The world of comics is vast and broad and welcoming to just about everyone, no matter how much the stereotype of The Simpsons "Comic Book Guy" clings to it. But every now and then Comic Book Guy and his nastier counterparts pop up, especially on the Internet, and especially on sites like this one where every single tidbit of information about an upcoming superhero movie is dissected as if it contains the code to the universe.
Yesterday we posted the first on-set images of Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, currently in production in New York. Because they were pictures of an actress walking from place to place on the set, not in costume, the notable difference was seeing her hair tinted to Mary Jane's signature red. Honestly, the photos weren't that interesting. Until the comments started.
"Omg she looks horrible I hope they can do something with that face of hers." "Mary Jane is supposed to be hot." "Looks horrible as a redhead." The comments on our site weren't actually as bad as they were elsewhere on the Internet, and not half as bad as the so-called satire posted at Comic Book Movie, with instructions on how to make Woodley hot enough to play "every nerd's wet dream." The "satire" was so close to the real thing that most of their commenters didn't get the difference, and reading it makes your skin crawl because you just know that's exactly how a strong handful of fanboys feel, no irony intended.
You guys. This is what Shailene Woodley looks like:
You know why she doesn't look like the character from the comics, with an exaggerated waist and enormous breasts? Because she's a fucking human being, with a bone structure and muscles and fat and all the things that allow her to move about in the world, not just to sit down and pose like a sex fantasy. The Amazing Spider-Man made a concerted effort toward making Peter Parker's world realer, making the flirtation between him and Gwen Stacy feel more authentic and even the costumes more realistic. Shailene Woodley, who showed amazing naturalism in The Descendants as well as her acclaimed Sundance film The Spectacular Now, ought to fit into that perfectly. To criticize her natural looks is to miss the entire aesthetic of the franchise as Marc Webb has re-imagined it.
I'm tempted to respond to all of this by posting more photos of Woodley looking stunning on the red carpet, or my account of meeting her in person to talk about The Descendants and finding her not only gorgeous but engaging and interesting. But fuck that-- if you are writing off an actress in a superhero movie based on one shot of her on set, you don't deserve the movie. It's not Shailene Woodley's looks that will make her role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 good; it is her talent. She's proven she's got plenty of it. Everything else is just noise from fans who idiotically expect their ink and paper "wet dream" to take human form.
(Shailene Woodley image via Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com)