Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson Is Nonetheless Spider-Man’s Greatest Love Curiosity

Spider-Man has been tailored to movie in three completely different film franchises, every with their very own supporting characters, however Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy continues to be the very best love curiosity. Although Dunst’s character has acquired fairly a little bit of criticism from followers and informal viewers alike, she’s maybe the trilogy’s most misunderstood character. Out of all of the Spider-Man cinematic love pursuits, Dunst’s Mary Jane is the one one who goes past the function of merely romancing the hero and exists on her personal deserves with company and character improvement. Mixed with unimaginable accuracy to her comedian counterpart and three nuanced performances by Dunst, Raimi’s Mary Jane set a regular that no different Spider-Man love curiosity has reached but.


The Raimi Spider-Man movies started in 2002, at a time when superhero movies, particularly Marvel movies, have been nonetheless discovering their footing within the cinematic panorama. Following the well-received Blade and X-Males movies, Spider-Man upped the ante for the superhero style by prioritizing earnest, naturalistic characterization and juxtaposing it with unapologetic faithfulness to the comedian supply materials, making for a sequence that actually embodied the spirit of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s comics. Raimi’s movies have withstood the check of time in a popular culture period now dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, remaining the definitive live-action iteration of the Spider-Man characters for a lot of.

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With the Raimi Spider-Man continuity again, due to the multiverse hijinks in Spider-Man: No Means Dwelling, curiosity within the traditional movies has been renewed. The Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy is usually regarded on favorably by followers, however Mary Jane, sadly, stays one of many few divisive facets of the sequence. Though she does not seem in No Means Dwelling, Mary Jane is talked about by Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. Right here’s a glance again on Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson and why she’s Spider-Man’s finest love curiosity to this present day.

Mary Jane’s Persona & Flaws

Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker in Spider-Man

The Raimi trilogy’s Mary Jane Watson was, like Peter Parker, written with a fancy persona and verisimilitude, leading to a layered and life like character who exists in a world the place abnormal individuals change into superheroes or supervillains. Mary Jane has objectives, persona traits, and flaws that exist exterior of her relationship with Peter. In some ways, Mary Jane is as a lot the protagonist of the Raimi movies as Peter is, and the tales deal with her objectives with the identical significance as Spider-Man’s. Like Peter, Mary Jane is a younger grownup from Queens who struggles to make ends meet and attain her long-term profession purpose (in her case, changing into an actress). In contrast to Peter, she by no means by chance acquired superpowers, and she or he’s proven to be standard and extroverted at college (the place Peter was a social outcast). The place Mary Jane confronted hardship, nevertheless, was at house.

Mary Jane comes from a dysfunctional household with a viciously abusive father, who usually verbally bullied her, even in public. This left Mary Jane insecure and simply wounded by criticisms, however she’s by no means framed negatively by the movies for this. Mary Jane worries about classist judgment from Harry Osborn within the first movie and reminisces on her father telling her that she’s unlovable in a deleted scene from Spider-Man 2. Peter Parker struggles with selfishness and immature conduct, however he learns his classes, generally in catastrophically laborious methods, all through the trilogy, and so does Mary Jane. Leaving John Jameson on the altar in Spider-Man 2 was undeniably merciless, however the novelization reveals that John suspected it would occur, contemplating how rushed the marriage was, and he urged the visitors to forgive Mary Jane for it.

Mary Jane’s Character Growth

Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 2

Mary Jane undergoes main character improvement in every Spider-Man movie, with some arcs that run independently from Peter Parker. Within the first movie, Mary Jane struggles with discovering a significant romantic relationship alongside her dream of changing into an actress. After breaking apart with the shallow Flash Thompson and Harry, who fails to stay up for her throughout his father’s sexist tirade, she realizes that it’s Peter Parker, not the literal superhero, Spider-Man, who she has emotions for. In the meantime, Mary Jane progresses in her appearing endeavors, starring in a play by the start of Spider-Man 2 and transferring on from Peter’s (reluctant) rejection on the finish of the primary movie.

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Mary Jane feels let down by Peter’s absences and damaged guarantees (not realizing about his double life), however reveals company and knowingly chooses a probably tumultuous relationship with Peter after discovering his secret within the movie’s finale. This alternative, apparently, doesn’t have an effect on her profession woes in Spider-Man 3, however her unresolved insecurities and trauma from her abusive childhood do. Regardless of dropping a lead function on Broadway in Spider-Man 3, Mary Jane continues to work in the direction of attaining her profession objectives as soon as extra, all whereas juggling relationship drama with Peter and superhero shenanigans. All through the trilogy, Mary Jane is the one particular person making her personal life’s selections, and she or he succeeds and fails on her personal deserves.

Being Kidnapped Would not Weaken Mary Jane’s Character

Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 2

A standard criticism about Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane is that she was kidnapped or in any other case discovered herself in want of being rescued far too usually. Whereas she is rescued by Spider-Man many instances all through the trilogy, this doesn’t affect her characterization. All through the trilogy, Mary Jane’s perilous conditions have been the means for her character improvement. Within the first movie, Mary Jane’s first encounter with the Inexperienced Goblin and the criminals within the alleyway contributed to her emotions for Spider-Man, who rescued her every time. Her near-death expertise on the Queensboro Bridge solidified that she beloved Peter greater than Spider-Man (in her phrases). In Spider-Man 2, being held hostage by Physician Octopus allowed Mary Jane to find Spider-Man’s true identification, a significant a part of her arc within the movie, and the Spider-Man 3 finale helped redeem Peter and Harry for her.

It’s essential to keep in mind that Mary Jane can also’t fairly battle again towards her assailants, contemplating her lack of superpowers and preventing expertise. Most abnormal individuals would fare simply as nicely towards the Inexperienced Goblin or Venom as Mary Jane did, however she’s nonetheless proven sometimes preventing again. Within the alleyway, Mary Jane is much outnumbered however nonetheless manages to strike a number of attackers earlier than Spider-Man arrives. Later (as revealed within the novelization), Mary Jane is ambushed by the Inexperienced Goblin with sedative gasoline upon getting into her condominium, not getting an opportunity to defend herself. Within the sequels, nevertheless, Mary Jane tries (futilely) to strike Physician Octopus from behind with a metallic pole, however manages to drop a cinderblock on Venom, gorgeous him and saving Spider-Man’s life. For an abnormal human in a world of superpowered beings, her actions are affordable.

Comedian Accuracy

Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man Comics

One other widespread criticism of Dunst’s Mary Jane is that she isn’t correct to her comedian counterpart, however that is additionally a false impression. Raimi’s Mary Jane condenses many years of Marvel’s Spider-Man comedian historical past right into a lead function in three movies, so naturally, some parts of her comedian counterpart are going to be emphasised greater than others. Mary Jane was recognized for being a preferred extrovert in her earliest appearances, and that is acknowledged within the Raimi movies, however not notably emphasised. Dunst’s Mary Jane, just like the comedian model, places on a façade of an extroverted partier as a way of coping together with her abusive house life. Because it’s an deliberately shallow masks, the sequence briefly reveals it within the first movie earlier than transferring on to the deeper sides of her characterization. With a bit over two hours per movie, Raimi correctly targeted extra on Mary Jane’s profession aspirations and interactions with Peter than her extroverted pupil life.

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Comparability To Different Spider-Man Love Pursuits

Kirsten Dunst Mary Jane Emma Stone Gwen Stacy Spiderman no way home return

Mary Jane can also be usually negatively in comparison with Spider-Man’s different love pursuits from the Superb Spider-Man and MCU Spider-Man movies. Whereas the opposite Spider-Man love pursuits are well-written and well-acted, they don’t have practically as a lot nuance or company as Dunst’s Mary Jane. Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, whereas undeniably having unimaginable onscreen chemistry with Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, has few character traits that aren’t tied to Peter indirectly. The MCU’s Michelle (“MJ”) has the same problem, and she or he spends most of Spider-Man: Homecoming throwing petty insults at him earlier than Peter reveals curiosity in her within the subsequent movie. MJ’s characterization and chemistry with Peter Parker noticed vital enchancment in No Means Dwelling, nevertheless, although her future with Peter Parker is now unsure, together with her recollections of him erased. Laura Harrier’s Liz Toomes was a well-rounded character with loads of company, however sadly lacked the extent of depth that Mary Jane had within the Raimi Spider-Man movies, a difficulty worsened by Liz being written out of the movies after Homecoming. Whereas the Spider-Man movies all have compelling supporting casts, Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson continues to be Peter’s finest love curiosity.

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