I’ve been wanting to write this since after I saw the movie last week, opening day, but I had too much…irritation? to do so. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Here: I know that Gwen Stacy is going to die. She died in the comics and she will likely die in the movies (unless you know, they actually create a universe where she lives and is not an additional death to add to Spider-Man’s “growth”. A girl can hope). I just didn’t know when.
Gwen was portrayed as a strong, smart and independent girl, who knew the value of education, of choosing versus following orders. She was kind and was a good friend. More importantly, she was on equal standing with the male protagonist, our hero Spider-Man. She was a great role model for women everywhere, may they be little girls or Susan Pattons of the universe.
Plus, Emma Stone in the role was perfect.
So it felt like such a betrayal to her character when she insisted i n helping Spider-Man, with the repeated reason of “I know the grid, I saw the plans”. All this build up and all she needed to do? Pull a lever. It wasn’t even someting only Gwen Stacy or someone of her intellectual capacity could’ve done. It was something anyone could have done, and that, coupled with the fact that she insisted, twice, to come along for that very reason made it all so very frustrating and irritating. Yes, I know she saved Spider-Man from being fried mush when she drove in with the cop car (you go, girl!). I loved that she emphasized that where she ends up, however it ends, it will be because it was her choice, on her terms. I love that that was a recurring motif for her since the first movie, with decisions in regards to her life, her relationships. I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that this knowledge of how to work the grid comprises of opening a padlock and pulling a lever. Something Peter could have done, without looking at any map. So yes, I feel more than a little cheated with how they chose to kill her in this, an exemplary role model for girls in this century, a character breathed to life by an actress perfect for the role, off.
They wouldn’t have done that to a male character. Agent Coulson got a good shot at Loki with a weapon only agents of his clearance and up could access before he died in The Avengers. Harry Osbourne, in Spider-Man 3, helped Spider-Man defeat the big baddies in the Green Goblin gear before dying. They made Gwen Stacy, with all her smarts, choose to pull a lever.