Andrew Garfield had a rough go of it in regards to his take on Peter Parker. People were not the kindest to his movies, and even though he was a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire (don’t @ me), that didn’t seem to matter to the harsher critics. It was a rough go for fans of The Amazing Spider-Man movies and Garfield’s Peter, but we’ve gotten to have a bit of a “told you so” moment with Spider-Man: No Way Home and the return of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man.
Talking with Variety, Garfield shared what returning to Peter Parker meant to him. “I wasn’t expecting to ever have a conversation again about potentially playing Peter Parker. I felt very excited to just to be a fan again. But I got this call from Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige and Jon Watts with this idea,” Garfield said when asked about returning for No Way Home. “It was immediately undeniable. It sounded incredibly fun, incredibly spiritual — trippy and thematically interesting. On a base level, as a Spider-Man fan, just the idea of seeing three Spider-Men in the same frame was enough.”
What really worked with his return to Peter Parker was that he was a different man than we saw at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He was hardened from what happened with Gwen (Emma Stone), and he was clearly alone. So, when he got to finally find people who understand (granted, they were just different versions of himself), he finally felt like a new man again.
Garfield talked a bit about how both his and Tobey Maguire’s Peter were there to help Marvel Cinematic Universe Peter understand what he needed to do. “We talked a lot about mentorship,” he said. “We talked a lot about brotherhood and about what it is to be the older brother, younger brother and the middle brother. There’s also a thing of seeing someone you love walking down a path that you’ve already walked down, and you know it doesn’t lead the place where you ultimately meant to go.”
Spider-Man: No Way Home’s feeling of closure didn’t stop with its characters
For fans of Garfield and Garfield himself though, this was about closure, which felt like a big theme of the entire movie itself for longtime Spider-Man movie fans. When asked how he felt about being able to come back to this role after everything that happened commercially with his Spider-Man movies, Garfield had this to say:
I am so grateful. I’m just really, really grateful that I got to tie up some loose ends for the Peter that I was playing. I love that character and I’m grateful that I got to work with these incredible actors, this incredible director, and Marvel in conjunction with Sony. It was joyful, and a feeling of closure for me. There was so many unanswered questions for my Peter, where we left it. I got to step back in and get some healing for him. And also really supporting [Holland’s] Peter, and honoring his character completing that trilogy, not distracting or detracting from it.
While The Amazing Spider-Man movies weren’t perfect, they were a new look at Peter Parker that I enjoyed. Prior to Tom Holland’s take on the character, he was my favorite Spider-Man because he understood that Peter was “nerdy” and socially awkward in a way that is endearing to the audience. He understood the power and the beauty that exists within Peter Parker and his inability to see just how important he is. Peter will always sacrifice himself or his happiness for the greater good, and Garfield’s Peter is a great example of that.
So for fans of his take, this was a bit like coming home. It was understanding that he suffered after losing Gwen—that he “stopped pulling his punches” and was completely alone, but he came back into No Way Home and knew what he needed to do for his “younger brother.” Throughout his interview, Garfield refers to the Spider-Mans as brothers. He’s obviously the middle brother, Maguire the oldest, and they’re both trying to help their youngest brother fix the mess he’s in.
But the comment that really drove home the importance of this return for fans was Garfield recognizing that his Spider-Man got closure through helping his “younger brother.” He said, “My Spider-Man got to save his younger brother’s romantic relationship, potentially. And to heal the most traumatic moment of his own life through doing it for his younger brother,” and while it wasn’t his Peter saving Gwen, he did get a successful do-over in saving MJ and, that was a heart-wrenching moment for fans of The Amazing Spider-Man movies.
Garfield’s return was clearly good for him and something he needed (after having been such a fan of Spider-Man before becoming our friendly neighborhood web-slinger himself), but it was also what we needed. Previously, we didn’t have a goodbye or a glimpse into Peter’s life after Gwen’s death. We were just left with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and that was it. His return felt like getting a look into a Peter we still had some much to learn about, and it just felt right.
This might have been a one-off chance for his fans and for the actor himself, but if they asked him to come back to Peter Parker, he’d be down for it. “I mean, yes, definitely open to something if it felt right. Peter and Spider-Man, those characters are all about service, to the greater good and the many. He’s a working-class boy from Queens that knows struggle and loss and is deeply empathetic. I would try to borrow Peter Parker’s ethical framework in that, if there was an opportunity to step back in and tell more of that story, I would have to feel very sure and certain in myself.”
I hope that we get to see more of him, even if it is just a glimpse, because Garfield proved that with the right writing, he’d have made the best Spider-Man out there, and I want to see all that he can do.
(image: Sony Pictures)
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