Mysterio (Quentin Beck), an atypically hot super-villain portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, is quite typically convinced that he has the whole world at his fingertips, and calmly plans his maniac revenge against Stark Industries. At that very moment a young man sitting opposite him is trying to pay his condolences to Tony Stark and is absolutely unaware of his companion’s naughty fantasies, sharing with him his deepest insecurities, like all teenagers do when they are suddenly approached by a buff and relatable stranger.
“Finally I could talk about this superhero job with someone,” Peter tells him on a rooftop, confessing about his dreams of a simple life and romantic journeys with his girl. That’s what innocent boys do. Confess to strangers about their true feelings, and get manipulated. Beck lies about his life experiences and Peter believes him. Beck plays the “sacrifice oneself for the greater good” hoax, and the teenager buys it. But it is this weakness that makes Tom Holland’s Spiderman more likable than that of Andrew Garfield. And it’s in this film that Peter finally gets to grow up.
One of the most major messages Far From Home tries to convey is The price to pay for growing up is to be constantly deceived by hypocrites. It’s an allegorical story akin to ancient Greek myths, but sprinkled with some super-hero glitter.
For die-hard Marvel fans, Far From Home serves a delicate commemoration of Tony Stark, which also contributes vastly to Peter Parker’s character development. Everywhere he goes, the boy is reminded of Tony, who was a real father figure to him. Not to mention the Marvel world remembers Tony as the saviour of the entire human race, an icon, a legend. On top of that Stark Industries, the company Tony inherited from his father Howard Stark, is taking the global lead in the development of advanced weapons and has penetrated other fields including aeronautics, robotics, micro-technology and fringe science. He was the Elon Musk of the Marvel Universe, a madcap genius changing the world for the better.
However Quentin Beck and a bunch of his followers have their reason for discontent. For long, superheroes, or more specifically the Avengers have been divided into two camps: “The rich rely on technologies while the poor had to count on mutations.” Advanced tech has lowered the threshold for superheroes. Equipped with top-notch technologies, any ordinary person now could become extremely powerful, as long as he had enough money and resources to support his wild whims. And Quentin here is just an ambitious rich dude with a histrionic character, who is closer to Ultron in that he fully depends on next level tech than to Loki and Thanos, who had actual powers.
The film also does well in depicting a world of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and drones, basically the world we live in right now, but rather what it would look like if we let all those technologies off the hook and indulged in our dangerous little foibles. By the time the film reaches its second half you might find yourself wondering with the protagonist what is real and what are illusions. Incessant twists and inversions, one after another, turn the whole thing into an on-screen Inception-style dream that you just can’t wake up from. Nothing is what it seems to be, even the summer fling between Aunt May and Happy, yeah it’s there, just deal with it.
There is a scene in the film that demonstrates pretty well some of the problems we might be facing with the advent of Artificial Intelligence. In it, Peter accidentally gives an order to his glasses to assassinate his classmate with drones. Machines don’t have emotions, they make rational decision, which is supposed to help them avoid making mistakes. Yet, this indifference is what might yield even more mistakes. The issue of humanity is what Marvel have been exploring in all of their films. Avengers: Age of Ultron deals with an awakened consciousness of artificial intelligence, Captain America: Civil War ponders the morality of inflicting casualties on the innocent people while fighting against evil. There is always something purely human that technologies just do not seem to be able to achieve – empathy.