Andrew Garfield Says Playing Spider-Man Was Kind Of Heartbreaking

Let me take you back to the olden times of, ah, 2012 through 2014. After Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy fizzled out, the highly anticipated reboot promised to tell the "untold story" of the beloved hero's origin. With director Marc Webb behind the wheel, the new series was pitched, essentially, as "Twilight" meets superheroes. The real-life chemistry between the two leads, Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy, sure helped set that tone with the first "The Amazing Spider-Man" movie. However, all the subtly nagging missing pieces in that film soon reared their ugly head with "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," a corporate-dictated monstrosity of a sequel that shortchanged whatever the first film had gotten right, all in favor of shoehorning the vaunted Sinister Six line-up into the story for the sake of rushing headlong into an expanded franchise.

Of course, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was a critical dud and a franchise-killer, but the real shame was how it prematurely ended Garfield's generally well-received run as the character and left him with some bitter feelings all these years later.

"It Was a Big Awakening and it Hurt"

No, don't expect Andrew Garfield to address those persistent "Spider-Man: No Way Home" rumors or anything like that. Let's get that out of the way right from the start! That said, however, it's always worth hearing an actor's honest thoughts on a major blockbuster role well after they've left it behind, when they have the benefit of hindsight to look back and assess the experience dispassionately. Or, at the very least, when the passing of time has allowed an actor to temper those strong emotions with more experience. 

That certainly applies to Garfield in a long profile with The Guardian where, among many other topics, he discusses his bittersweet feelings about playing Spider-Man. Referencing a 2017 quote when he said, "I got my heart broken a little bit," Garfield goes on to say:

"I went from being a naïve boy to growing up. How could I ever imagine that it was going to be a pure experience? There are millions of dollars at stake and that's what guides the ship. It was a big awakening and it hurt.

Comic-Con in San Diego is full of grown men and women still in touch with that pure thing the character meant to them. [But] you add in market forces and test groups and suddenly the focus is less on the soul of it and more on ensuring we make as much money as possible. And I found that — find that — heartbreaking in all matters of the culture. Money is the thing that has corrupted all of us and led to the terrible ecological collapse that we are all about to die under."

That's ... pretty bleak! He's not exactly wrong, though, as it's common knowledge by now that the studio practically sacrificed "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" in favor of chasing spin-offs, villain team-ups, and franchising. It's hard to blame Garfield for feeling so cynical about it either, considering his obvious passion for the role and the forces entirely out of his control that defined the legacy of the two superhero movies he was a part of. But he's not entirely without self-awareness at the doom-and-gloom of his final words about ecological collapse and death, humorously adding that, "I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding! I mean, it'll take a bunch of years before that happens." Good talk, Andrew Garfield. I feel better already.