With reporting by Josh Horowitz
For three years (five, if you include the period spent filming and promoting), Andrew Garfield was Spider-Man. But now, with Marvel teaming up with Sony to create their own Spidey (to be played by Tom Holland, and incorporated into the "Avengers" side of the Marvel Universe), Garfield is out and on to other projects -- including his upcoming drama "99 Homes."
But of course, while on the press tour for the "Homes," we had to talk to Garfield about his last job... And particularly how his perspective has changed since donning the webs and tights.
"From a storytelling perspective, my perspective has shifted a lot," Garfield mused. "I mean, I got to be Spider-Man. I was Spider-Man. And as I get older, you think, 'What would I show my kids?' There may be some dangers about the one man coming and saving humanity."
Garfield was specifically responding to certain quotes from director Steven Spielberg, who recently stated in an interview with the AP that superhero movies will "go the way of the Western." He's not wrong, of course: every movie trend is cyclical in nature, something that Spielberg even cops to in the next sentence of his interview (and was summarily ignored about).
But for Garfield, the current cycle of superhero movies may point to something even more dangerous than Spielberg was willing to take on.
"It kind of abdicates the rest of us of responsibility," Garfield continued. "We have had great figures in the history of time -- I think of Gandhi, and John Lennon, and Martin Luther King, whoever you want to name. These great, progressive movements... But they're movements. There just happens to be one person who is the face. That person is a community, and that person is bringing their gifts into the community."
You can probably see where this is going, but as Garfield pointed out, "the idea that the world is going to be saved by one man, one woman, is a fallacy."
And in fact, that was an idea that Garfield tried to bring in to "Amazing Spider-Man 2." Bringing up the end of the film, where Peter Parker -- having disappeared for a year after the death of his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) -- defends a kid dressed as Spider-Man from the threat of the rampaging Rhino (Paul Giamatti), Garfield offered the scene as an example of how to do the superhero as community leader the right way.
"That was one of my favorite parts of the film, and it was my idea," Garfield recalled. "I felt the film was missing me as a seven-year-old. All of us as a seven-year-old, being inspired, and given the strength to be who we are, we can step into fear and be courageous in our own lives."
It's a scene sorely missing from a lot of superhero movies, so Garfield's point is well taken. Spider-Man is unique in that he usually gets the s--t kicked out of him, and has to rely on the kindness of New Yorkers to get him back on his feet. And it's a testament to the worth of the sequel that this is, in fact, one of the scenes that really shows off everything good about the Garfield era... Even if the star himself is a little embarrassed to bring it up.
"I feel a little bit egotistical mentioning it was my idea," Garfield said bashfully. "But it's one of the things I'm really proud of."
"99 Homes" hits theaters on September 25.