A Couple of Things I Liked About Spider-Man 3

I just got back from seeing Spider-Man 3, and while I’d want to watch it a few times on DVD or whatever before writing any kind of full-on analysis, I’m going to share two little things that made a big difference for my enjoyment of the film.

Spoilers ahead, naturally.  Come back later if you haven’t seen the movie, and don’t want to know anything about it ahead of time.

One of the subplots of Spider-Man 3 concerns the ways in which Venom alters Peter’s behavior while he’s…uh…wearing…him?  It?  Oh, comics!  Anyway.  Essentially, Peter (Tobey Maguire) starts wearing the black suit which is actually an evil alien parasite, and he turns into a total jerk.  During this phase, he takes Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) out to dinner at the jazz café where his at-that-point-ex-girlfriend MJ (Kirsten Dunst) works, in a really obvious attempt to make MJ feel like crap.  In case just showing up won’t do the trick, he totally upstages MJ’s singing act with some piano playing and then some over-the-top dancing (dude, dancing?  Why?).

This part of the movie is actually profoundly silly.  But the awesome bit is that, as soon as Gwen realizes what’s going on, she 1) lets Peter know that she thinks his behavior is appalling and 2) tells MJ that she’s sorry about it.  Yes!  Take that, budding love triangle!

It’s obvious that Gwen digs Peter, and, primed by a lifetime of movies and television, I was totally expecting her to go from “you’re doing this for her?” to “I hate her!” – but, instead, I got to see a woman being frustrated with the person who’s actually causing the mess.  I only wish this wasn’t so damn refreshing in a movie.

The other little detail that made me a particularly happy moviegoer is this:

Later on in the movie, while MJ is doing the damsel-in-distress thing, she totally beans Venom with a cinder block.  This is not anywhere near as cool as any one of the many things Peter gets to do (or even Harry.  Or both of them together!  I would’ve happily watched a whole movie’s worth of just that, I swear it) while fighting bad guys, but it’s way better than just hanging out and passively waiting to get rescued.

Maybe next time, MJ could get, like, two cinder blocks, or something.


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    The bit with Gwen sounds awesome! In fiction, women are supposed to catfight to get men – having a man is supposed to be more important to us than not harming other women. Men, of course, upon realizing some damn uppity woman is using them to make another man jealous (how dare she!), always side with the man.

    I can’t speak for everybody, but I certainly would have done what Gwen did. It’s nice to see a woman represented as standing up for another woman on principle without even knowing her – just knowing how a guy is treating her.

  2. says

    I just found this site, so I’m going to be one of those obnoxious people who just jumps in and comments on the most recent post without having anything particularly relevant to say. Sorry.

    I’m just too excited at finding this site to wait until something appropriate comes up.

    My Significant Other is getting terribly tired of us not being able to watch a movie or tv show without my launching into an extended rant about gender/media issues. She will be extremely pleased if I can find another place to vent about this stuff and stop talking over all the dialogue and let her watch tv in peace.

    So I haven’t seen the latest Spiderman and probably won’t (because I’m just too tired of male superhero movies and was never much into comics). But I do love it when women bond instead of having cat fights, and would very much enjoy watching MJ beaning Venom with a Cinderblock!

    Thanks for putting this blog together, and I’ll definitely be back.

  3. says

    Beta – it was the best part of that scene, hands down.

    Crabby – hi there! Welcome. Spider-Man 3 is definitely a comics movie about a male superhero, so if you’re tired of that, you’ll probably want to give it a miss, yeah. 😉 It’s got some very good moments, though.

  4. says

    I just got back from the movie today, and I rly liked that Gwen scene too 😀 It was one of the highlights of the movie. :) Same with Mary Jane throwing the cinder block on Venom (I was worried that it would be Harry to the rescue alrdy >.>;;)

    Just cuz in the last 2 movies Mary Jane did nothing but scream… scream.. and scream :( And even tho I know she’s not the superhero, I was hoping she’d be a little less hysterical and helpless 😐

  5. says

    Definitely, Ami. Just because she’s not the main character doesn’t mean she can’t have any agency. I was really glad to see MJ taking a more active role in this one.

  6. SunlessNick says

    This part of the movie is actually profoundly silly. But the awesome bit is that, as soon as Gwen realizes what’s going on, she 1) lets Peter know that she thinks his behavior is appalling and 2) tells MJ that she’s sorry about it.

    I loved that – and like you, I was totally expecting her to blame MJ for it rather than Peter.

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