Gwen Stacy

Everyone knows Mary Jane Watson. She’s Spidey’s girl in the original Spider-Man trilogy of the early 2000’s. She’s also the redhead who set Peter Parker’s heart aflutter. A decade later the web slinger’s at it again, but this time he has Gwen Stacy on his mind. Unlike Mary Jane, who Peter fell for in an emotional whirlwind, Gwen’s intellect far supersedes even that of Spider-Man’s for her to become Peter’s one-and-only.

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

For today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday, let’s have a look at this gorgeous blonde, and her talent for helping Spider-Man, spoiler-free.

In the two The Amazing Spider-Man movies, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) grabs Peter’s attention from the first time the audience sees them together. The daughter of George Stacy, the city’s police chief, she doesn’t give bullies a choice when she defuses a situation. As opposed to threatening or cajoling, she uses psychology. The crowd disperses and she becomes a quiet hero.

Her strong ability to use her mind and remain focused makes her the perfect girl for Spider-Man. His wild lifestyle, staying up all hours of the night, coming home smelling like something the cat dragged in dictates his need for someone to match his extrovert existence. Gwen’s cool demeanor calms the superhero.

Gwen Stacy
Gwen Stacy

That’s not to say their conversations lean toward boredom. On the contrary, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) loses himself around the heart-stopping beauty. They want to communicate, but most of the time, he jams up his tongue so bad against the roof of his mouth that he rattles off nonsense. Gwen understands him, though. In his incoherent babble, she still knows what he’s saying.

During defeats, Gwen comforts him, tends to his wounds, and provides him moral support when everyone else seems to have left him. And why not? What drives her is her outlook. She’s hopeful, always looking to the future. In a speech to the graduating body, she says:

“It’s easy to feel hopeful on a beautiful day like today, but there will be dark days ahead of us too. There will be days where you feel all alone, and that’s when hope is needed most. No matter how buried it gets, or how lost you feel, you must promise me that you will hold on to hope. Keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope; people need that. And even if we fail, what better way is there to live? As we look around here today, at all of the people who helped make us who we are, I know it feels like we’re saying goodbye, but we will carry a piece of each other into everything that we do next, to remind us of who we are, and of who we’re meant to be.” ~Gwen Stacy

Like she said, it’s easy to be happy during sunny days. It’s during those dark days that hope tends to flee. Gwen figured that out early in life. If only everyone else could, too.

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What do you find compelling about Gwen Stacy? How does she differ from Mary Jane Watson?

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11 thoughts on “Gwen Stacy

  1. If you consider the criteria by which portrayals of women in film are often measured, Gwen Stacey comes out well. She certainly does not exist only to define or motivate a man. Peter’s love for Gwen is not the thing that drives him on as the hero, in fact he is not able to reconcile the one with the other. Similarly Gwen is not defined by Peter or her own unrealistic powers. She is strong willed, brave and smart and yet doesn’t seem to know any martial arts whatsoever. She is beautiful without being objectified and her presence is not a token one.

    I refer to this as The Ripley Factor on my blog but this does not seem to quite apply in this here. Katniss Everdeen has The Ripley Factor but Gwen Stacey has something altogether more realistic. She shows a resourcefulness that doesn’t actually seem beyond that of normal people and this is actually typical of the parts Emma Stone chooses to play. Perhaps it should be called the Skeeter Scale.

  2. I haven’t seen The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yet, but I plan on watching it soon. I really liked Gwen in the first movie, although, I will admit, I didn’t really like the fact that her and Peter started dating. At the time that I watched the first Amazing Spider-Man movie, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about the comics. And I still don’t know a lot about the comics, but I know more now than I did then.

  3. I like Gwen in the movies. In the comics she’s more of a bland character, although she still has a big impact on Peter’s life. Spider-Man: Blue is a great graphic novel about their relationship.

  4. I don’t know the comics that well, so I can only compare the characters in the movies, and I have to say, I prefer Gwen Stacy. She’s dynamic and a good offset for Peter. I enjoyed her character quite a bit in the first Andrew Garfield Spiderman movie (haven’t seen the second, know what happened).

    • Hey Katie, the second movie was great. Lots of action, plenty of drama, and some wonderful music by Hans Zimmer. Hopefully I didn’t spoil it for you by quoting the speech?

  5. I think Gwen Stacy is one of the most difficult characters to talk about. Only because anyone who is even a moderate fan of Spider-Man knows her role in the comics. So you really can’t blurt that out to those that don’t know. Honestly, you really can’t use her without doing ‘that thing’. As for Mary Jane . . . that’s another one that’s become hard to talk about.

    • Agree. It was hard writing about her without giving anything away. I thought about putting in a spoiler alert, but then it would mean getting in over my head, which defeats the purpose of Women Who Wow Wednesday, focusing on her positive traits than talking about “that thing”. Then again, I could be wrong about that, since “that thing” would have probably spurred a discussion that would have excluded those who either haven’t seen the movie or read the comic #121.

      Maybe I should have dwelt on it. I don’t know. It was a call I had to make.

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