Other than DC's Batman, Spider-Man has perhaps the most widely recognized rogues gallery. Thanks to the character's many, many animated series throughout the decades, supervillains ranging from the Hobgoblin and Carnage to Kingpin and the Scorpion are known by people who have never even picked up a comic book. As more and more live-action Spider-Man movies were made, many of these characters made their big screen debuts. The first trilogy of movies gave us such villains as the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Venom. Then, the Andrew Garfield-led reboots went further by introducing the Lizard, Electro and the Rhino.
As these respective movie series were released, one thing became increasingly clear. With each sequel, Sony appeared to think that the more villainous characters there were in one single story, the better. Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 counted three villains with the second Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom, and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 included Electro, Rhino and another Green Goblin (without mentioning a buildup to the Sinister Six).
Now, with the recent report that actor Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to portray Mysterio in the untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel, it appears Sony and Marvel may have learned from their mistakes. With this new villain, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film can finally allow Spider-Man to go into uncharted territory.
First and foremost, seeing Marvel and Sony utilize Mysterio as the main villain for the Homecoming sequel is a breath of fresh air. Previous Spider-Man sequels have all gone back to the Green Goblin well in one form or another, a villain that fans are all too familiar with by now. After the success of the MCU's Spider-Man, it was easy to imagine that the two studios might wish to use the Green Goblin once again in the new sequel, in a bid to finally "get the character right." But there is really no need to do that. After all these movies, there can definitely be something called "Green Goblin fatigue," a term that would have caught on had the upcoming sequel gone that route.
Now, Jon Watts, Kevin Feige and the rest of the creative minds behind the film are going deeper into the comics than ever before. By introducing Mysterio, they are not only giving us a character we have never seen before on the screen, they also made a choice that will make for a unique cinematic experience. Mysterio is a different beast than your usual Spidey baddie because his main power is that of illusion. As a visual effects experts, he creates amazing set pieces that can range from the mystical to the extraterrestrial, while always being based in reality. His feats are nothing but tricks, made possible with machines, computers and smoke and mirrors.
There are no limits to what illusions he can create, and although they are fake, they still pose a great threat to Spider-Man. Having Mysterio as the main villain of this sequel allows the film to be a visual experience in a way no other Spider-Man movie has before. It changes the possibilities of the action sequences and opens the door for inventive and colorful set pieces.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the movie will feature another villainous character. After all, even Spider-Man: Homecoming featured Michael Keaton's Vulture as the main antagonist, with the Shocker and the Tinkerer also playing small parts in the film. And yet, these characters never once took away from the main threat that was Adrian Toomes. With director Jon Watts once again at the helm, we may see other, smaller villains, but there is no need to worry that they will have an overbearing presence like in the other Spider-Man sequels. If Marvel and Disney are touting Jake Gyllenhaal, it means the role must be quite substantial, like Keaton's was.
We don't know where this Homecoming sequel will pick up after the events of Avengers 4. The final Avengers film may leave us shattered beyond repair, reeling from the departure of some of our favorite characters. But only a few months later, Spider-Man will be back on the screen, in what could be the perfect palate cleanser to kick-start the new phase of the MCU. With Mysterio onboard, we could get a villainous presence that continues to showcase Marvel's willingness to go all out with its comic book roots.
The power of illusion is one that Peter Parker has never faced before, and it can easily prove to be just as dangerous a threat as any he has come up against. But more than anything, it's a welcome departure from what we have seen done so many times before. Now, all we need is for Gyllenhaal's Mysterio to wear a domed mask and we'll be set.
Hitting theaters in 2019, the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel is directed by Jon Watts and will star Tom Holland as Peter Parker.