Where have the MJ Amazing Spider-Man 2 pictures gone?

News Simon Brew 26 Feb 2013 - 10:28

We took down some The Amazing Spider-Man 2 pictures today. Here's why.

Visitors to this site earlier this morning may have seen a post where we put up pictures taken of Shailene Woodley on her way to the New York set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I've now taken those pictures down, but wanted to explain why.

Shailene Woodley is an excellent actress, as pretty much everyone who sat through her performance in The Descendants can testify. Her casting as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is intriguing, and we'll find out in May of 2014 whether she's a good fit for the role or not. She's a distinct choice from Kirsten Dunst in the earlier films, and she clearly has the talent to pull off the role of Mary Jane.

Unfortunately, and I accept this now is an error on my part, I shouldn't have put the pictures live.

I thought it was worth doing, just to get the first clues as to Woodley in some degree of her character's look. Sadly, a few of the comments under the piece seemed more interested in digesting whether they found Woodley attractive or not. I'm not, however that may sound, judging those who chose to do so. But I just don't want that on Den Of Geek.

The Daily Mail has made a staggering success out of basically posting papped pictures of young women, and all but inviting its readers to comment on how they look. If that's what you seek, there are plenty of sites that can cater for that. The pictures of Shailene Woodley are readily available elsewhere online.

But for Den Of Geek - and I'm not saying we have a perfect track record here - can we try and have a conversation over someone's suitability for a role, rather than judging how they look when a photographer took a quick snap?

I say this as a proudly ugly man, who hated the school playground beauty competitions that most of us have to go through.

I accept this is my fault: I shouldn't have put the pictures up, and perhaps I was naive to do so. I'm sure Shailene Woodley doesn't read Den Of Geek, but if she does, my apologies for putting the pictures on the site. But rather than just take them down, I wanted to explain why. Hate me for it if you like, disagree or agree that Woodley is going to make a good MJ in the movie, but let's leave the judging of people's looks to the Daily Mail.


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I think it's valid critism (although some folks were quite harsh). Her looks are quite an important factor of her casting in this case. The producers say they are trying to be more faithful to the comics - and in the comics Mary Jane is portrayed as this flirtatious, confident, red headed bombshell introduced by Stan Lee to knock the socks off Parker and lure him away from his one true love Gwen and create an interesting love triangle. Shailene may be an amazing actress and she is quite pretty but not in a drop dead gorgeous way that Mary Jane should be. I think that's the point people are trying to make here.

Fair play. Thanks for taking the time to explain, and for getting a much deserved dig into The Daily Mail too... :o)

Yours is a constructive post, and I had no wish to slight it. But I had alarm bells blaring that a chunk of the conversation was heading into less constructive territory (well, it had), and hence pulled the post.

To be clear: constructive criticisms will always be welcome here. I love reading the debates in the comments. But there are too many sites wanting to play hot or not, and I'd prefer Den Of Geek not to be one of them.

Many thanks for your reply - Simon

I have to say some people were getting too personal to the actress and not their view of how the character should be portrayed.

Well said, a good move. Some of the comments posted on this site about the pictures were hateful, immature and clearly from the minds of young men with little experience of real women. I salute you DoG.

Well written, and well done on explaining it, you didn't have to as it was understandable. I've seen plenty of papped pictures on this site and it has never degenerated into that before. It's a shame as the debates and comments here are usually good and stay away from the usual troll nonsense of other sites. Hope it goes back to that


You are right, I feel bad about my comment

Much respect for you, you've done the right thing

I personally feel you should not have taken the photo's down. What you should have done was ban the people who insulted the poor woman from this site. I and many other normal people were interested to see who the new MJ was and other people have ruined this for others as they are ignorant and immature people which nothing better to do expect insult a young woman on her way to work!

I feel that people seem to think that because they sit behind a computer hidden away, they can say anything they like and it disgusts me.

From what happened this morning, to people offending each other on here if they do not agree with their opinions. This is a place to discuss, not bully.

The internet has created a new and horrible society.

Well said DoG, sure she is an attractive woman, but that's not to be discussed here, it's whether she can pull off "Hey Tiger!" and the general MJ attitude.
I think she will as you said she is a very talented actress, I have re-watched ASM now a few times (needed to, to get to like it). Sure the first one had its flaws, mine being the old Judge Dredd problem of keep your god dam mask on!! but over all it was good.
Hers looking forward to what they do with Electro and Rhino (who will be harder t pull off than electro!)

Spider-man looks well mingin' in that photo at the top.

I understand your decision to pull the post, sure looks play a factor in any casting role of a fictional character as each person has a different image of how that character looks in their head, however there should be a limit to this type of discussion. I also agree with Tbam that those individuals should be banned (if that's possible) there are many examples of this type of 'criticism' on sites and even YouTube posts, it does really seem people think they can get away with saying anything because they are hidden.

I didn't see the pictures this morning, but I applaud you for your stance in
taking them down. Who gives a crap what people look like, as long as they do a
good job in the role they’ve been cast in.

Yeesh. Alright. I'm an American and wasn't awake early early enough to catch the original photos...so, I've Googled them. I'm thinking that the post everyone is getting ruffled over is the one of her walking alone and I have to say that I see what you're saying Kenny and I can imagine what the other comments were like, but I think the photo was probably one of those awful candid paparazzi photos taken in rapid succession and she's just thrown her head back to sneeze, cough, or we've caught her mid-word or something along those lines. Her neck looks almost as big around as her neck, which is off to me...I'm sure they'll glam her all up for the role. The real worry should come from the movie being made by the same creative team that botched the first one.

Dear author, I applaud you! Of course I like beautyfull girls, but you should talk about them with respect. Those who want other can go to other sites.

Good call.
In an ideal world we would not have to put up with those grubby little boys.
As it's not an ideal world, well done on acting promptly and decisively.

As I said on the pictures (on FB), she's a good actress and I liked her in The Descendants but the character of MJ is supposed to be so beautiful she makes people take a step back. She's a model, an actress and whatever else she has done in the comics. Shailene Woodley is not ugly and a good actress but a poor choice imo. I think this is bad casting but hopefully I am proven wrong.

Didn't see much of the comments that led you to take them down (people talking about her neck??? ) I thought most were constructive to be honest, but going by comments I see on hundreds of other posts on DoG I find it weird that this is the one that got taken down. Your site I suppose, it seems weird to me

*Just rememberd I was commenting on the FB post not the site but my points still stand.Kenny Frankland has said it better than me I just noticed.

I agree with most of your sentiments but ultimately think they were right to take the photos down, the photos weren't official releases they were unflattering paparazzi photos of an actress who was probably not even aware a camera was around (she was on set, but wasn't even filming so she wasn't exactly in character as MJ.)
If the photos had been officially released they may have a place on Den of Geek, but they were your typical unflattering Daily Mail photographs intended to make those viewing it complain about how unsuited to the role she looks (you'll probably find they had dozens of much better photos of her that they chose not to release.)
If you want to see the photos they are easy enough to find on the internet, but if you want to see what she will look like as MJ wait until some official photos are released (these photos would be more like judging a CGI creation based on the pre-rendering being presented as the final product, rather than seeing the actual creation.)

Can't help being reminded of the uproar surrounding Daniel Craig as Bond simply because he had blonde hair. Whether someone looks the part is "important" right up to the point where someone who looks different comes along and makes the part their own. You only have to look at shows where the RSC casts Shakespeare regardless of race to see how little looks matter when you get the right actor.

In other words - can we wait until we hear her say "Tiger" before we draw our conclusions?

Nice nerd comparison! Happy to have this sense of respect and true film love here, DoG.

Totally understands the reaction to the posts, but by taking down the pics the trolls win. You should have kept them up and banned the comments from the site.

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Well done DoG. taking them down was only the move of a person treating others as they would wish to be treated. i applaud you.

Completely agree. Well done DofG. There's so many more interesting things to talk about actors and actresses than how they look.

Kudos. However, can't you turn off comments?

I don't know how anyone else feels but slightly off subject as much as I love Emma Stone as Gwen I feel she would have been even better cast as MJ. She's a natural redhead, gorgeous and has that perfect fire, personality and feel of MJ.

I hate the fact that everything comes down to looks and beauty nowdays.

I think that shows a weak will, are you afraid of the truth. Lets be honest here that sexy beats not sexy and to quote a famous man 'it's called show business, or ugly business'

In this case the looks is really big part of the character. For example I could argue that "Amazing Spider-Man's" Peter Parker isn't average looking enough (read: looks too good). One of the struggles of Peter Parker is being too average, too unnoticable. But MJ should look like model, she should look like someone completely out of Parker's league. It is important for the story (average guy getting THE girl).

I always thought that finding MJ will be hard when Gwen Stacy (the average looking girl!) is played by Emma Stone. I could even see Emma Stone saying perefct "Hey, tiger!" (using her "mocking" voice from "Zombieland")...

Shailene Woodley looks just average. She is very talented actress (i don't think anyone doubts that), so maybe she can "play" herself beautiful (wouldn't be the first time), but the task will be very hard.

Will y'all from henceforth filter what pictures you post on here? Am aytractive woman will get comments, it's human nature. Don't get me wrong I agree with you, I come to this site mostly for 2 things, comic book movie news and movie and walking dead reviews. Isn't there enough negativity on the Internet? So I agree with your stand and the actions you took. Just saying, it's easy to forget and then you're right back where you started.

*an attractive

I love this site, but this just made it more awesome. High five Den of Geek

A person running a web site with integrity? You'll never make it in this business kid but i for one applaud you taking a stand, that I happen to agree with it just makes it better.

I didn't place a comment eariler but seeing those pictures did make me feel that Shailene wasn't attractive enough for the part. Now before condemning me for that opinion remember that MJ usually ends up becoming a model.

I didn't voice those opinions because judging her "model" looks based on candid photos is unfair but I admit it did cross my mind. Withdrawing the pics was probably the right thing to do IMO.

Well done :) Good to see you try and promote a better quality of discussion.

Some real nasty types have been frequenting these pages of late - let them know their attitude and behaviour is not welcome and will not be tolerated. I applaud your decision Simon.

Personally I think there was nothing wrong with the news story this morning - I am often interested in geeky news including casting, photos - it was just the morons and trolls who ruined it.

In future I would take to banning people (and do it by banning IP addresses rather than user names if possible because I imagine it's very easy to set up a new account on Disqus).

So what you gonna do when an official pic is released and she looks pretty much the same? Not post the pic incase of offending?!?

This all seems very worthy, I think you should have left the pictures up and allowed the decent readers on here to get their comments in I think that the snidy voices judging how she looked would have been drowned out by the grown ups, it sort of shows a lack of faith in the readers.

I did see the pictures this morning and they were clearly just quick snaps of her on the way to the set it did cross my mind that she looked nothing like Mary Jane but I was happy to wait for more official pictures or to see her in the trailer before questioning her suitability for the role, why havent you shown the pictures of the new costume yet? It looks great!

Nothing - it's likely the Disqus comments autofilter I'm afraid. - Simon

Kudos DoG, and I agree Simon. Respect. On another note I think that Ms. Woodley will do a a terrific job.

It's a fair question. No, we'll post it. This was an unofficial shot, and ordinarily, we'd remove a few comments, and leave the post up. But then nothing changes if we keep doing that, hence the post above. It won't change the world, but I did think a few of the comments went really far. - Simon

Fair enough. Although most of the people who slated her for her looks should check her on imdb. She's ok with a little bit of slap, as are most women I know. ;)

No she's not - she's a natural blonde.

Sorry, I think it's a bit of a limp-wristed move from Den of Geek in this instance. Whilst I cannot condone small-minded idiots making inane comments about 'how hot or not' a particular actor is or isn't, there is no denying that this casting is counter to the look of MJ as drawn in the comics, and that's really what people are concerned with. If people make comments you don't like - stop reading. Go on another site - pick up a book, whatever. Censoring human stupidity only leads to more stupidity and the eventual censoring of things that really do matter, unlike this particular issue.

In the comics, Mary Jane Watson IS hot, a bombshell - that's the point. She's a model/actress that - as a number of comments have noted - is way out of the league of your average, everyday Peter Parker. That's the story.

Shailene Woodley is not that - whether a 'quick snap' by a Paparazzi or a sanctioned shoot (just google image her), she is a slightly above average-looking human being. It may irk some people to hear that - but it's the truth. She may well be a tremendous performer that can 'act sexy', but that doesn't make her particularly good looking. MJ in the comics was hot without makeup.

Good show, Simon

Good on you Den Of Geek! One of the things I like about this site is that it's not sleazy and sexist. Loads of respect!!!

Gwen Stacey was never average in the comics! We were introduced to her when Flash Thompson was hitting on her and she turned him down! She wasn't meant to just be a fairly good looking girl, she was the most attractive girl at Empire State University! Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man looks 100% Identical to how the character was drawn in the comics...as for Peter needing to look more average and unnoticeable: in the comics it always seemed more like he thought he was average and unnoticeable, but others didn't!
Betty Brant thought he cute when they met (but went out with him because she also liked his personality), Liz Allen revealed at the end of high school that she had had a crush on him all through school, Gwen initially thought he attractive but stuck up (she later found out he was a good person as well) and MJ perused him for quite some time based on his looks and not much else...(we later learn that she knew he was Spider-Man, but that was only introduced about 10 years later for a plot twist and not the original writer's intent.)
Steve Ditko might have drawn him as an average looking guy, but under Romatia he became good-looking enough to get some very attractive ladies! (and Andrew Garfield definitely looks like a cross between Romatia and Bagley's Parker's.)
Doesn't mean that he is anywhere close to being the most attractive man in the Marvel Universe, just that the perception that Peter Parker is this unattractive guy that should never be able to go out with any of the girls he gets doesn't exactly stack up according to the comics.

Couple of things:

* The original comments were really quite horrible
* We don't actually know what direction Marc Webb is taking the new film, and thus it's impossible to judge whether Woodley fits his take on MJ or not
* Usually, we delete offensive comments, and unconstructive posts, but by doing that, nothing changes. Hence, the decision to remove the unofficial images - without pressure from anyone else - and this post above.

We always welcome constructive argument and criticism at Den Of Geek. But yesterday left a really sour taste for me. It doesn't matter what Shailene Woodley happens to do for a living. I don't think she should have to put up with some of the things that were being posted. As I said in the post above though, my call, and I do understand that not everyone will agree. - Simon

Very cool....Nice move.

Absolutley right desicion. Integrity is a rare commoditiy on the web. Bravo sir, Bravo indeed.

What a stupid thing to say, really.

What an excellent response. Love you DoG !

Almost makes me feel glad i missed that post yesterday.

Does this mean no more pap shots of Who filming too?

DoG has often shown set pics snapped during downtime in order to give us a sense of what is being developed and aimed for during production and I don't see a problem with that.

To me, the problem appears to be user behaviour and there's nothing wrong with a ban for a set period of time if you want to enforce a code of conduct on commenters and encourage a better culture of opinion.

We're kind of getting into the realm of censorship here though and if the writer prefers to avoid certain topics because of the possible reaction it causes then that kind of evolves into something else anyway.

There's a difference between shots taken of the actors onset filming a scene, and shots of an actor walking onto the set early in the morning without make up...
These pictures don't give a sense of what is being aimed for during production, they were more like the 'see your favourite stars without makeup' type photographs.
If the Doctor Who set photographs had been deliberately unflattering ones of Karen Gillan or Jenna Louise Coleman, taken early in the morning as they were making their way to set, pre-makeup, they shouldn't have a place on Den of Geek...Similarly if these had been photos of Shailene in character as Mary Jane on-set Den of Geek should be able to post them...not these photos of an actress that are more likely than not aimed at creating a negative reaction.
As I said in my previous post, the particular photos released seemed geared to getting the type of negative reaction they recieved by those who released the photos...they were representative not of an actress playing a comic book character (which would have every place on Den of Geek), but instead as proof that young actresses are not always perfect, gorgeous creatures (which seems geared towards inspired meaningless hate in the comments.)

Whether or not removing the pictures was a form of censorship, blocking and removing certain commentors would have also been a form of censorship...they have the freedom to remove the pictures from their website if they desire it (just we still have the freedom to comment on the pictures, even if they are no longer on the site.)

So Much Respect For you man, it's about movies not looks

its kind of pathetic that because a writer has a crush and doesnt like hearing the truth he has to pull the whole story.

Very encouraging move and one you should be proud of, nicely done.


Your last comment is very stupid (no offence and all...) "MJ in the comics was hot without makeup" Could that be because I dunno... she was a comic character? If we are basing the films on how all the finer details looked in the comics then we would not be getting a film. Andrew Garfield does not look the spitting image of the original Parker design, nor did the Lizard... Woodley is a very attractive female even if you do not agree, she really is and not only that she can act. Which I think is what we all should be looking for when it comes to these characters. Would you rather have an actress that couldn't act but looked the spitting image of MJ? Nopes.

I am 90% sure most of the people making the harsh comments about her looks on here are in fact themselves not the greatest looking lot and have no right to carelessly type their rude comments.

goodbye freedom of speech

big up

How so?

You're wrong it's called show business not ugly business. She should be hot and sexy not ug and lee

I agree with your reasoning.

You are all missing the point here, all I will say is I don't this she fits the description of ,MJ. Enough said (Quote I'm offended that you are all so offended by something someone else has said?) end quote. Deal with it?


More importantly move on to a proper topic, what do you all think of the new new suit? Personally I really don't like it. It was my impression of the first Amazing Spiderman that Webb was going for a darker, more landed adult version of Spiderman. Focusing on Peter's troubled past. New darker theme brings a new darker suit right? This darker look and feel to the film was OUTSTANDING, truly a great cinema experience. All the best remakes are doing this, look at the Dark Knight for example, the images of The Man of Steel. They all have one thing in common they have shed their pretty colours and gone for a darker edgier experience.

Don't get me wrong I love the original comics, with the bright colours and outrageous costumes. I have many of these framed on my wall. But that worked for the fantasy and escapism comics gave you. Also this was in the 60's. Everything was colourful then. Look at the times we live in now? It's darker less fantasy more damn right struggle to survive! That's what I like to see being incorporated into the film adaptations. Also Andrew brought enough witty comic style Spiderman to life in the first release. To satisfy my needs of a truer comic book themed film, whilst perfectly being set in a more adult version.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, they all seem to want the huge white eyes? Tell me are they going to get larger when Spiderman is shocked (no pun intended). Or get narrow when he is mad? These were tools used in the comics to emphasise emotion. I liked the fact the were Oakley lenses and running shoes, in a strange way it just made sense, to me at least. Oh next thing they might take away his web shooters? go back to the Sam Style Spidy films. (A cold shudder just went down my spine) Speaking of webbing, another think I liked in the first remake was the new style webbing on the suit. It was sleeker looked more agile. If you look at some real spider web a lot is straighter (until water builds up on it) It also importantly to me emphasised how slender Andrew is, Peter Parker is a Geek with Super Powers, not a beefed up jock, the traditional style should I say always made him look to muscled.

Anyway let me know what you think Cheers.

If you read my comment properly I state that those candid photos gave me an INITIAL reaction which I didn't originally voice because it was unfair. Pretty much agreeing which your opinion. Which is why I thought it correct to withdraw those type of photos from the site. Read again and try to work out why you disagree with me before damning.

The original article was removed because of inappropriate comments about Shailene Woodley's appearance so you make further comments about her appearance.




Great job Den of Geek.

Unfortunately, and judging by some of the comments below, some people will never learn.

Is it a good time to point-out that the Den of Geek review of Spider-Man 3 described Kirsten Dunst as "Hortense The Mule-Faced Girl"?

Yes it is. B

The review - from the first month of the site, back in 2007, was taken down, along with some other select older articles, a while back, but I'm perfectly aware that we've not always met the right standard ourselves in the dim and distant past.

I can assure you that we drew the line a long, long time ago, though. - Simon

"She's ok with a little bit of slap, as are most women I know. ;)"?

Did you not get the entire point of Brew's action?

Freedom of speech means that the US government cannot punish or silence anyone for speaking out.

So many people scream, "Freedon of Speech!" to justify saying hateful things, but they misinterpret its meaning. Since DenOfGeeks isn't the US government, freedom of speech isn't relevant here.

This is a few months old, but I wanted to weigh in on it. There are some people commenting who disagree with your actions entirely; and then there are those that somewhat disagree, and think that you should have at least kept the pictures and blocked the abusers.

You taking the post down and following up with the above message says a million times more than anything else you could have done. My sincerest kudos to your decision.

There is an undeniable masculine atmosphere in Geek, Nerd, Gaming, Comic, etc cultures that usually leaves women feeling like unwelcome outcasts. I'm not saying that everyone who ridiculed her looks were men, and I'm not saying that all men who commented ridiculed her looks. These cultures do have that air that I mentioned above. In a prudential light, your actions with this serves a stepping stone to civility between males and females in these cultures. Thanks for doing that.

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