The Debate: Mary Jane v. Gwen

Peter Parker has only had two great loves. In the comics, they've both met tragic ends. But in the movies, they've both been played by two of the hottest actresses of their eras. (And since the first movie came out 10 years ago, writing that makes me feel really old, but such is the cyclical nature of Hollywood.) So let's compare them -- which isn't sexist because they're fictional characters.




Mary Jane Watson

Gwen Stacy

Edge: Mary Jane, because she actually has a last name to go with her two first names



Mary Jane: archetypal Girl Next Door; friendly but unattainable; went for empty pretty-boy Harry Osborne, despite having the personality of James Franco v1.0 

Gwen: Smart, sassy, independent, single, driven 

Edge: Gwen



Mary Jane: Thinks of him as a friend until he lays off his nerdy tendencies

Gwen: Notices him right away, but waits for him to man up and declare his intentions 

Edge: Gwen 



Mary Jane: Verbally abusive, when he's around

Gwen: Overbearing, though places her safety above all else

Edge: Gwen, even though both dads could probably kick Peter's scrawny butt if he brought their daughters home past curfew 



Mary Jane: Redhead played by Kirsten Dunst, known for being blonde

Gwen: Blonde played by Emma Stone, known for being a redhead

Edge: Draw



Mary Jane: Aspiring actress (so really, a waitress)

Gwen: Intern for scientist doing cutting-edge research

Edge: Gwen



Mary Jane: Kissed a masked stranger in a dark alley

Gwen: Lets a costumed dude into her bedroom

Edge: Gwen, because at least she knew the costumed dude



Mary Jane: Easily kidnappable

Gwen: Attempts to thwart citywide disaster 

Edge: Gwen



Gwen Stacy, in a landslide. She's cooler, stronger and arguably cuter.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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