Peter Parker on the side of a train with Mayday and Gwen in 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Shows Us What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like

One of the staples of Peter Parker’s life is his relationship with Mary Jane Watson. As we learned in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, there are canonical events that have to stay in place for each Spidey-person, and I’d like to think that Peter and Mary Jane are one of those events. (This is not confirmed by the movie, but by my heart.) While he’s had other girlfriends and relationships over the years, Peter’s love for MJ is a mainstay for fans. And in the first Spider-Verse film, we saw them struggling.

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In Into the Spider-Verse, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were no longer together. So when Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) sees Mary Jane (Zoë Kravitz) at an event in Miles’ world, he’s reminded of the love he has for her. At the end of the movie, he goes back to her home with flowers and is seemingly ready to work on their relationship. And in Across the Spider-Verse, we get to see the result of that: Mayday Parker.

Mary Jane is voiced by Melissa Sturm in the sequel, and while she’s only briefly in the movie, she’s still important to Peter Parker’s story and his relationship to his daughter Mayday—because she doesn’t micromanage everything Peter is doing. With new parents, we often see the overwhelmed aspect of their day to day life and the need to control anything that happens with their child, but what we see from Mary Jane is a deep trust for Peter Parker and her knowledge that he’d never let anything happen to Mayday.

That trust makes for one of the most healthy relationships in the series (alongside Jefferson and Rio’s marriage), and it’s wonderful to see.

Trusting each other

Mayday Parker hanging upside down in 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'
(Sony Pictures Releasing)

Mayday Parker is the daughter of Peter and Mary Jane, and she goes with her dad to the Spider Society. When Peter eventually takes her home to Mary Jane, MJ isn’t mad that Mayday ended up on a mission with Peter; she trusts him and knows he’d protect her. There’s even a moment when Peter is questioning his ability as a father, and MJ makes a joke to him about how it’s a little “too late” to worry about that now—but it isn’t rooted in a fear of Peter leaving them. MJ knows that Peter Parker would never leave his family.

What’s beautiful about their relationship is the openness with one another. As a character, Peter Parker is often limited by his own thoughts and inability to open up. We even see it in Into the Spider-Verse, and it’s why they broke up in the first place. But Across the Spider-Verse highlights how Peter and MJ have grown and how they can communicate with one another.

Even when MJ learns that Peter took Mayday into a dangerous situation, she’s not angry and yelling at him. She’s simply smiling, knowing that he wouldn’t have let anything happen to Mayday, and it is oddly beautiful how these two interact with one another over their daughter. It all goes back to their divorce and Peter’s feelings about kids back in Into the Spider-Verse, and how Miles changed that for him.

Miles made Peter want to be a dad

Peter Parker with his hanging baby carrier in 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'
(Sony Pictures Releasing)

At the end of Into the Spider-Verse, Peter is telling Miles how proud he is of him, and he says something to Miles about maybe wanting kids. It isn’t because Miles was a kid who needed a father; he had a great one in Jefferson. But it was because Peter’s own insecurities over being a “good” dad were rooted in the fact that he thought he’d mess it up. Seeing Miles succeed because of his help and feeling proud of him just confirmed that Mary Jane was right: Peter would be a great father.

Still, in Across the Spider-Verse, Peter tells Miles that it was because of him that Mayday even exists, and that he knew he wanted kids after meeting Miles. All of the good in Peter’s life now came from going to Miles’ universe to help him. His wife, his daughter—it’s all because Miles Morales was there to need Peter, and Peter needed him in turn.

Across the Spider-Verse made me a little sad that we’ll never see Peter B. Parker’s MJ with Miles. I feel like they’d both have stories about Peter and his insecurities, but also about just how good of a man he is. The movie is filled with great examples of love and acceptance, from Rio and Jefferson to Gwen’s father eventually coming around on her status as Spider-Woman. It was all made that much better by getting to see MJ and Peter as parents and how much they just trust each other.

(featured image: Sony Pictures Releasing)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.