In our humble opinion, Andrew Garfield is a better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire in both writing and performance. Though we could probably come up with numerous reasons to support our argument, here are some of the most important.
Don’t get us wrong. Tobey Maguire was a good Spider-Man. A solid Spider-Man. However, Andrew Garfield has proven himself to be a better Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hasn’t even premiered in the states yet.
We’re not saying that Tobey Maguire has only himself to blame for being an inferior Spider-Man or that Andrew Garfield should take all of the credit for being a better Spider-Man. What we’re saying is, in general, Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man is more compelling and entertaining than Tobey Maguire’s.
Taking into account both of the actors’ talents, the quality of the scripts, and the strength of the storytelling, here’s why Andrew Garfield comes up on top.
Andrew Garfield has an understated charisma.
Andrew Garfield is charismatic, there’s no doubt about it. There’s an invisible quality or energy about him that we can sense but not necessarily define. All we know is that he makes us feel all of the right emotions at all of the right times, but also adds emotional depth to each moment. His performances are natural and never feel like they’re over-the-top. He has a certain quality to him that makes him exude confidence while still allowing him to be dorky and adorable. We know we’re doing a poor job of trying to describe Garfield’s charisma, but the best way to understand what we’re saying is to simply watch him on screen (which is why this is our only point that has a gif instead of just an image).
Maguire’s performances, on the other hand, lack that air of charisma. They sometimes come off as less than genuine and, many times, can feel forced. During parts of the first two movies, Maguire almost seems like a toned down version of the emo Peter Parker that we see in Spider-Man 3 (or, well, he does to us). Again, we can’t really describe Maguire’s slight lack of charisma but we trust that you understand what we’re trying to convey.
He has incredible chemistry with his female co-star.
Yes, it definitely helps that the fantastically awesome Emma Stone is the Gwen Stacy to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man (both on screen and in real life) and that she’s an amazing person to begin with. But, it takes two to tango and these two certainly do tango well on screen. (Ok, we’ll drop the metaphor now.) The leading couple in The Amazing Spider-Man just feels so much more compatible and natural together than the couple in the previous Spider-Man series. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst just never seemed to mesh all the way like Garfield and Stone do.
Honestly, it’s almost impossible to fake chemistry. Actors either have it or they don’t. It may have been the luck of the draw or the two actors’ laid-back personality types that really make the couple work, but all we know is that we prefer the Amazing Spider-Man couple to the alternative. However, it can’t be a coincidence that he embodies a ton of other wonderful traits that we’re outlining in this article as well as a tendency towards chemistry (which is not exclusive to this film series, but other films he has been in as well). Just sayin’.
He matches comic book Peter Parker’s sassiness perfectly. To put it simply, he’s hilarious.
The Amazing Spider-Man series has more sassy humor than its predecessor, and we’re only on the second movie. Sure, Tobey Maguire gets some quips in the Sam Raimi series, but he conveys nowhere near the amount of sass that Spider-Man should. Yes, some of that can be blamed on the writing, but a lot of it comes from the actor’s portrayal. Garfield, on the other hand, is as sassy as can be. More than that, he pulls it off. For instance, the scene in the first Amazing Spider-Man where Spidey is threatened with a knife is so absurd and hilarious that it’s hard not to laugh. Garfield’s Spider-Man intimidates with more than his abilities. He intimidates with his sass.