By: Greta Zarvos and Lucas Camargo
It's about time you stop pretending that Tobey Maguire is the best Spiderman because a self-proclaimed film critic told you so on instagram. Andrew Garfield is the superior Spiderman, here’s why:
Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man’s humor alone knocks both Tobey’s and Tom’s spider-man’s out of the ballpark. Andrew delivers lines like: “On behalf of the fine people of New York and real rhinos everywhere, I ask you to put your mechanized paws in the air!” effortlessly, bringing an overall sense of lightness to his otherwise dark character. In addition to his hilarious banter, Andrew also looks the part, and is the most comic accurate in terms of physical appearance and had to do little to no extensive training for the movies since he already has a naturally long and muscular build (Sorry to burst your bubble Tobey stans).
We’ve been over his role as Spiderman, but what about Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker? Some may argue that Andrew Garfield is simply too charming to play the role of a nerdy teen, and those people are flat out wrong. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker highlights the character’s intellect when we see him making his own web shooters from scratch, and often shows him wandering the halls of his high school with nothing but a skateboard, some headphones and his camera. Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker was a lonely teenager navigating his feelings after the death of his uncle. He was never explicitly charming or trying too hard. If you did find him too charming at times, you can blame it on his genetics and your impeccable taste in men.
And of course it wouldn't be a superhero movie without a villain, and Andrew’s Spidey has gone through many of those…
Played by Rhys Ifans The Lizard is a science experiment gone wrong and every minute of his screen time was agonizing, mostly because Peter had looked at him as a sort of inspiration before and was almost killed by him later on.
The Green Goblin, played by Dane DeHaan (previously Harry Osborn) was Peter Parker’s best friend in high school, and we see them reconnect in the adult world and rekindle their friendship after Harry’s father dies. So it’s obviously heart breaking when Spiderman can’t give Harry his blood which could potentially save him from the same disease his father died of.
Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, had his life saved by Spiderman before developing an unhealthy obsession with the web-head and later being electrocuted and turning into Electro. Electro originally wasn’t out to hurt anyone, but after being made out to seem like a monster, he became one. His voice alone was scary enough if we're being honest.
And now for the highlight of these movies in my humble opinion: Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Emma and Andrew had INCREDIBLE chemistry throughout the movies seeing as they also dated in real life for four years after the fact, and Gwen’s death in The Amazing Spiderman 2 was truly one of the saddest, most tear-jerking scenes ever, you’d think his uncle dying was enough… Gwen Stacy will forever be superior to Mj because she was not defenseless by any means seeing as her father was a cop, and she worked as a senior research officer at Oscorp and was going to attend Oxford University meaning she was very smart and capable unlike Mj.
Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man’s were emotional roller coasters of the best kind, packed with some incredible acting and complex characters. They will never fail to make you laugh and/or cry.
Although many deluded teenage girls might proclaim that Andrew Garfield is the best spider man, anyone who takes a moment to stop drooling over his perfect hair and tall physique will notice the detrimental flaws to his character. And further, anyone who has truly taken the time to watch and appreciate the original majestic Spider Man trilogy can see how Tobey Maguire is levels above any other portrayal of spider man to date (and ever).
The first thing to consider is Maguire's role as Peter Parker. Out of all three castings for the role, it is undeniable that Tobey fits the role like no other, keeping faithful to the comics and actually embodying who Peter really should be. He comes across as genuinely dorky and nerdy, and is actually very shy, kind and genuine, evoking the feeling he really is an outcast, all key aspects of the role. This is probably due to the fact that Maguire has said he feels a connection to the character, since he himself felt this way throughout various moments of his own life. This is all much different to Andrew, for example, who is quite popular from the start and even ends up bullying his own bullies as soon as he gets his powers out of his own desire, something Peter Parker would never do.
The original spider man's relationship with some of the pivotal characters around him, some of who are majoritarily neglected in the Amazing Spider Man series, is also key to the development of the movies and the character. Peter's relationship with his uncle Ben is extremely well-built. We can truly see and feel his emotion when Ben passes away, especially once he comes to the realization that he could've avoided his uncle's death. The scene of Ben's passing is absurdly emotional in itself, capable of bringing tears to anyone's eyes. This also provides us with context as to why Peter chooses to become a hero and fight crime, since he feels remorse for letting Ben pass and, having been bullied for so long, wants to avoid similar situations for other people he can help.
Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker also deals with the effects of action and consequence like no other portrayal. Firstly, he has to accept the fact that it was his own action that caused uncle Ben's murder, which has a very large effect on him. Further, he drives Mary Jane and Harry, his best friend (something important to point out for those who love the Amazing Spider Man series, since he was NEGLECTED) away due to his newfound responsibilities as spider man. This makes the character even more relatable, since it is something many of us have (or will) experienced in our own lives. It also shows a truly human side to Tobey's Peter, capable of establishing a deep connection with the audience.
And how could I not mention Peter and MJ? Although this might not be the best portrayal of the character herself, the actress keeps true to the original appearances of MJ in the comics. The relationship between the characters is also the most loyal to the comics. It has ups and downs, like a true relationship does, making it truly relatable to the audience and immersing them in Peter's quest to conquer MJ's heart. It is especially touching when Peter decides to keep his distance from MJ to protect her from the dangers his new life as Spider Man can bring at the end of the first movie, shortly after the death of Norman Osborn, Harry's father. This shows true maturity and realism in their relationship. Although he truly loves her, he decides it is best to protect her from any danger, showing character and innate goodness. Oh, and what about that kiss? Yes, the infamous upside down kiss, possibly one of the most famous romantic scenes in cinema history. And people dare say there isn't chemistry…
But regardless of any point that has been made already, perhaps the true essence of the original trilogy expresses itself in the form of Spidey's villains. Each one has an intricate backstory and a distinct connection to spider man which makes them come to life, something completely forced in Garfield’s Amazing Spider Man.
The Green Goblin, whose real identity is Norman Osborn, is the first and possibly the best out of all spider man villains. Played by Willem Dafoe, he has everything: an amazing backstory, a close connection to Peter (since he is actually Harry’s father), to the point where he actually adores him, memorable visuals, impeccable acting and, perhaps most outstanding, his incredible laugh. Equipped with his Goblin Glider and his orange explosives, he provided fans with amazing fighting scenes, the most memorable coming at the end of the first movie, when he almost bests spider man, only to be killed by his own glider.
Considered the best Spider Man movie of all time by most movie critics, Spider Man 2 features none other than Alfred Molina’s Dr. Otto Octavius. Equipped with his robotic arms, Doc Oc poses a real menace to Spidey and New York City. His relationship with Peter is also outstanding, coming to a point where he is almost revered before turning evil. One of the most famous villains in the comics, Otto’s character development in the movie is unrivaled, as he sacrifices himself to save many others, showing there was still good in him after all.
If you are a fan of modern antihero movies, you might’ve also heard of Venom. Originally Eddie Brock, Peter Parker’s rival in the Daily Bugle, Venom comes to life as Peter gets rid of his dark spider man suit in the final movie of the trilogy, which falls on Brock and takes him as its host. This adds great backstory to the character, especially after we see how the suit corrupts spider-man himself. Additionally, the fact that it is his greatest rival who actually takes the form of Venom simply makes this even more epic.
The second member of the duo that takes on spider man in the final movie of the trilogy, Sandman too boasts every attribute of a perfect villain. Although he might not be as memorable as the other three, his backstory makes up for it. The audience gets a true feel for who he really is once we learn his true motives behind what he does: his daughter. This makes him a relatable character and adds emotion to his scenes. His is another example of phenomenal character development, as he makes peace with spider man in the final scenes of the movie, when he is finally forgiven for the murder of uncle Ben, in yet another emotional scene. It is the perfect end to the trilogy’s villain saga, posing a satisfying ending as Peter finally comes to peace with his uncle’s murderer.
Last but not least, we have Harry Osborn. Throughout the trilogy, Harry goes from Peter’s best friend to romantic rival and even enemy once he seeks revenge for his father. He becomes consumed by rage, jealousy and misplaced hatred, which leads him to attack spider man in an attempt to take up his father’s role as the Green Goblin, using the same explosives and a similar skate-like hoverboard for movement. He too shows levels of character development as he unites forces with spider man in his two-way battle against Venom and Sandman, ultimately sacrificing himself to save Peter in the dying embers of the last movie. This is incredibly emotional, as we are taken back to the first movie, when Harry is not only Peter’s best friend, but also only friend. The toll of this loss on Peter is huge and clear, and the audience is able to empathize with his loss (probably shedding a few tears too).
But if you think we are done, you are still very wrong. The original Spider Man trilogy played by Tobey has brought us so much more than just a memorable spider man. It brought us some of the best secondary characters in history such as, most memorably, John Jonah Jameson Jr, played by J K Simmons. Also known as JJJ, he brings impeccable acting, humour and essence to the movie series. Hands down the best portrayal of JJJ.
Anyone active on social media might also remember Tobey Maguire not only for his acting in Spider Man, but for his memes. And they truly are amazing. They capture some of the most memorable, humorous moments in the trilogy. Here are just a few for you to enjoy:
There truly is no debate; each bit of Tobey Maguire’s Spider Man trilogy proves why he is the single best spider man to have ever existed. And Andrew Garfield doesn’t even come second.