Geek Couples: Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man & MJ - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Geek Couples: Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man & MJ

Chris Morley takes a look overhead.
We come now to the final act, at least to date, in Spider-Man's on-screen romantic entanglements, a web we've weaved through in reverse cinematic order as the actors cast as Peter Parker have themselves been younger each time. Back in 2002, when Tobey Maguire made his Spidey-debut, he was, in a sense, back in the arms of Mary-Jane Watson. Played by Kirsten Dunst and more recognisable as the girl introduced in issue 25 of The Amazing Spider-Man than her counterpart Michelle from the almost completely different universe of Homecoming & Far From Home.

Yet while here Peter Parker is undoubtedly older, a high school senior, an early act of irresponsibility breaks a key familial bond - ignorant of his Uncle Ben's advice that with great power comes great responsibility, blinded by a desire to impress her, his winning big in a wrestling tournament entered to raise the money to buy her a car costs him far more than the money the thief who robs the promoter's office makes off with, after the man who will become a sort of elder statesman Spidey in retrospect lets him go. And having lost one father figure, Peter quickly rebuffs another - Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin offering him a place by his side during his first public appearance in the Goblin armour.

Norman Osborn/Green Goblin: I've been like a father to you. Be a son to me.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man: I have a father. His name was Ben Parker.
Norman Osborn/Green Goblin: God's speed, Spider-Man.

Rebuffed, he quite literally strikes at Parker's heart by attacking poor old Aunt May after she's invited him plus his own actual flesh & blood son Harry & Mary-Jane to Thanksgiving dinner. There's gratitude, eh? Maybe the turkey was a bit off?

Regardless, there's an added complication at this stage between the geek coupling of Spidey and MJ, in that MJ is going out with Harry - but she later admits she's in love with Spider-Man to his alter ego after he's saved her life on multiple occasions, oblivious to the fact that Peter is actually the man in the red & black! Not the best time for Harry to join them. But his relaying of the whole business to his dear old dad does provide the first real test of both love & heroism for Osborn junior's strained friend after the Green Goblin takes Mary-Jane hostage as part of an attack on a trolley car.

Evidently she must be worth saving...
“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. “
By the time Spider-Man 2 hits, things are even more complicated.

Cast adrift from both Mary-Jane & Harry, another potential father figure enters proceedings in the form of Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus, who swings from mentor to villain and its that old devil love that seals the transition to evil after his wife is killed in an explosion during a demonstration of his fusion power technology. Yet any grief at that quickly gives way to obsession with perfecting the very instrument of her death, his mechanical arms becoming his driving force in every sense as he agrees to benefactor Harry's request to find Spider-Man in exchange for tritium, the final piece of his jigsaw!

Which leads to a visit to the man who had so respected his scientific achievements to strike at Spidey's heart once more...
Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus: Find him or I'll peel the flesh off her bones.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man: If you lay one finger on her …
The threat to MJ's life actually spurs Peter's Spider-senses to return, having discarded the suit in the wake of something of a breakdown after his love interest becomes engaged to the astronaut John Jameson. Parker had tried to return to as normal a life as possible & even talk MJ into rekindling the old flame, which fails as per Spider-Man No More from the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man circa 1967. The rest of the film takes its cue from Doc Ock's own 1964 début and If This Be My Destiny from 1966, prior to a rather big change for both the chap with the tentacles & his protégé/foe by the time of Dying Wish in 2012.

A hint of that retrospectively surfaces here when Doctor Octopus allows something of his old self to return after being convinced by Peter that he can't possibly be the architect of nuclear doom.
“I will not die a monster.”
But by Spider-Man 3, it's Parker who very nearly becomes the monster thanks to a symbiote arriving via a meteorite making a landing in Central Park.

By this point Peter Parker has his girl & wants to make an honest woman of her. Until, that is, Venom has its way & changes him into the sort of person he would never otherwise be - with heightened power comes supreme arrogance, we might say! What follows in a sense is the two films of the Amazing Spider-Man series with slight revisions in that Gwen Stacy doesn't meet her end & is the third person in a sort of love triangle with Mary-Jane & Peter after he kisses her at an event intended to honour him for saving her life!

“Let me ask you something. When you kissed her, who was kissing her? Spider-Man, or Peter? “
Not to mention dancing with her in a local jazz club....
“What is happening to you?”
Yet while Parker's personal life flounders, his career takes off somewhat after exposing fellow snapper Eddie Brock as a fraud for faking pictures which paint Spider-Man as a criminal. And after ridding himself of Venom, which takes some of his powers as a sort of parting gift, he brings the symbiote & its most frequent host together, which we'll look at in more detail soon enough. Here, though, the sort of geek couple bond they establish in the standalone Venom film is barely even hinted at as Brock's new-found lust for that most seductive of drugs, power, kills him & apparently the symbiote which has granted it into the bargain after yet another attempt to finally break Spider-Man's heart.

But break it does not. Reconciliation for Peter & MJ follows closure between both he & Harry, who becomes a redeemed Goblin & dies having made peace with his old friend and the pain he feels over the death of Uncle Ben. A fitting end for the hero.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad