One of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the summer season, The Amazing Spiderman 2, opened yesterday receiving a mix of reviews. Andrew Garfield, the star of the movie, who only recently has been trying his way into the Hollywood system, may be trying to be too popular, considering his lack of quality work since The Social Network. This situation might be even more evident, when he hosts Saturday Night Live tonight for the first time, which could have an interesting effect on his career.
Most people found out about Garfield in his star turn as Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) right hand man in The Social Network. In the film, he showcased his acting chops in a character who was quite complex. His persona served as an intelligent college student, who has to make the difficult choice of taking power or respectability.
Around the same time, Garfield put together another fantastic performance in the indie darling Never Let Me Go, an unconventional love triangle about three young adults. Garfield, like the other actors in the thought provocative film, developed a character who was real and complicated, while juxtaposed to the unpredictability of the script.
Prior to these two films, Garfield, who is British, mostly was featured in British television such as Sugar Rush, The Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord trilogy and the TV movie Boy A, where he showcased his wide range.
Despite his wide range of artistic success, it has not been the same for the actor, since his turn as Spiderman. During this period, Garfield has been absent from creative endeavors. In fact, the only movies he has participated since The Social Network has been The Amazing Spiderman movies.
It makes one wonder then, if Garfield has elected himself to only do movies that are of mass appeal. Ultimately, actors want to be seen by more people, which is understandable. However, at the same time, an actor such as Garfield’s talent seems to be a waste. Ironically, his performance as Peter Parker has been, much like the movies themselves, rather lackluster — even if they have had great financial success. Previously, Andrew Garfield was able to encapsulate himself to be a full-fledged, three-dimensional character in his earlier career; yet, in these Hollywood action movies, he almost seems to be trying too hard.
Whether this is just one of those situations where Garfield is not the right fit, that he cannot compare to his predecessor Tobey Maguire, or any other combination of factors, is impossible to guess. Part of it might be that Garfield, while funny in real life, may have trouble in roles that do not allow him to stretch. His role of Peter Parker, after all, requires him to spew out hokey dialogue, act like a dork, while also being a serious hero that saves the day. That kind of thing is hard to pull off, even for seasoned actors. Unfortunately, it just does not seem to fit for him.
It begs the question though, between his relationship with Emma Stone and his appearance on SNL, if the man is trying to raise his clout. After all, SNL is a vehicle that is primarily used to promote an actor’s work to the forefront of society. While it is not a new thing, to have a quality actor on the variety show, much like Christopher Walken, Robert DeNiro, and recently, Jon Hamm, it could be an interesting scenario for Garfield, simply because not many has seen his serious work.
In turn, this SNL situation could make it more difficult, in the future, for Garfield to be taken seriously. It should not be the case, but the American public may see the actor as a fool on various skits, on top of his hokey performances in the Spiderman movies and not take him seriously.
It also does not help that Garfield is first appearing on the variety show, when it is, arguably, at its worst. Outside of a few hosts who elevate the show, like Justin Timberlake, Louis C.K., and Melissa McCarthy, there has been little to praise the show this season. As a result, Andrew Garfield has a difficult task ahead of him Saturday, as he could hit an interesting stage of his acting career, as he attempts to up his and SNL‘s game.
There is no doubt that the actor has talent. The question does remain though, is Andrew Garfield trying too hard to be a movie star in Hollywood? Or, is this merely a phase to get his name out there, before he pursues acting in those pivotal roles again, in the wake of these two Spiderman movies? Regardless, if his appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show is any indication, when he sang the Spiderman theme song while playing acoustic guitar, he may be a pleasant surprise and help churn out a solid episode of SNL.
Opinion by Simon Mounsey