Spider-Man is a pop culture icon. Even if you’ve never seen a Spider-Man movie or a read a Spider-Man comic, chances are you know of the webslinger anyway. But, you probably have seen at least one Spider-Man movie, considering there’s been seven of them over the last two decades.
The early 2000s saw Tobey Maguire take the mantle of Peter Parker in his own trilogy, one that’s still watched and loved by fans and newcomers alike. Fast-forward about 15 years later and breakout star Tom Holland took over as Spider-Man in the well-established Marvel Cinematic Universe, with two solo movies already under his belt and a third on the way.
Do the math, though, and we’re still missing two Spider-Man movies. Backtrack just a little bit from Tom Holland and you’ll land on 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, in which Andrew Garfield stepped out as the iconic hero. Garfield even got a sequel with 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but, well, that was it. Long story short, the two Amazing movies flopped in the eyes of fans and a third film was never greenlit; that, and Marvel Studios was desperate to get Peter Parker in the MCU.
Most viewers think back on the Amazing duology with distaste. The thing is, I’m not ‘most viewers.’ Hear me out: these two films are actually really good — and here’s why:
- Peter Parker is Accurately Portrayed, Both With and Without the Mask
Andrew’s take on Peter fully utilizes the character’s intellect. Unlike Tobey Maguire’s version, Andrew’s Peter builds his own suit AND his own web-shooters (Maguire’s web-slinging powers were organic in comparison). Compared to how Tom Holland’s version has a lot of reliance on Tony Stark’s technological capabilities, Andrew’s puts the spotlight on the character’s own grit and determination to bring his heroine persona to life.
On the other hand, a huge part of Spider-Man is his sense of humor — you know, the puns that make you roll your eyes all the way to the floor. Tobey’s Peter became a meme during some of his more humorous scenes (you know which ones I’m talking about), but Andrew’s quips are just outright funny: “Really? You seriously think I’m a cop? Cop in a skin-tight red and blue suit?”
- Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s On-and-Off Screen Chemistry
It’s no secret that Andrew and his leading lady, Emma Stone, were spicing things up behind-the-scenes of the Amazing movies. Emma played Gwen Stacey, who, in fact, is Peter’s FIRST love interest in the comics (sorry Mary-Jane). In the movies, Peter and Gwen go through a turbulent relationship as Peter struggles with keeping her safe in his otherwise dangerous world (spoiler alert: he doesn’t). Still, throughout the two Amazing movies, Andrew and Emma’s connection is undeniably rich and authentic.
They talk and flirt just like teenagers do. They banter like no one else’s business. As a viewer, I feel my heart skipping beats with them. And when Peter lost Gwen, my heart broke with his because I knew how much he loved her and tried to protect her.
- The Cinematography and Soundtrack Combine for a True Superhero Experience
I’ll never forget the rush I felt in my chest when I saw the first-person shots in The Amazing Spider-Man — it felt like I was swinging through New York right alongside Peter. Considering the Amazing movies were shot during a newer technological era than the original Spider-Man trilogy, they had the advantage of using different aspect ratios and 3D effects, among other cinematic techniques.
And look, I’m not a movie soundtrack buff by any means, but when I need to crank out an essay, you can likely catch me jamming to the soundtracks of the Amazing movies. Produced by James Horner and Hans Zimmer — the latter of which also had a hand on the soundtracks for Batman v Superman and The Dark Knight Trilogy — the Amazing soundtracks, especially the second one, perfectly combine orchestral symphonies and dubstep. This combination creates a tone for both movies that’s audibly exciting, but also heart-wrenching.
Listen, I get it — everyone has a different opinion regarding who the best Spider-Man is. All I’m saying is that Andrew Garfield rarely gets brought up in this debate, and that needs to change. He gave viewers a phenomenal performance of a timeless character in a two-movie spectacle that breathed new life into the Spider-Man franchise.