However, I do think we need to take into consideration the nature of adaptations. MJ's story was built over the span of many, many years. And there was no greater plan involved. It just sort of happened. And due to the length and breadth of the story being told, it's going to be difficult to translate into another medium.Frontier wrote: ↑Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:49 pmThat's why I think it's all the more meaningful to retain the fact that Mary Jane is this glamorous and vivacious woman with tons of depth to her, which is true to the comics, rather then making her another dime-a-dozen go-getter reporter in a Superhero story.
Doing otherwise, in my opinion, makes MJ in the comics seem more like a stereotype and one-note character detractors would like you to think she is rather then the nuanced and progressive figure she actually is.
Spectacular was able to capture Mary Jane from the comics well even in it's short-run and where she wasn't even as much the female lead she usually, is while not making her into just your average vain beauty, and then compare that to the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoons where you could just basically sum up her entire character with "she's a reporter" and barely distinguishable from any version of Lois Lane, Iris West, or even Vicki Vale.
But I am of the mind that Mary Jane as the Party Girl is equally who she is as much as her compassion, empathy, tough attitude, and self-doubt is. And I think that's where the Raimi films failed in capturing her character, because they took away her fun and glamour to make her more of a Silver Age love interest and just didn't really capture who Mary Jane is.
Rather then trying move the character away from the person who said "Face it Tiger..." I think people should look more deeply into what that line really stands for and how much it ultimately defines MJ. It's not just about her looks, it's about her confidence, her swagger, and her depth, and that she's proud of all of this. I think that's as meaningful and important to see in media as it is women in "professional" jobs or roles, particularly when those traits are more often then not associated negatively or with villains (as you alluded too).
Yes, Spectacular Spider-Man did try to go down that route. And it had the benefit of being a heavily serialized storyline that could track a plot thread across multiple episodes and several years.
Spectacular Spider-Man, however, was also canceled after two "Seasons" which was due in part to Marvel's merger with Disney and the rights to Spider-Man works on television being taken away from the people making the show. So while we got the first part of that story, it was something that took a back seat to Peter's relationship with Gwen Stacy. And it turned out we never got to see where the story would go, and likely never will.
Or take the Amazing films. There was an actress cast for MJ and everything for the second film. With plans for a third one. But Shailene Woodley's part was cut for time, and the series was planned to go in a different direction due to the popularity of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and they were trying to find attempts to bring her back to the series in some ways, and then the series was cancelled outright in favor of letting Marvel reboot the series in the MCU. And then we got the whole "Michelle" debacle which feels like the filmmakers were trying to be cute and clever and try to get one over the audience, but had to pull back because of other factors (Like the negative fallout over Sony's Ghostbusters film the previous year.)
That's sort of the thing that I think hurts a story like MJ's from being properly adapted into another medium- time. There's simply not a lot of time to devote to MJ having that in depth of a story. Remember, she is still just a supporting character to the person who is the star of the film. Or the TV show. Or the video game. Sure, we like to argue that "Oh, the film makers could just introduce MJ in the first film along with Gwen, then kill off Gwen in the second, and have MJ and Peter get together in the third." But that's what the filmmakers for the Amazing films were trying to do, and they couldn't get to the third film. Just as Spectacular was cancelled before it could get to MJ's story in depth. A long term story could be derailed for any reason. The film doesn't do as well at the box office. Actors or directors leave a franchise over salary disputes. The rights change hands which puts the kibosh on any films or television shows currently in production. All these and more we have seen first hand derail these sort of "Long term" plans, especially when it comes to MJ.
Hence why when adapting these sort of things, it's better to take the "Done in one" approach. That you get the story you want to tell out right here and now, rather than working on a story that sets up a sequel that may never happen. Which means making sacrifices. Which means that the early MJ interpretation may have to get cut, since that's a lot of story to devote to a character that isn't the titular protagonist. A character like MJ still has to have an important role in the story, that interacts with the main protagonist, and do so within a limited running time to which only a portion of the story can be devoted to her. That's not a lot of time to fit in MJ being introduced as a flighty party girl, to then have a realization that she needs to grow up, and then mature as a character, and finally become romantically involved with Peter. Maybe you could do that in a 60 hour RPG. But not in an action adventure game that may only run 8 to 10 hours in the main quest.
Hence why they have to cut corners. And MJ has to be presented in a way that is already fully formed. And be in a role where she can naturally engage with the protagonist without it having been forced or requires a lot of explanation that would slow a story down. Sure, progression can happen and you can plan for further expansions based on the medium. But it's best not to leave anything out because you are expecting to get to it in the "inevitable" sequel.
MJ as a reporter allows her naturally to interact with Peter's world. It allows her to be involved in the action that doesn't require a lot of exposition and doesn't feel forced. Why is she at the bank? Probably to report on a story and she got caught up in the action. Why is she helping Peter with the Mr. Negative case? Because that's a story she's working on for the Bugle. MJ becomes an active participant in the narrative, rather than a passive one. She's helping drive the narrative in a way other than Peter is pining for her and/or fighting with someone else for her affections. And, yes, this means jettisoning some of the earlier aspects of her character. But this is also about adapting the later aspects of MJ's character, the stuff that people actually like and point to as being the stuff that truly makes her a strong character that often gets overlooked. The resourcefulness, the compassion, the strength and determination.
Sure, we lose the "Face It, Tiger" moment. That's a shame. But it also means that MJ likely isn't going to be forever defined by just being the attractive redhead at the door who had the big gag of "Oh, look, the girl May wanted to hook Peter up with is actually stunningly beautiful." Which is the box that far too many people try to force her into.