The Amazing Spider Man films have been dire but Andrew Garfield is a good Spiderman. It would be a mistake for Marvel to ditch him.
The unnecessary reboot of the Spiderman franchise has not been a success either artistically or (at least as far as Sony in concerned) financially.
And it’s not a secret that Sony has toyed with the idea of collaborating with Marvel studios to resuscitate the series. The latest news – as reported by IGN – is that:
“IF the Marvel/Sony deal were to go forward,” says [The Latino Review], “Andrew Garfield would no longer be Peter Parker and any baggage from existing films, [directors Sam] Raimi or [Marc] Webb, would be non-canonical.” Marvel wants a clean slate, apparently, and they are not interested in doing any more so-called “romance” movies but would rather “focus on the difficulties of being a teenager and a superhero with a romance side-story.” Neither is an origin story part of the plan, so a Marvel Spidey movie would reportedly pick up with Peter Parker already living his double life as a hero.
This seems to me to be misguided. The films were bad but not because of Garfield. In fact, he was rather good. As James Whitbrook writes for Io9:
Andrew Garfield just nailed Spider-Man for me, for someone who’s loved that character for years. Sure, he was a little too cool to be the nerdy Peter we’re familiar with – the aspect of the character that Tobey Maguire’s take in the Raimi movies excelled at – but as the slightly cocky, oddly charming and sarkily funny Spider-Man persona he shone. At least for me, it felt like we had a version of the character that echoed back to the quick witted and confident Spider-Man I remembered as a kid on screen at last (although Maguire’s Spider-Man is still great, he was always a better Peter to me than Spidey). He wasn’t perfect, and was hamstrung by some dodgy background stuff that I was decidedly not a fan of – but Garfield’s Spider-Man was what I wanted for the character’s movie-based escapades. That humour, the wittiness, was key, and it’s something Garfield excelled at in the role. To lose out on that, so soon after he started, and just as he’d taken Spider-Man to an interesting place that could’ve been explored in a potential Amazing Spider-Man 3, feels like a waste of a great piece of casting.
The other sad part of this is that what Marvel are purportedly looking for, according to Latino Review, sounds like the kind of situation Garfield’s take on the character is in post TASM 2: An already established Spider-Man without a romantic situation being the biggest focus of his life (thanks to the other best part of the Amazing Reboot, Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy shuffling off the movie’s mortal coil at the climax of of the film – at the cost of a more interesting film, to boot). Although there is a lot of mess around the character that I can see Marvel hesitant to draw on still, Garfield’s Spidey is in the perfect place for him to be joined up into the ongoing Marvel Universe. Origin out of the way, at the end of a big romantic arc, already accepting of his role as Spider-Man – and even more importantly, in a place that you could ostensibly cut him solely out of Sony’s bizarre plans to ‘MCU-ify’ that universe with their take on the Sinister Six and other spider-man projects and still keep the character largely intact. It seems like such a shame that in spite of the problems surrounding him, Garfield’s Spider-Man is ideal for the MCU. If only he didn’t have all that baggage. But at the same time, do we really need a third Spider-Man, so soon? There’s already been the problem for DC of recreating characters for the big screen at the cost of another established version (looking at you, Flash). Spider-Man is popular enough of a character that I’m sure it would work, but it seems like the sort of thing that is made for confusing mainstream audiences.
I don’t really see Marvel’s reasoning here. It may be that they don’t want audiences to associate their films with Sony’s inferior offerings. But by the same token the Amazing Spiderman films were sufficiently different that integrating their Spiderman into the MCU may draw in a different audience. If nothing else Garfield is a certified A-lister whose star power should add to Marvel’s already impressive box office haul.