It was my birthday last weekend, and I sat down to watch the middle Spider-Man film, Far From Home, which I’d picked up a while ago. I’m not a huge Spider-Man fan, it has to be said, but I’m sure it was about twelve months ago that we watched the last one, and we’ve recently been watching a bunch of Marvel stuff, so I was somewhat in the mood for it.
The film picks up after Endgame, and does deal with some more of the fallout from The Snap in interesting ways – like, part of Peter’s class disappeared while the other part aged five years, and so on. It’s interesting to see how the writers give us these little bits and pieces, though the tone is much lighter than, say, Falcon & Winter Soldier, where there are more serious issues raised with the repatriation council, etc. At the end of term, Peter and his class are going to Europe so arrive in Venice, where coincidentally there is a huge elemental incursion by some kind of water-being. A masked, caped superhero flies in to dissipate the elemental, and is revealed to be working with Nick Fury and what is left of SHIELD. He later tells Peter that his name is Quentin Beck, and he has been chasing down these elementals across the world. After the Italian press dub him “l’uomo del misterio”, he adopts the name Mysterio and explains that there are elemental creatures that have rampaged through his universe, so he has come to Earth-616 to pursue them.
The next elemental attack is predicted for Prague, but Peter’s class is initially headed for Paris. Fury manages to reroute them to the Czech Republic, so that Peter can help Mysterio to deal with the attack. Along the way, Peter is given a pair of glasses bequeathed to him by Tony Stark, with the EDITH AI system in them. Peter doesn’t feel worthy of the gift, however, so gives them to Mysterio, whereupon we learn that he is none other than a fraud, a disaffected Stark Industries employee who is working with other former colleagues to gain some recognition by using illusion tech to make himself appear to be a superhero.
When MJ inadvertently recovers part of the illusion projector in Prague, Peter begins to see what has happened. Mysterio’s next target is London, where Peter’s class is due to end their trip, and a confrontation happens over Tower Bridge that sees Peter eventually able to overpower Mysterio. However, Mysterio publishes a doctored video that makes it look like Spider-Man is responsible for the attack, and reveals to the world that the superhero is none other than Peter Parker.
It’s a good film, nothing too strenuous to watch, although it did amuse me thinking how the elemental attacks are meant to be video projections, and yet the illusion in Venice is able to physically destroy buildings along the way. I had read that Jake Gyllenhaal wanted to portray Mysterio as sincere as possible to begin with, which clearly worked because I was almost distraught when he turned out to be the baddie!
The movie plays around a lot with fake news and the like, with Mysterio’s illusions and his denouncement of Peter at the end. In the end-credits scene we also learn that Nick Fury has been on vacation in space, and it was a pair of Skrulls masquerading as Fury and Maria Hill. What’s going on there? I have no idea, though apparently it’s something that we’re still waiting to resolve. It’s becoming a bit convoluted at this point, all this stuff, I have to say! I liked the first raft of movies, where clearly Fury was recruiting to assemble the Avengers, but now it seems to be a lot more veiled. I like a bit of mystery, don’t get me wrong, but when you think this film came out in 2019, and it’s currently expected to pay off in Secret Wars next year, that’s quite a wait.
At any rate, I thought the movie was fine, and a good backdrop to painting miniatures!
As you may well know, though, I’ve become slightly obsessed with Marvel Champions LCG this year, and after a couple of weeks off in the autumn, I’ve been back into playing and collecting. I’d picked up the Sinister Motives campaign expansion for myself as well, and had thought I would keep it for Christmas but after watching the movie I decided to allow myself an early Christmas present and played the Mysterio scenario earlier this week.
It was actually really good, as well. I’ve read some fairly neutral reviews of this one in particular, but I enjoyed how it plays around with the whole illusion thing, adding in encounter cards to the player deck, which then get dealt to you as additional encounter cards. I was trying out Spectrum and Doctor Strange, another recent acquisition, and while they were doing some good work between them it was by no means a pushover scenario.
I thought the mechanic of adding cards into the player deck is interesting, and oddly enough have just finished up the Dream-Eaters campaign for Arkham Horror that uses a similar idea as well. Whereas previous games like Marvel Legendary have added in cards like this, which would annoyingly need to be re-sleeved to play, here it doesn’t matter – indeed, the campaign guide does state that you should plan for drawing these encounter cards, which can be especially important when you could potentially end up with 3-4 encounter cards in front of you!
It was a good game, and I was just about able to scrape a win, with the death blow dealt while both heroes were at 2 health remaining. It’s definitely good to invigorate the villains pool with more options, I have to say – I’m looking forward to getting a few more when the jolly fella comes down the chimney on Sunday and brings another box!