Even though there wasn’t a trailer released for public consumption, there was still plenty to learn from those who attended. Specifically, that things are currently not quite what they seem. Apparently, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin “Mysterio” Beck, who we all originally believed to be the film’s antagonist, is actually the co-protagonist. He and Spider-Man will be allies, fighting against a trio of Elemental villains, with the relationship between Beck and Peter taking center stage.
It’s... an unconventional pairing, to say the least. Mysterio may not be as iconic of a villain as Green Goblin, Venom or Doc Ock, but he is one of the Web-Head’s more formidable recurring foes. There’s always the possibility that Mysterio will end up being the true villain of the film by its end, their relationship acting as a smokescreen so the payoff hits all the harder, not unlike with Peter and Ock in the latest Spider-Man game.
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What might be more interesting, though, and likely to work for the film and Sony’s plans in general, is if Mysterio really is just a good guy, or at least trying to be one with his unconventional slate of powers. Quentin would be far from the strangest villain to turn good, and he’s not even really all that evil. Perhaps the most evil thing he’s known for is manipulating Wolverine to kill the X-Men in an alternate reality story, but Disney can’t use the X-Men yet and, frankly, that's a job that could be accomplished by any number of villains.
Of the many villains in Spider-Man’s gallery of rogues, Mysterio’s villainous origin doesn’t really work in 2019. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s original version of the character had Beck turning to villainy because he thought being a special effects wizard and stunt man would be a dead end job. That’s very much not the case in the real world, and even more so now when there are people advocating for the rights of stunt workers and special effects artists. One way or another, through professional or crowdfunding means, there’s plenty of ways for Beck to make a living with the skill set he possesses.
Despite being an antagonist to Spider-Man for nearly 35 years, Mysterio is actually not that great of a villain. More often than not, he’s failed to defeat his enemy in hilarious ways, or has been hired by other supervillains and continued to fail. It's got so bad for the villain that he has even been beaten down by the kid superhero team Power Pack. He really is a joke in the supervillain community, but being prone to such comedic misfortunes is par for the course when it comes to superheroes. A teenage Peter Parker is a good way to facilitate that heel turn, as fans are sure to write the duo off as best buds once footage of them interacting goes public.
Having Mysterio be the one creating the Elementals would be interesting, but also kind of cliche. Sony hopefully realizes that, if Venom showed how a villain could grow outside the orbit of their archenemy, it can be showed how one can after trading blows with the hero. It’d be ridiculous if Sony wasn’t thinking about a solo movie for Mysterio. Gyllenhaal is a great actor and Beck’s backstory in the comics gives Sony plenty of avenues to explore. A trippy, mind-bending story that makes use of his hypnotism, a magic fare to give the studio its version of Doctor Strange -- all of them are equally viable.
It’s obvious that there’s a future for Mysterio in these movies, more than likely as one arm of the Sinister Six. That he’s just another extension of that feels like a waste of a character who hasn’t really got to win in his life of crime. Maybe it’s time the Magnificent Mysterio take his life in another direction.