All fans of Marvel movies and comics alike can agree that there is nothing more irritating than a bad guy that just won’t quit. Even after being defeated, they just keep coming back, standing in the way of the greater good and creating havoc that the hero of the story has to put a stop to. The most irritating form of this occurrence is when the hero thinks he has killed the villain, just to find out that the villain is not only still alive, but was also working in the shadows to create a way to get rid of the hero for good.
In an extremely annoying yet brilliantly clever sense, there is a character that constantly escapes death in Marvel comics, yet leads everyone to believe that he is in fact gone for good, and he goes by the name “Mysterio.”
Fans that have seen Spider-Man: Far From Home will know that ”Quentin Beck” (which the audience should now realize is not even his real name) squares off against Peter Parker in the final act on Tower Bridge in London, which is a scene that gives viewers some of the best action and visual effects seen to-date. It’s incredibly enjoyable to watch, but it also carries a lot more weight than most people realize.
THE BATTLE ON TOWER BRIDGE
In the 2019 summer blockbuster, Peter Parker and his high school classmates traveled all across the world, trying to get away from the busy New York life but unluckily meeting mayhem at every stop on their trip. By the end of the film, the class ends up in London, and Mysterio is concocting the final step in his plan to fool the entire world into believing that he is the next great superhero. Peter Parker catches up to his class (after a brief detour to Germany, and then consequently to the Netherlands) and builds himself a brand new suit so that he can fight the E.D.I.T.H. drones that he unwittingly put in the hands of his next big foe. After a hard-fought bout between Spidey and the drones, Peter finally finds his way onto the Tower Bridge where Mysterio had taken command, and he engages the villain in order to put an end to the chaos.
Towards the end of the fight between Spider-Man and Mysterio, the inside of the bridge goes completely dark and the audience loses sight of everything except Spider-Man. Then, as Spidey easily makes his way through the invisible drone army attacking him behind the cloak of darkness, it appears that Beck is blinded by his own rage and commands all of the remaining drones to engage the webslinger, including those that would put the antagonist himself in harm’s way. Beck is then apparently struck down by a single shot of one of his own misfired drones.
Peter defeats the remaining drones with ease, having regained connection with his “Peter Tingle.” When Parker approaches Beck, fans should notice that Parker never actually touches him, which is important because Peter does not realize right away that the Beck that he is looking at - seated and slouched up against the wall - is actually another one of Beck’s illusions. What is then revealed is that the real Quentin Beck is standing behind Peter, holding a gun to his head. Peter senses this just in time and reaches back to grab the gun right before Beck can discharge it. Peter then quickly disarms Beck, retrieving the E.D.I.T.H. glasses with ease.
At this point in the film, Beck has a burning hatred toward Spider-Man. He has tried to kill Peter multiple times already (and thought he had twice been successful in doing so). Even if Beck were to truly be defeated in this moment, we’ve seen that he is the type to think three steps ahead and consider all possible outcomes, and he did specifically state that he had contingencies for this type of situation. This brings reason to believe that Peter would not have been able to get to those glasses unless Beck wanted him to, which should cause everyone to question how Peter came out on top.
Peter puts the glasses on and orders E.D.I.T.H. to stop all of the still-functional drones from further terrorizing the city of London. This seems like a pretty simple order to carry out, so it’s questionable that any clarification would be needed, but after performing a biometric scan and welcoming Peter back, E.D.I.T.H. then asks him very specifically, “Shall I execute all cancellation protocols?” This seems to lure Peter into responding with the same verbiage, which he does by saying, “Do it. Execute them all.” We later see in the mid-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home that Beck took that very phrase spoken by Peter and used it against him, by doctoring footage from their altercation on the bridge to make it look as if Peter was the one controlling the drone strike against the civilian population the whole time.
Also, the doctored footage that Beck released to the public relied heavily upon the command that Peter spoke to E.D.I.T.H. when he told her to “execute them all,” referring to the drone strike’s cancellation protocols. Now, there is a chance that Beck really did have a contingency for everything and he had made this video with the underlying anticipation that he really wouldn’t make it out alive, or he could have made the video entirely after the fact, from a safe location where he and his team are completely unharmed, and now also completely off the grid.
It’s important to realize that the audience hears Beck and E.D.I.T.H. both say things in Beck’s doctored footage that were not originally heard in the sequence on the bridge. Mysterio’s entire speech revealing Spider-Man’s identity was not heard on the bridge, and E.D.I.T.H. asks Peter Parker a very different question in the video, now saying “Are you sure you want to commence the drone attack? There will be significant casualties.” This then allows Peter’s original statement of “Do it. Execute them all.” to be manipulated into framing Spidey as the bad guy.
It’s also important to note that the Beck that the audience saw fade away as an illusion was the same Beck that fans watched be shot by one of his drones, which means that the Beck that was holding the gun to Peter’s head could have been hidden for a longer period of time than the audience realizes (and may have only faked his injury as a response to his own failure).
The audience is able to determine that this Beck was real, because Peter grabs his arm to stop him from shooting him. Peter could have grabbed the gun, but this specific placement of Peter’s hand serves as another piece of evidence that this is the real Beck, that was not shot by the drone. Also, Beck was standing straight up when he had the gun pointed at Peter; it was only when Peter disarmed him that Beck seemingly made the decision to roll with the fake injury, so that Peter would truly let his guard down.
The following moment is crucial to this theory. After Peter sees the drones retreating from London, he removes the glasses. Less than a minute later, when we’re led to believe that Beck has finally parished, Peter holds the glasses back up to his face and asks, “Is this real?” to which E.D.I.T.H. replies by saying, “All illusions are down, Peter.” This phrasing seems almost a bit too specific, as if to assure Peter that he is safe without revealing the fact that Beck was still alive, lying ten feet away from him.
The issue presents itself when Peter holds the glasses up to his face to speak to E.D.I.T.H., but he doesn’t say the name “E.D.I.T.H.” when he asks this question, which is what is needed in order to summon her (the audience sees this earlier in the film where Peter has to wait impatiently for E.D.I.T.H. to come online before he can ask her a question in Prague).
Additionally, E.D.I.T.H. does not perform a second biometric scan when Peter holds the glasses up. The lenses themselves don’t even illuminate the second time, despite the glasses having done so in every instance prior when Peter needed to communicate with her. All the audience sees is Peter holding up a pair of glasses in front of his face, and then the audience hears E.D.I.T.H.’s voice.
COMPILING THE EVIDENCE
With all of this now taken into account, the audience should realize by the end of the film that the E.D.I.T.H. program was being manipulated by Mysterio and his team in ways that Peter Parker could not understand.
Now, here’s a question that a lot more people should be asking by now: How is Peter even able to communicate with E.D.I.T.H. anymore? Think back to the bar scene in Prague, where Parker and Beck shared what seemed like a rather intimate moment at the time. When Peter decided to hand the E.D.I.T.H. glasses over to Beck, he commanded E.D.I.T.H. to “transfer (her) control over to Quentin Beck,” and even confirmed it when asked.
The word “transfer” can be defined as “the act of moving from one place to another.” This single phrase could have been specifically scripted to draw attention to the fact that not only was Beck now receiving control of the E.D.I.T.H. glasses and everything that came with them, but it was that same control that Peter was surrendering.
Now let’s say that despite this, Peter’s authorization was still present after the transfer. If that was the case, wouldn’t Beck and his team have tried to remove Peter’s ability to access the system, in the off-chance that Peter did somehow regain possession of the glasses? The success of Beck’s team throughout the movie depended entirely upon their ability to think things through. The fact that Spider-Man would still have access to E.D.I.T.H. seems like an oversight that’s just too great for someone as bright as Beck. So why would Peter be able to put on the glasses after all of this, and immediately speak to E.D.I.T.H. as if nothing had ever changed?
To go even further, why did Beck even need to have the glasses on his person at all when he was on Tower Bridge, if Beck’s tech guru, Willaim Ginter Riva, made it so that E.D.I.T.H. was programmed into Beck’s headpiece? Riva also had secondary control of E.D.I.T.H. at a remote location elsewhere while they were in London, where the glasses also could have been kept safely out of reach. This is another example of what the audience is led to believe is a foolish mistake on Beck’s part, but might actually be nothing short of brilliant.
To put Peter’s mind at ease, the glasses that Peter took from Beck possibly weren’t the E.D.I.T.H. glasses at all - at least not anymore. The glasses that Peter has in his possession now could be a non-functional pair that Mysterio’s team had stripped all administrative capabilities from, to make Peter think that he had won, just as Beck had done to him back in Prague.
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
Considering all of this, the audience cannot definitively assume that Quentin Beck is dead. For all fans know, he could be very much alive with the real E.D.I.T.H. program in-hand, rendezvousing with his also-escaped team (who no one even knew about in the first place), preparing to concoct their next plan, specifically against Peter Parker for bringing ruin to what was supposed to bring them the ultimate success. And now, they may even have the public on their side, after Beck leaked the doctored footage of Spider-Man supposedly killing Earth’s newest and most promising hero.
It’s also important to note that, since Beck was able to fool Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. until Peter Parker came along to expose his evil works, it would be exceptionally easy for Beck to once again disappear.
Think about it this way - with the bogus story of how “Quentin Beck” was from an alternate universe, he was able to slip right into Fury’s operation and even take partial control. Fury isn’t one to get sloppy, so he would have run an extensive background check on “Quentin Beck.” Considering the fact that none of Beck’s history with Stark Industries came to light, "Quentin Beck" may not even be his real name.
Further evidence of this presents itself in the moment when Beck is praising Guterman for his good work creating a narrative for Mysterio, and specially mentions a “soldier from a different dimension named Quentin.” Taking this into account, the very name “Quentin Beck” was more than likely just another part of the villain’s devious ploy, so it’s safe to assume that even the most dedicated MCU fans don’t even know Beck’s real name.
So this begs the question, will the audience see this further play out? Many fans (myself included) hope that the MCU is building towards a movie revolving around the group of Spidey villains known as the Sinister Six. Three villains that fans saw in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming - Vulture, Scorpion, and Shocker - are all members of that group at one point or another in Marvel comics, and are all alive and well in the MCU, locked up in the same prison with a steaming hatred for Spider-Man. Being one of the founding members of the Sinister Six in Marvel Comics, Mysterio could use this time to start his recruitment.
Until then, fans have to acknowledge that the E.D.I.T.H. technology is a bit too monumental to never be referred to again. Peter will very likely need the glasses for something and see that they’re not functioning in the way that they should be, and he will reluctantly come to the conclusion that even though he thought he could no longer be tricked, that’s exactly what Mysterio had done.