Warning: This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Congratulations to Andrew Garfield, who, after spending the past seven months lying to press and Marvel fans alike about not being in Spider-Man: No Way Home, came out of No Way Home as its undeniable MVP. While there’s a level of fanservice surrounding his appearance from the get-go, No Way Home also allowed Garfield to showcase a level of emotional depth and gave his Peter Parker a shot at redemption, which is leading to some fans reevaluating their opinion on Garfield’s earlier performances in the role.
The two movies that Garfield made in Spidey’s suit (The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2) aren’t necessarily good. Depending on who you asked, Garfield was great in a role but never had good enough material to work with, or, because of the movies as a whole, Garfield never worked as Spider-Man. In any case, between Spider-Man 2, Into the Spider-Verse, and the MCU Spider-Man movies, Garfield and his movies weren’t exactly winning any popularity contests. And, in recent months, Garfield has been more open about his mixed experience with the franchise, citing how studio execs wanted him to walk back comments about wanting Peter Parker to be bisexual.
For the people who’ve been rooting for Garfield since he first emerged at San Diego Comic-Con reading an impassioned letter about what Spider-Man meant to him, people’s renewed interest in Garfield as Spider-Man justifies what they’ve believed all along.
No Way Home finds plenty of time to poke fun at Garfield’s Spider-Man movies and course-correct some of those issues. It mostly keeps Lizard (Rhys Ifan) on the sidelines and instantly takes away Electro’s (Jamie Foxx) blue glow. Garfield’s Peter makes quips, bemoaning how he never got to fight aliens like Tobey Maguire (Venom in Spider-Man 3) or Tom Holland’s (Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War) Peter Parkers did and that overall, the villains he faced were a lot lamer.
But, unlike Maguire, who came in as an older and wiser Peter who was mostly at peace with himself to help Holland’s Peter work through his grief, No Way Home gave Garfield’s far more bitter and chaotic Peter a shot at closure and redemption. One scene, featuring only Maguire and Garfield, showed the former urging the latter to repeat that he was “amazing.” The other, in which Garfield’s Peter rescues MJ (Zendaya) from falling to her death after Holland’s Peter is knocked away by the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), allows him to atone for being unable to save his love Gwen Stacy—the event that made him so bitter.
Now that No Way Home cemented Garfield as a great Spider-Man in his own right, there is a certain level of vindication buzzing around Marvel and Spider-Man fandom.
Not to mention a general celebration of the chaotic energy Garfield brought to the role.
And naturally, rumors that Garfield would reprise his role as Spider-Man for the third Amazing Spider-Man movie have already emerged.
It all feeds into one simple fact: Andrew Garfield is having a hell of a year. Already a fandom staple between Spider-Man and his status as the perennial Remus Lupin in people’s fan-casting of the Marauders (to Ben Barnes’ Sirius Black), this marks his fourth film of the year after Mainstream, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and tick, tick…BOOM.
To which we say, let the Garfieldissance commence.