Spider-Man: Far From Home is a timely reminder of how false idols manipulate impressionable millennials
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland symbolises the millennial generation that is increasingly falling prey to false heroes because of their own insecurities.
It is no coincidence that Spider-Man: Far From Home released on 4 July. The film celebrates the 'global superpower' that the US is, though most of it is shot far from home in Europe. Jake Gyllenhaal's character Mysterio is introduced as someone the world needs but does not deserve — a noble soul who takes upon himself to protect another planet even after his home, Earth 833 from another dimension, is destroyed by evil forces.
But then comes the twist. After securing Tony Stark's inheritance, the EDITH sunglasses, from Peter Parker, Mysterio reveals himself to be a former Stark Industries employee who alleges he was double crossed by the late Avengers leader. He claims Stark used his technology to further his reputation as a groundbreaking scientist, and never attributing any credit to Mysterio, then known as his real name Quentin Beck. Now that Stark is dead post Avengers: Endgame, he vowed to become the next Tony Stark by creating illusions with the help of EDITH and a number of former Stark Industries employees (also allegedly double-crossed by Stark). He wanted to fool the world in believing that he saved it from an Avengers-scale catastrophe.
As has been deduced from various instances across the Iron Man and Avengers franchises, Stark has often been used as a symbol of governmental overreach. In order to secure 'peace' in the world, he would go to any length and would be willing to do so at any cost, from making Artificial Intelligence that can turn on the people it is designed to save (Ultron) to spying on citizens for the purpose of surveillance (EDITH). It was this ideology and the stark (pun intended) contrast in his means and those of Captain America, that had led to the infamous Civil War. While he died a hero's death, anyone with mala fide intention of becoming the next Tony Stark could only harbour one agenda — fame and power.
Mysterio, thus, believes he is godsend to educate and civilise the rest of the world. He tricks Nick Fury, Mariah Hill and Spider-Man into believing that he is from Earth of another dimension, where his home was destroyed (a page out of Superman's book) by a fire monster. The audience, unless they are Marvel Comics buffs, would also fall for his misinformed identity, given Gyllenhaal's altruistic superhero persona and their recent introduction to a multiverse in Marvel's animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that released just last year.
Mysterio's last words, "These days, they believe anything", echoes all over Peter Parker, who represents the millennial generation that is prone to not only misinformation but also insecurities with how cool one's life is, thanks to the penetration of social media. Parker unfortunately cannot share even a fraction of all the cool stuff he does as Spider-Man on his Instagram account. He seeks a normal life, where he can just pursue his love interest, MJ, and chill with friends on a school trip to Europe. But when the duty beckons (or Fury calls incessantly, because you do not ghost Nick Fury), one has gotta go. Having witnessed the death of his mentor Stark in front of him, Parker is divided on the path he wants to take ahead. Since he is the youngest Avenger around, he has to sacrifice a normal school life in Queens to fight bigger battles. But his biggest battle remains the perennial question: To be or not to be.
His state of mind is representative of his entire generation, as demonstrated by the people around him. MJ, who has had a troubled childhood, is conflicted over whether she wants to engage in a romantic relationship with Parker. She constantly reminds him about how much she hates dating but eventually gives in to her temptation. Ned, having ridiculed his BFF Parker for running their 'bachelor trip' hours ago, ends up in a relationship with Betty. In a hilarious scene, Parker finds out through EDITH that Ned and Betty text each other "Miss you" and "Miss you more" — while sitting besides each other. Oh also, they break up as soon as the trip ends. Sigh!
Similarly, Flash Thompson spends 90 percent of his life live-streaming every single moment, projecting how hot and happening his life is, typical of every millennial.
The millennial generation, not just in the US but across the world, have fallen prey to a world designed to make them feel confused and inferior or give them a misplaced sense of importance. In such a case, false idols will be commonplace. Mysterio eventually had the last laugh and died a hero's death by manipulating a gullible world into believing Spider-Man is a villain. It clearly shows the world has moved beyond instincts. No amount of Spidey Tingles could help Peter Parker defeat the mighty myth of Mysterio.
All images from YouTube.
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