Why Andrew Garfield is the best live-action Spider-Man


While his films don’t receive the praise of other Spider-Man films, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker has come straight out of the Stan Lee / Steve Ditko comics.

The hype for Spider-Man: No Path Home is overwhelming, with fans desperate to see how the film will unite different cinematic take on the hero. The two most prominent cinematic Spider-Men are Tobey Maguire and current webhead Tom Holland, but there was one more in between that could have been better than them both: The Incredible Spider-Man Andrew Garfield.

While his films don’t receive the praise of other Spider-Man films, Garfield’s Peter Parker has come straight out of the Stan Lee / Steve Ditko comics. Starting with his Spider-Man and Peter Parker ways, Andrew Garfield’s hero beat both Tobey and Tom in terms of the embodiment of what makes an incredible Spider-Man.

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Tobey Maguire vs. Andrew Garfield

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2

While Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man may have been in much more universally lauded films, Andrew Garfield’s version in The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 was a much better portrayal of Peter Parker in classic comics and cartoons. Tobey’s Peter was written much more in the mold of the old-fashioned Christopher Reeve Clark Kent Superman movies (with Uncle Ben sounding amazingly like Glenn Ford’s Pa Kent at one point), and the result was he was an absolutely pathetic loser. Contrary to popular belief, Peter has never been so helpless in the comics, and his level of defending himself and talking to others made him far more antisocial than shy.

Andrew Garfield’s Peter resists bullies like Flash Thompson in a much more assertive way, to the point of arguably a jerk. It’s much more in keeping with Peter in the early days of comics, who had a great deal of contempt for his classmates and just about anyone who pissed him off. Likewise, the incarnation of Andrew was made much easier to become wise and come across as a joker, albeit in a way that was always assertive and didn’t reduce it to comedic relief. Tobey’s Spidey rarely joked, and when he did, it didn’t feel natural, especially given how serious the films themselves were.

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Tom Holland vs. Andrew Garfield

Tom Holland as Spider-Man

If the Tobey version of Spider-Man was somewhat pathetic like Peter Parker, then the Tom Holland version is the same as Peter and Spider-Man. This stems from the biggest major problem with the MCU incarnation of Spider-Man, which is that Marvel’s central hero is reduced to an Iron Man fanboy. His costumes are the creations of Tony Stark, who is also sort of a replacement for Uncle Ben. He relies a lot less on his own skills and insight and a lot more on Stark technology, even after the death of Iron Man himself.

Even his humor is much more childish and spastic than the version in The Amazing Spider-Man. There, Spidey felt like a true natural sage whose jokes and jokes were simply sticking out of the tongue. Holland’s version, on the other hand, seems to be placed more in a situational comedy where he is the butt of the joke, which likely reflects how even generally serious MCU heroes constantly joke like Spidey usually does.

Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man was his own man, and he didn’t worship any other heroes other than maybe his father and uncle Ben. His relationship with Aunt May was also much more like the comic book, in which Peter worries about how his old aunt will handle things after Ben’s death. With a much younger and more attractive Aunt May, Holland’s Spidey is robbed of his central responsibility, missing much of Peter’s characterization in the comics. Garfield’s Spider-Man balanced humor and wit with guilt and the drive to be a hero, mirroring more than any other theatrical version what Stan Lee conveyed to the character so many years ago. Sadly, his time in the red and blue suit has been somewhat underestimated, especially for his loyalty to the source material.

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