Like many of you, I'm a bit surprised that Andrew Garfield is the new Spider-Man. After weeks of hearing names like Josh Hutcherson, Jamie Bell, Anton Yelchin and more tossed around with great frequency, Garfield's status as director Marc Webb's webslinger is definitely a surprise.
But it's a great surprise. I can only speak for myself, of course, but based on what I know about the actor, I'm very excited to see him as the new Spider-Man. After the jump, I'll tell you why.
Garfield is hilarious, as you're no doubt aware if you've seen him in "The Imaginarum of Doctor Parnassus." His scenes as a veritable circus leader stringing unamused crowds along are as awkward as they are hysterical, but it's his scenes opposite Heath Ledger that really prove that Garfield has what it takes to play Parker.
Watch this scene from "Parnassus" for yourself. Put Garfield's British accent out of your mind and forget the fact that they aren't throwing punches at each other. Essentially, you're watching Garfield square off against an arch-nemesis, spewing wisecracks and getting under his enemy's skin with surgical precision — just like Spidey. There are many scenes like this with varying degrees of humor, and many of these scenes are out and out tragic.
Throughout "Parnassus," Garfield holds his own against some high profile actors including Ledger and Christopher Plummer. After Ledger passed away, he was replaced by actors Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell — all of whom Garfield acts against with absolute perfection. Even as his character exudes awkwardness, there's a charisma in his performance that is completely undeniable and completely essential for his upcoming work as Spider-Man.
"Parnassus" is the movie I would recommend you watch if you want to see how Garfield's going to play as Peter Parker, but he's got some other movies to look out for as well: the forthcoming "The Social Network" and "Never Let Me Go," as well as the British television series "Red Riding," in which Garfield taps into a very dark, aggressive place — don't expect to see him wielding guns as the high school aged Parker, but at least it's an indicator that the actor is capable of violence.
Check out his available film work. Read and watch his interviews. Give the man a chance. We'll know for sure whether or not Garfield was the right choice for Spider-Man in almost exactly two years. For now, there's no question that he's an incredibly gifted young actor and an exciting, unexpected choice. I, for one, look forward to seeing what he's capable of as the wall-crawling Marvel icon.
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