Because Spider-Man: Far From Home comes to theaters next year directly after Avengers 4, the Spidey sequel could have a hard time establishing stakes, especially after the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. The events in Far From Home will also reportedly occur "just a few minutes" after the end of Avengers 4. Presumably, Avengers 4 will include Thanos' defeat at the hands of the Avengers and Peter Parker's safe return to planet Earth, making it possible for Spider-Man to go on vacation to Europe and fight new villains in his sequel.

But after the cataclysmic events of Avengers: Infinity War, and the inevitable earth-shattering deaths that will occur in Avengers 4, can Spider-Man: Far From Home offer audiences anything as thrilling or monumental? Or, perhaps a better question is: should it even try?

Avengers 4 is the culmination of decades of superhero films, many of which attempted to surpass the previous films: bigger villains, larger armies, more powers, higher stakes. In the case of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, Thanos is the pinnacle of villainy. Not only is he the most powerful person in the universe by the end of the film, but he actually wins against the Avengers and their allies - at least in Infinity War anyway. 

However, if Spider-Man: Far From Home attempted to "outdoThanos and Avengers 4, then it would fall flat. Even if the creative team could create a villain who was eviler and more powerful than Thanos, it would miss some of the central elements that made Spider-Man: Homecoming such a strong and lovable film. Instead, Spider-Man: Far From Home should model itself on Homecoming's strengths and make a "smaller" superhero film that focuses on the personal aspects of Peter Parker's life as both as a student and a hero.

Spider-Man Fought Thanos and Died

Josh Brolin's Thanos sets a high bar in Avengers Infinity War. He seems unimaginably powerful in Guardians of the Galaxy, even before he begins to accumulate the Infinity Stones, and come Avengers: Infinity War's ending he becomes unstoppable, wiping half of the universe's population from existence in an instant.

Spider-Man himself disappears, leaving a panicked Tony Stark to wonder if Peter Parker is dead (and creating the popular "I don't feel so good" meme). It's easy for the audience to realize that Spider-Man won't actually stay dead, especially since he has an upcoming film that is confirmed to take place after the events of Avengers 4. However, Iron Man has none of that assurance as he watches his protégé disappear into thin air.

Whatever follows in Avengers 4 is going to leave a major impact on Peter. He joined several other heroes to go head to head against Thanos, and actually had the Mad Titan up against the ropes before Peter Quill lost his cool, giving the upper hand back to Thanos. The bar has been set as high as possible for the web-slinger, so it will be basically impossible for Spider-Man: Far From Home to throw anything at him more dramatic or challenging than what he's already faced.

Page 2 of 2: Spider-Man: Far From Home Needs Personal Stakes

How Will Mysterio Size Up Against Thanos?

Spider-Man: Far From Home has set itself up to continue the story that Avengers: Infinity War has set in motion. The film will pick up minutes after Avengers 4, meaning that there is a strong tie-in between the films. Presumably, Peter's return from the dead will affect him in Spider-Man: Far From Home, as will the more permanent deaths of Avengers 4. Additionally, while Iron Man will not appear in Spider-Man 2, another MCU character will make a cameo.

The reported casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio signals that Marvel wants to continue to cast A-list actors and actresses as its major antagonists. If anyone commands the same star power as Josh Brolin, Gyllenhaal is a safe bet. Much like Brolin, Gyllenhaal has seamlessly walked the line between action star, heartthrob, and critically-acclaimed actor.

But instead of comparing Gyllenhaal and Brolin, Mysterio and Thanos are a less even contest. It's difficult to imagine that Mysterio could compete with Thanos in power, much less the scale. Avengers: Infinity War built an intergalactic conflict and saw the elimination of half of the life of the galaxy. While it's possible that Far From Home could introduce the MCU's Sinister Six, even six villains would struggle to fill the void left by Thanos. Mysterio's motives and powers could hardly replicate the enormity of Thanos, as he's obviously not trying to wipe half the universe from existence.

However, if Mysterio's powers are traditionally far more psychological in nature. Using the power of deception, Mysterio crafts situations to attack people on a psychological and emotional level. Instead of fueling the idea that bigger is always better, Spider-Man: Far From Home can use Spidey's conflict against Mysterio to craft a much more personal battle for Peter.

Why a Friendly "Neighborhood" Spider-Man is Better

If Spider-Man: Far From Home needs guidance on the best approach post-Avengers 4, it should look to its predecessor, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Instead of trying to mirror the scale of Captain America: Civil War or even of Black PantherHomecoming embraced the qualities that make Tom Holland's Spider-Man special: he is a teenager. Obviously, he is a gifted and talented teenager in more ways than one, but a teenager nonetheless.

Peter Parker is the "friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man", and so he focuses his efforts on protecting New York City. Vulture, Peter's major adversary in Spider-Man: Homecoming, isn't on the same scale as any of the villains who the Avengers face off with. He isn't plotting world domination, and he's barely a blip on Iron Man's radar. But Vulture's illegal weapons dealing actively threatens the safety of Spider-Man's home, his friends, and his community. Peter intervenes because he sees that there is a necessity in being a hometown hero.

Additionally, Peter's story centers on what it means to be a hero and a young adult. He struggles to balance the responsibilities of school, friends, homework, extracurricular activities on top of being a hero. He chooses to protect New York City not only because he cares about the people there but because he also needs to make it home for dinner so that he can finish his calculus homework. After all, when given the opportunity to drop out of school and become a full-time hero with the Avengers, he declines Iron Man's offer; instead, he decides that he wants to be able to live both as Spider-Man and as Peter Parker.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has the promise of opportunity precisely because it can be different from Avengers 4. While Avengers 4, like Avengers: Infinity War before it, will have too many heroes in it to focus on anyone in particular, Far From Home can put the spotlight on Peter, giving him time to grapple with the emotional weight of the previous films. Spider-Man: Far From Home can offer audiences the focus and intimacy that these mega-blockbusters can't.

If Spider-Man: Far From Home chooses to truly distinguish itself from Avengers 4, it can also give audiences another kind of story entirely: Peter as a friend, a student, and a working-class young man from Queens who is going to Europe for a school trip. Building from the humor and heartfelt moments of Spider-Man: Homecoming, along with Tom Holland's charisma, the sequel could offer a light-hearted coming-of-age story. After all, after the heaviness of Avengers 4, a fun and funny superhero flick will be just what Marvel fans need.

More: Did The Sony-Marvel Spider-Man Deal Ruin Avengers 4's Surprise?

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