WARNING — SPOILERS for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follow.
The phrase “woman in refrigerator”, coined by future comic book writer Gail Simone 1999, referred to the tendency of comic books to do harm upon the girlfriends, wives, or female siblings of a male hero for the sole purpose of making the hero feel bad and/or seek vengeance. It was named after an incident in a 1994 Green Lantern comic where Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator. It soon became the de-facto phrase for the pattern in comic books by which the female supporting character in a male-centric title would be raped, murdered, assaulted and/or de-powered so that the male here could “have a sad.” And that’s really all the death of Ms. Stacy is for this second Spider-Man film. Emma Stone gave us a rather amusing and engaging female character, the filmmakers did their best to sell the notion that she was her own character with her own agency, then she got chucked down a clock tower so that Peter could feel bad.
Great piece. I didn’t quite have the same problems with this particular scene that Mendleson had, but I totally get it and this article is worth a read.