Should Gwen Stacy die in The Amazing Spider-Man 2?
It's been alleged that Gwen Stacy will likely meet her tragic comic book fate in the next Spidey film, but is it really the right way for them to go?
So far The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems to be shaping up pretty nicely. The new costume is practically perfect and the pre-CG villains are looking pretty cool (in a cautiously optimistic way, although I do think that Paul Giamatti is seriously looking the part for Rhino). The one piece of ASM2 gossip that is on everyone’s lips the most however is the fate of poor old Gwen Stacy. All of us even vaguely familiar with the Spidey mythos know what ultimately happens to her: she gets thrown off a bridge and dies (you know, for kids!). When the character was announced to be the leading love interest for the Webhead in the rebooted film series, fan boys immediately started speculating that the new film universe may over time be dealing with the arc of her death, and from what has been rumoured (and more or less confirmed by Stone herself) about the sequel to Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man it looks like we may be seeing this sooner rather than later. This raises the question: is having Gwen die in ASM2 a good idea or a bad idea?
“The Night Gwen Stacy Died” is one of the most notably tragic stories in superhero comic book history, and one that is considered defining for Spider-Man. The idea that a hero could actually fail to save someone (his own girlfriend no less) had been virtually unthinkable beforehand, so the story arc had a pretty significant impact on the genre. It’s been my belief for a while that it is a story deserving of a film adaptation, however I feel that there are both pros and cons to executing it at this stage in the game. The main con is that since we’ve only known Stone’s character for one movie, we might not know her well enough for her death to have that huge of an impact on us. While she has so far been played in a pretty likable and endearing way, saving her death for the third installment would allow the audience to grow more attached to her and therefore be more sad to see her go. So yeah…too soon maybe? Another con would be an issue of faithfulness to the source material: either Electro or Rhino (most likely Electro) would presumably be the one to kill her instead of the Green Goblin, seeing as Norman is not set to appear as the Goblin in this film (although there’s always the possibility that we might be surprised). While she might still be killed at the behest of Norman if he’s the mastermind behind all the s**t hitting the fan, would it really be the same? The fact that Osborn personally killed Spider-Man’s girlfriend in the comics was a defining point for their hero/villain relationship, one that undoubtedly granted him “arch-nemesis” status, so if this is changed for the film then I don’t think it will be nearly as dramatic unless they’re going for a different angle (will Electro take on that “arch nemesis” status instead?).
Anyway, let’s move on to the pros. The reason I think that the death of Gwen Stacy would be a great thing to tackle in the films is that it adds a new layer of emotional depth to Spider-Man. His character is built on tragedy, i.e. the death of a loved one[s] much like most other superheroes, but his tragedy is much more personal than that of say Superman or Batman as he is actually driven by the belief that he is responsible for it because he didn’t use his powers in the way that he should have. This motivation for being a superhero is somewhat compromised after the death of Gwen Stacy, in addition to her father George, as Pete feels that they both died as a result of him being Spider-Man and getting deeply involved with all these maniacal nut-jobs. This further complicates his guilt complex and causes him to question his life and purpose as a masked hero. Now wouldn’t that make for some damn good cinematic drama? Adding to this, a hero failing to save his love interest is something rarely seen in superhero films. Apart from Dark Knight and Daredevil, I can’t think of many others that have done it (yes Lois Lane kind of died at the end of Superman but then Supes did the whole fly around the world and reverse time thing, kind of a WTF moment when you think about it). It certainly hasn’t been done in a Spider-Man film, although the bridge scene was done with MJ in Spidey 1 they copped out in true Hollywood style and let her live, so if Gwen is to die in the next film it will certainly be surprising and interesting in that respect (at least for the non comic book fans who hadn’t seen it coming since before the first one was released). While some may think it's way too soon to kill Gwen Stacy off, I feel that if they do it right it could truly set this film apart from the other Spider-Man films and make it the very best.
So it looks like we may be getting to see whether or not Emma Stone can own a death scene (the trademark for many a great actor). What are your thoughts?
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