Mary Jane Watson

Did Spider-Man really come out in 2002? I can’t believe how fast time has passed since I saw this in the theater. I remember one of my kids toddling their way to the 32-inch Sony Wega and plopping their hands on the screen in hopes of catching the man in red. But to no avail, the webslinger got away.

Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson

Women Who Wow Wednesday is about women of valor, women of strength, women filled with hope. That’s why today I want to talk a bit about Mary Jane WatsonPeter Parker’s girl.

Mary Jane’s the redhead who sets Peter’s heart aflutter. She’s known him forever. As next-door neighbors, they’ve share stories while finishing their chores. She comes from a broken home with little hope of ever making it in the real world if she had to rely on her parents to survive. Luckily, she has Peter’s friendship to pull her through the rough patches.

Every hero has an Achilles’ heel. In Spider-Man’s case, it’s Mary Jane Watson or MJ for short. One of the first things we learn about Peter Parker, besides his growing powers as a mutant human spider, is his love for MJ. He’ll do anything for her. He’ll even get in a cage match with an oversized beast of a man in order to earn enough money to buy a car so he can take MJ out on a date. Have I said MJ makes Peter do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with his powers? She does. She drives him crazy.

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst

What does this redhead got that other girls don’t have? In the movie version with Kirsten Dunst, after a near-fall in the school cafeteria and Peter (Tobey Maguire) quickly jumping to save her, she notices his eyes for the first time. He’d taken his glasses off that day since the spider bite gave him perfect vision. She notices. Her stare lingers a bit too long causing him to smile with one of the biggest, goofiest smiles he could muster.

But the thing with MJ is her heart belongs to Spider-Man and not Peter Parker.

How does it all play out? Let’s eavesdrop on MJ and Peter’s conversation after she asks if he’s ever talked to Spider-Man about her:

Mary Jane: Has he mentioned me?
Peter Parker: Yeah.
Mary Jane: What’d he say?
Peter Parker: Uh… I said… he asked me what I thought about you.
Mary Jane: And what did you say?
Peter Parker: I said… uh… Spider-Man, I said uh… The great thing about MJ is… when you look in her eyes and she’s looking back in yours… everything… feels… not quite normal. Because you feel stronger and weaker at the same time. You feel excited and at the same time, terrified. The truth is… you don’t know what you feel except you know what kind of man you want to be. It’s as if you’ve reached the unreachable and you weren’t ready for it.”
Mary Jane: You said that?
Peter Parker: Well, something like that.

Oh, boy. Poor Peter. If only MJ knew who he really was. If only MJ would give him a chance to explain. He’d tell her why he had to keep his identity a secret. If only MJ would love him back.

Yet MJ is complicated. She loves Spider-Man. She also loves Peter, but she doesn’t know it.

Peter doesn’t know either. How could he? He has yet to hear how she feels about him.

I won’t give away the ending, nor will I talk about Green Goblin’s fascination with Mary Jane. No. Suffice it to know Mary Jane Watson has a little something extra that makes Peter’s day complete. Dare I use the clichéd words that she is the sunshine of his life? I dare say so.

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What do you think of Mary Jane’s relationship with Peter Parker? Had MJ known of Peter’s identity would she have fallen for him anyway?

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15 thoughts on “Mary Jane Watson

  1. Of course, and I know you know this, the really cool thing is we get to see how affection grows between real people even when one of them is all gaga about an imaginary hero. I think that’s what is so cool about this relationship. Yes – I know it’s the same thing (sort of) for Lois Lane and Clark Kent but, in Spider Man, since they’re been friends since childhood it all seems to have a little more poignance. Great blog Jack.

    Bill (mymoviemoods.com)

  2. Uh-oh, it looks like I’m the only one who doesn’t like MJ, but I know none of you will hold that against me!

    Granted, I don’t know the MJ from the comics, just from the movies. She always came across as silly and selfish to me. Maybe I need to re-watch the series to see if I missed something!

  3. Now, if we could all be as “smooth” as Peter.
    The characterization of MJ in the movies added the perfect balance for the big screen. Kristen Dunst did a great job of bringing the character to life. No having followed the story in the comics (don’t hold that against me Charles), but was introduced to the romantic and awkward interactions throught the movies, I found that it did add the “human” side to the superhero.

    Another good character choice for W.W.W.
    -Jerry B

    • And that’s the thing–the human side is what’s important when we ultimately consider her character. She makes the series all the more real to watch whenever she’s around since she’s not massively bombshell but also not massively ordinary. She’s more than average–but a great character for “more than average”!

  4. I admit to liking how it played out in the comics more than the movies, but the comics had a lot more time. I’m biased on there, I guess. Also, still not happy about that third movie. The thing about the MJ/Peter relationship in the comics is that it helped solidify him as a normal person who happens to be a superhero. He was one of the first to have real life problems, so MJ definitely helped that come across. Then, they mucked everything up in the comics and I could be on here for weeks ranting about it.

    • I remember reading Spider-Man when I was a kid. It was so innocent at the time. Nowadays, and I’m not familiar with today’s Spider-Man comics, everything has a dark theme, whether it’s a movie, TV show or comic. Wow, I wish those days of innocence would come back!

      • I have to agree. Spider-Man always had a lighter edge even in darkness. Now, MJ made a deal with Mephisto to erase their marriage and save the life of Aunt May. Peter Parker died after Doctor Octopus switched bodies with him, so it’s now Octavius in Spider-Man’s body. It might be different now, but I haven’t had the strength to check again.

      • He’s still lurking in Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus’s mind. Though, nobody seems to notice Peter Parker and Spider-Man are acting different. I guess they’re building up to Peter Parker returning from the dead and getting his body back.

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