Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mary Jane Watson: What Do WE Know?

If you're regarding the recent reveal that actress Zendaya Coleman had been cast as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming (or Michelle Jane Watson, but still "M.J." regardless) in terms of fidelity to the source material, then it probably is disappointing that Hollywood is still adverse to gingers..but Zendaya is an actress and glamorous model..and the Mary Jane Watson of the comics is an actress and glamorous model...she's as good a choice (perhaps a better casting choice) than the 2 actresses who preceded her (Kirsten Dunst and Shailene Woodley). And there's another thing to consider:

"Face it tiger, you hit the jackpot!" kind of a ridiculously corny thing a woman could say. The only actresses who could get away with saying that line just right - in all sincerity, without a trace of sarcasm or saccharine schmaltz - are Karen Gillan and Ellie Kemper, and they're not teenagers. Megan Fox could do it, because we've seen her play the M.J. all of you detractors think you want to see 4 Michael Bay movies (yes, I'm counting the TMNT movies). And I don't know if Bella Thorne could've delivered that line, either.

Past Spider-Man films tended to downplay M.J.'s personality to match the performance of their Spider-Man/Peter Parker. Dunst's M.J. could be noncommittal and fickle. Leaked dialogue for Woodley's deleted scenes appeared to portray Mary Jane as pragmatic and less of a party girl than the M.J. from Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.'s stories. In other words, she might've been characterized as having more in common with Peter, socially.

There's a superficial take on Mary Jane..and a more complex one. The superficial M.J. is...Megan Fox in a Transformers movie. I'm not going to waste words - if you want to see quintessential M.J. Watson, watch Megan Fox in the first 2 Transformers movies. That's Mary Jane in all but name only...yet lacking complexity.

The complex Mary Jane Watson is the one who became Peter's confidant..and eventually, his wife. She's the one who became the love of his life..first by staying by his side to help him with his grief after Gwen died. We haven't seen that M.J. depicted on film at all...maybe we will see Zendaya bring out that aspect of the character. That would be awesome.

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