Spider-Man and MJ’s Romance Won’t Survive in the MCU: Here’s Why
Spider-Man: Far From Home brought the adorable adolescent love story between Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Michelle Jones (Zendaya) to the surface. The two — boasting awkward teenage energy in the first film and realistically lacking suave seduction skills — have come together at last (as MJ and Parker always do). However, this MJ is not Mary Jane, and this Peter Parker is not the Spidey of Sony installments past.
Mary Jane and Peter Parker are Marvel’s most famous duo: the Bonnie and Clyde of good guys. However, the classic MJ is often depicted as a damsel, always in need of Spidey’s saving. In the most recent Spider-Man franchise, this archaic trope was removed — thank you Kevin Feige and Co. — and audiences received Michelle Jones: an observant girl with a knack for dry humor, who is capable of deducing deception and analyzing the abstract.
Zendaya’s MJ is nothing like Kirsten Dunst’s, and Tom Holland’s Parker is sure to travel a different path, exploring beloved comic book tales that have yet to hit the silver screen in the main Marvel timeline.
Just like Michelle Jones’ name alludes to the archetypal MJ without mimicking the persona, her actions and her story will pay homage to the character, yet set a different journey in motion.
When taking into account Feige’s desire to satisfy fans and explore the unexpected, the reasons why this romance was never built to last becomes obvious. Let’s explore the reasons surrounding MJ’s character before swinging back over to Parker (cheesy pun intended).
Michelle Jones’ role in relation to Spider-Man
Mary Jane exists as an extension of Peter Parker — his Achilles heel, so to speak, as she must be protected at all costs (as seen in the franchise with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst).
Jane is solely written to support the hero’s arc. She is not an individual; she is a vehicle the writers use to further delve into the protagonist’s psyche and internal conflicts. Thus, her love story with Parker must come to fruition. They must wind up together; otherwise, she fails to achieve the one goal she has, and Parker fails to discover how to balance his personal and heroic lives.
On the other hand, Zendaya’s Michelle Jones has been written as an individual — with a narrative connected, but not dependent on Parker. She is observant. She is quick. She helps solve the puzzle. She has a soft spot for Parker, but he is not the reason for her being.
Providing fans this love story, for a brief moment, is wise, as it pays homage to the source material; however, it has not been built to endure. It has been built to exist. Zendaya Michelle Jones has been written to grow independently of Parker; they will both grow through each other as opposed to Parker solely growing through MJ. It is quite possible that Marvel is even grooming Michelle Jones to become the next Spider-Woman, leaving her to venture into unexplored hero territories. She will just have to get over her fear of swinging through the air first.
Allowing the love story to exist is tributary, yet allowing it to permeate the narrative degree of separation this franchise has retained from the original tale would be regressive. And, it could work to minimize the trailblazing ingenuity created thus far. Feige has bigger plans than mimicry. Maybe, Feige will choose a comic book story for Spidey that has yet to appear on the silver screen.
Spidey’s future following the Fox/Disney merger
With the Fox/Disney merger behind us, the MCU has gained a handful of awesome characters, as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are now at Marvel’s disposal. Disney will be the content king for ages.
In certain comics, Spidey has a relationship with Kitty Pryde who, rumor has it, will be joining the MCU with Halle Bailey being eyed to take on the role. Will MJ and Spidey go their separate ways, leaving both characters to find new love, as your first is rarely your last?
Allowing Spidey to join the X-Men and take actions that align with comic book plots never before seen on screen would be a Feige move; however, all remains to be seen as Sony and Disney continue negotiating their current arrangement.