one of their spaceships taking a cue from Coulson and hanging in his own virtual Tahiti, which is yet another digital deception.
The layers of deception in Far From Home are richer than the parfait Eddie Murphy described to Mike Myers in Shrek.
Great science fiction has a message behind the robots and lasers, and these films seem to be warning us of an age of misinformation through the information age that we seem to be in the middle of as a society. We can’t rely on our own two eyes anymore, as corporations spend billions of dollars creating content that sways us to believe in whatever will line their pockets.
The folks behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe seem to be optimistic about the future though, as they seem to have picked Peter Parker, the boy with Tony’s intelligence and Steve’s heart of gold, to be the next Stark running things in Avengers Town. Going from cynical snark to wide-eyed optimism is a good look for Marvel, and I look forward to seeing Tom Holland grow into his role as one of the key players in the franchise.
Let’s hope that the Reign of Parker is a little less Ultron and a little more Vision.
Do you think Far From Home is the new Iron Man 3? Were you a fan of the final Tony Stark-led solo film? Let us know in the comments below!