Warning: This post contains spoilers from Spider-Man: Far From Home, which opened Tuesday. Read at your own risk! Seriously!
When Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) donned the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame and snapped his fingers to resurrect everyone who died, he also revived EW’s Marvel Movie Club series, which revisited every Marvel movie in the lead-up to 2017’s Avengers: Infinity War. Each week, EW’s Chancellor Agard re-examined one Marvel movie a week, every week, to reassess its powers and hopefully answer important questions like “What was The Incredible Hulk?” “Does Nick Fury wash his eyepatch?” and “Is there a point to Hawkeye?” along the way. In this special edition of the series, we’re swinging into Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially come to an end. While Marvel’s post-Avengers: Endgame plans remain mostly a mystery, Far From Home’s two end-credits scenes offer some hints about what’s in store — and feature two fantastic cameos.
Picking up in the aftermath of Endgame, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel explores how the world is adjusting to, well, everything that happened with Thanos, specifically the vanished (or blipped!) returning and Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) death (even dead, Tony is still the focus). The latter is weighing pretty heavily on a grieving Peter Parker (Tom Holland) because everyone assumes Spider-Man is now the top-ranking Avenger by default and expects him to become the new Iron Man. Meanwhile, Peter just wants visit Europe with his science class and tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels.
Of course, things don’t go according to plan. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) interrupts his vacation and enlists Peter to team-up with Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), who claims he’s from a parallel Earth and needs their defeating big, destructive monsters called Elementals. Except, as many guessed before the movie came out, Beck is a liar and is from our Earth. He’s actually a bitter former Stark employee who is using advanced holographic technology to create disasters that only he, Mysterio, can fix because he desperately wants to become the new Iron Man and change the world, and he’s convinced people need Avengers-level threats to believe in heroes (Superheroism is a lie and branding is all that matters!). Peter defeats him; however that only creates more problems for the young web-slinger, as revealed once the credits began to roll.
In the mid-credits scene, Peter takes his new girlfriend MJ on a swinging tour of New York City. When the two finally touch down in front of Madison Square Garden, a DailyBugle.net news report appears on the big screen and we’re greeted by a familiar face: J.K. Simmons, reprising his role as newsman/famed Spider-Man hater J. Jonah Jameson from the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. This time around, though, Jameson is basically an Alex Jones-like personality, which is similar to his recent characterization in the amazing Playstation 4 Spider-Man game.
More importantly, though, Jameson has some breaking news that’s going to ruin Peter’s life. It turns out that Beck’s final act was to frame Spider-Man for the massive attack in London with a carefully edited video that made it seem as though Spider-Man was controlling the drones that caused the mayhem and killed Mysterio (“People will believe anything you tell them to,” said Beck with his dying words). Not only that, though, but the video also revealed Spider-Man’s secret identity to the entire world(!). After two hours of Peter of using all kinds of Nick Fury and/or Tony Stark-provided tech (or champagne super-heroism, to borrow EW critic Darren Franich’s description), the film brought him back down to Earth with this shattering revelation and sets up an interesting threequel.
There’s an interesting parallel here between Far From Home and 2008’s Iron Man, which famously ended with Tony proudly declaring to the public he was indeed Iron Man, a game-changing moment in superhero cinema. Here, though, Peter’s secret identity is disclosed without his permission and after he stopped comparing himself to Tony and embraced what made Spider-Man a unique hero. But alas, he’s still being forced to follow in his mentor’s footsteps. One way to read this ending is that Phase 3 essentially ends the same way Phase 1 began, and thus the wheel keeps spinning. (ASIDE: I’m convinced that Far From Home is actually all three Iron Man movies in one. From Iron Man 2, we get Nick Fury’s presence throughout the movie and Peter’s daddy/Tony issues. From Iron Man 3, we get Peter being stranded in the middle of nowhere without his super-suit and the Mysterio twist, which is very reminiscent of the equally meta and brilliant Mandarin twist.)
In the movie’s second scene, we discover that Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and Soren (Sharon Blynn), the shape-shifting Skrulls from Captain Marvel, have actually been impersonating Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) the entire time. Now that the Beck situation has been resolved, Talos calls the real Fury, who is currently chilling on a simulated beach on a spaceship(!) and appears to decide it’s time for him to get back to work, you know, once he finds his shoes.
This stinger answers several questions. First, it explains why the ever-paranoid Nick Fury fell for Beck’s lie, because, you know, it actually wasn’t him. Second, it confirms a popular fan theory that Fury has been a Skrull for quite a while. See, in the ‘90s-set Captain Marvel, a young Fury tells Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) he can’t eat diagonally cut toast as a way of proving he’s not a Skrull; however, that fun fact was contradicted by Avengers: Age of Ultron, which showed Fury cutting his sandwich diagonally when he dropped by Hawkeye’s farmhouse. Even without the bread-clue, though, Far From Home implies that the real Fury’s been hanging out in space for some time, because his legs look severely atrophied when he stumbles out of his simulation pod. (It also makes you wonder: If this all happened on Talos’ watch, what else did he encounter while masquerading as Fury?)
It’s worth noting, though, Fury isn’t on just any spaceship. He’s on a Skrull spaceship, and there are many Skrulls hard at work in the background. As of right now, it’s unclear what they’re building for, but it’s safe to assume that it’s related to whatever big Avengers-level event Marvel has planned for the future. Or maybe it isn’t and everything is a lie, as Beck believes.