Over in The Force Awakens thread, when going over Rey's characterization for the 80th time, Lightning Slim mentioned that Rey is no more a Mary Sue than Indiana Jones, who is also a hyper-competent, ass-kicking polymath. I don't think that is true, though he is arguably just as much of a wish fulfillment figure. Nooj was quick to point out that even if that is the case, as an original creation he lacks the fan fiction element of interacting with established characters, which is inherent in the original conception of the term. He's also a man, and I understand that many who bristle at the term being applied to Rey do so because they feel it is inherently and pejoratively gendered. As I interpret the term, gender seems entirely incidental, but Mary Sue just seems catchier than Gary Stu for whatever reason so I'm sticking with it.
I've made no secret about not being a fan of how Rey is portrayed, and that she ticks off all the MS boxes I've ever heard of (with the exception of being a idealized physical match for the writers, though I suppose that depends on their particular body issues). But for as much as I think that hurts TFA, it also occurred to me that the two films I picked as the best of the year it came out also had MS protagonists. Why was I willing to accept Furiosa and Adonis Creed winning the admiration of Mad Max and Rocky Balboa while usurping their franchises, but I rebelled when Rey got too friendly with the Falcon and Han Solo? I think its because they spend a solid half of those movies winning the icons over (Furiosa and Max are actually brawling with each other at the outset), and also that they take more of a literal beating to reach their triumphant endpoints. Or maybe its just that I have a more emotional nostalgic connection to the SW franchise, so I get more jealous when I see some new floozy making time with Chewie.
What do you think? Is it hyper-competence, or the interactions with the Old Guard that guide our reactions more in these instances? When does it bother you, and when does it work? Who is the "bigger" Mary Sue: James Bond or Wesley Crusher?