Esther Velez

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Mary Jane – The True Villain of Spiderman 3


I recently re-watched the old Spiderman movies – you know, the ones with Tobey Maguire?

You can see how much those movies have aged, although it’s not so much the CGI that gives it away, but the sets and costumes.

When you watch all three in a row, like we did, you can see that Spiderman 3 was – hands down – the best of the trilogy.

Spiderman 3 was bigger and longer than any of the other movies – and it boasted a host of unique bad guys: Harry Osborn as the new Green Goblin, the Sandman, and Venom.

You can even go so far as to say the symbiote, was another villain, because it created the Black Suit Spiderman and Venom.

Oh, and then there’s Mary Jane.

Now hear me out on this.

It’s not like all of the villains in these movies hate Spiderman and want to kill him. Except for Harry, they’ve mainly been doing their own thing when Spiderman shows up and gets in their way.

Of course they’re going to fight him. The only time any of it gets personal is when they threaten to kill Mary Jane if Spiderman doesn’t leave them alone.

But what if Mary Jane isn’t just a damsel in distress?

What if, unlike every other villain in these movies, she’s the only one who actively pursues Spiderman’s destruction?

What if she is the true villain of Spiderman 3 – scratch that – the entire Spiderman trilogy?

Let’s start from the top.

What Is a Villain?

I used the word villain, but a better word for it is “antagonist”.

The definition of antagonist (according to Google) is:


A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.

Peter Parker’s goal in the Spiderman trilogy is to serve the city of New York as Spiderman. His secondary goal is to be in a relationship with MJ. These two goals create huge amounts of conflict because he can’t be with her if he’s Spiderman.

Mary Jane, on the other hand, has only one goal: to be in a relationship with Peter Parker.

She is actively opposed to Peter being Spiderman. She works against him by turning him into a villain and making him go through so much pain that he eventually gives up being Spiderman – for good.

Happily Ever After?

In Spiderman 1, Mary Jane realizes that she’s in love with Peter. However, he won’t be with her because he’s Spiderman, which she realizes when he walks away from her. So, she decides that her true enemy is Spiderman – he’s the only one standing in the way of her goal (to be with Peter).

She’s not very smart right now, because she is, after all, very young.

Her first approach: get him to give up being Spiderman because he CAN’T be with her.

In Spiderman 2, this works for a bit –  he stops being Spiderman because he can’t be with her. He kinda lets the whole Spider thing go, and he actually starts to feel better about everything. But then Aunt May gives him a guilt trip and he decides that it might be time to become Spiderman again.

Her plan fails, and she has to get back together with Peter (read: run away on her wedding day) in order to figure something else out.

Her second approach is this: if she can’t get him to give up his powers, she can turn him into a villain.

Mary Jane gets this idea when she comes in contact with the symbiote at the beginning of Spiderman 3. The symbiote amplifies qualities that its host already possesses, and it gives her the power to think up more dastardly plans.

She will make him a villain by:

Delivering the Symbiote to His House

As mentioned earlier, MJ comes in contact with the symbiote. It jumps onto the back of Peter’s scooter, directly where she was sitting.

The next time the symbiote appears is when Mary Jane is ALONE in Peter’s apartment.

symbiote-02She delivered it there so that it can begin its work of consuming Peter – which, SPOILER ALERT, it totally does.

Reawakening the New Green Goblin

After a scuffle with Peter, Harry Osborn loses all of his memories since the week before his father died. Harry is Spiderman’s worst opponent because he has genuine hate for the man.

Mary Jane spends a great deal of time with Harry, eventually kissing him. This action jogs his memories, reminding him that he hates Spiderman and wants to kill him.

Peter and Harry get into another fight, this time with Peter hurting his friend and leaving him for dead.

Spiderman has made the first step in the direction of evil, and he loves the power that he has.

Leaving Him and Breaking His Heart

But if that wasn’t enough, MJ takes away the only thing that has ever kept Peter going – herself.

She knows how much this will hurt – she’s did this to him in Spiderman 2.


With nothing left to lose, Peter basically goes crazy, culminating in his destruction of the Sandman.


The Dance and the Slap

However, Mary Jane knows that he will eventually defeat the darkness inside of him. This happens when he engages in a weird dance with Gwen Stacy and accidentally slaps MJ in a fit of rage.

Peter comes to the end of himself and receives supernatural help to defeat the symbiote inside of him.

But this is far from over.

The Final Battle

Mary Jane has one more trick up her sleeve – and that manifests itself in a final battle where the movie’s major villains team up to destroy Spiderman.

The object in this fight isn’t like every other fight. The point of THIS fight is to kill Spiderman.

And it works.

Mind you, Spiderman doesn’t physically die, but Peter Parker gives him up.

The fight broke his spirit and killed his only real friend.

Peter Parker is done being Spiderman.

The movie does not end with a victorious (albeit bittersweet) final swing and a confirmation of his identity as Spiderman.

Spiderman 3 ends, instead, with Peter dancing in the arms of Mary Jane.

Mary Jane, his greatest antagonist, has officially won.

Spiderman is no more and Peter Parker is all hers.

What do you guys think about this theory? Is Mary Jane the true mastermind behind Spiderman 3?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below.


  1. This is a great post, by the way. I totally agree that this theory must be true. But that’s just a theory… A movie theory. 🙂

    The symbiote is said to amplify aggression and personality traits, e.g. insecurity. Mary Jane is depicted as being very insecure in this movie. She usually isn’t so insecure about her acting that she doesn’t tell Peter; instead she’s slightly insecure enough to say, “Don’t tell Harry” . This is because she has been affected by the symbiote, amplifying her insecurity.

    In conclusion, Mary Jane IS the true antagonist in the entire Spider-Man and Sam Raimi made a better movie than Marc Webb. Just sayin’.

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