Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man Should Have Been Better
Andrew Garfield has been a popular figure in recent times, and I am here to see it. He has been talking about his role as Jonathan Larson in Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick…Boom. It’s a great film, and he is fantastic in it. It’s worth checking out.
However, that’s not all the reason we keep seeing his name in the headlines lately. Poor Bastard has been spending the past few months trying to answer questions about whether or otherwise he will reprise his role as Spider-Man next month in Spider-Man: No Way Home. This is often done with wit and eloquence, even though he usually has to answer questions about other projects.
You will have seen Garfield’s appearance last week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he spoke beautifully about his view on grief and how it is a measure of our love for those we care about. You might also have seen his account of his time in Spider-Man’s shoes and how it ended up crushing him. He said that he was a big fan of the character. It broke his heart to discover that superhero blockbusters were first driven by a faceless capitalist and a passion for the second source material.
Andrew Garfield has been a frequent guest on our screens lately. It’s made me believe that his Spider-Man was worth much more.
To be clear, this is an opinion that I have held for a long time. Although I recognize that 2011’s The Amazing Spider-Man is far from perfect (and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is hot, stinky garbage), Garfield was one of the few bright spots in Sony’s brief-lived reboot.
His charm and swagger made it the perfect wisecracking webhead. His chemistry grounded the iconic characters with Emma Stone, an equally great actress. While I understand the criticisms that Garfield’s Peter Parker was too confident to be a relatable everyday man like Tom Holland or Tobey Maguire, I disagree.
Although this angsty, chocolate milk-drinking Peter may not be the most well-known, Garfield was committed to it fully. And, what’s more, he made him likeable. This is a remarkable skill because the character was written in a self-centred way in both of his films. Some faceless Sony executives probably decided it was better to have an edgier Peter Parker who could skateboard and had a father issue for spinoff purposes. Although there are many reasons to dislike this version, Garfield is not one of them. Garfield found the heart underneath a deeply flawed portrayal of a beloved character.
Each flash of brilliance in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man2 results from Garfield, Stone or a combination of both. I loved watching Peter stumble through dinner with Gwen Stacy, her parents and the police captain assigned to finding Spider-Man. It was one of my favourite scenes from the movie. It was incredibly tense and hilarious. Garfield is a skilled comic actor, and this shined through in both installments. His physical comedy is also outstanding; I must remind you. You should go back and rewatch the scenes in which he is slowly learning his powers. Garfield destroying his bathroom in a confused state is excellent stuff.
He could also break your heart. His ability to break down in front of Gwen is a clear demonstration of his talent. But there are subtler displays of his depth. Peter removes his mask in public to make a scared little boy feel a bit more secure in the first movie.