Name: Gwendolyne Maxine Stacy
Powers: None (just a super-smart human)
First Appears In: The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965)
It’s easy to feel hopeful on a beautiful day like today, but there will be dark days ahead of us too. There will be days where you feel all alone, and that’s when hope is needed most. No matter how buried it gets, or how lost you feel, you must promise me that you will hold on to hope. Keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer. My wish for you is to become hope; people need that. And even if we fail, what better way is there to live? As we look around here today, at all of the people who helped make us who we are, I know it feels like we’re saying goodbye, but we will carry a piece of each other into everything that we do next, to remind us of who we are, and of who we’re meant to be.
Like every good superhero series, Spider-man has some pretty good love interests. His first ‚Äì and some would argue his true ‚Äì love is Gwen Stacy, played in The Amazing Spider-man (1 & 2) by Emma Stone. As my knowledge of the comic books is fairly limited, I‚Äôm just going to look at how she‚Äôs shown in the films (apologies to any great lovers of her character in the comics!).
As a science major, this puts Gwen and Peter on the same intellectual level ‚Äì she‚Äôs certainly not in the damsel-in-distress mold but is rather a smart and pretty no-nonsense girl in his year. They‚Äôre genuinely just a very sweet couple, and achieve a very adorable awkward chemistry in the films. She accepts his need to be a hero fairly well and wants to help him achieve it, endangering her own life in the process on several occasions. However, it‚Äôs something of a shame that as a character she‚Äôs so defined by the fact that she dies; as a result, there‚Äôs only a certain level that people can become truly invested in her. Similarly, though she doesn‚Äôt go with the generic role of a love interest in that she plays a more active role in the narrative, their relationship still follows the stock formula of a forbidden love due to the danger he poses her, ending in a dramatic reunion and her untimely death. Because of this there‚Äôs only so far they can take Gwen‚Äôs character, she is ultimately a victim of fate who is taken out of the Spider-man universe before their relationship can fully develop and serves more as a plot device than a real character ‚Äì though this may well be just me over-analysing.
As I said, they are a sweet couple, and truth be told we all still love a superhero movie to have a romantic sub-plot in it. As a character though, she remains fairly two-dimensional ‚Äì ticking the boxes of pretty, smart and brave, but without the time in the film to expose a deeper level to her character ‚Äì in a lot of ways she‚Äôs actually almost too perfect to be really interesting.
At the end of the day, as characteristics for a young girl to try and emulate, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Gwen Stacey ‚Äì but I personally would rather look to a female figure who‚Äôs a little more badass, and who can stand more independently from the hero‚Äôs narrative.
Girl Museum Inc.