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Posted at 6:01 AM ET, 07/ 2/2010

SPIDER-SENSES: 7 Reasons Why Andrew Garfield Might Surprise as Spidey

By Michael Cavna

One hour you're a relatively little-known actor, the next you're a trending topic on Twitter outpacing even a Bieber. Such is the power and profile of being the latest young talent to fill a franchise suit.

This morning, of course, we're talking about Andrew Garfield, the California-born Brit who, fresh off Thursday's major casting news, has more than a few million people asking today: Who in the world is Andrew Garfield and why is he my new Spidey?

That's a fair question, given the 26-year-old Garfield's mostly low profile on this side of the Pond. The L.A. native was raised in England, where he received strong notices on stage and screen, including a best-actor BAFTA award for his work on "Boy A."

Some fans also might question why if the still-somewhat-boyish Tobey Maguire is too old (he turned 35 several days ago) for Spider-Man 4's adolescent origin story, isn't Garfield (who turns 27 next month) also perhaps too long in the tooth to reboot for that first radioactive spider bite?

Before Comic Riffs passes judgment, though, we pause to remember where we first really took notice of Garfield. It was three years ago in Robert Redford's "Lions for Lambs," in which the younger actor not only held his own across a desk from the autumn-of-his-career Redford. Garfield's character also was mentally quick, elusive, cagey, always looking for an angle or an edge. In other words: He flaunted an ability to project agility -- which will serve him well as young Spidey. His fast-patter performance also deftly projected that certain swagger-masking-confusion of youth.

With that fine performance lingering still in memory, Comic Riffs is reserving skepticism for the time being. Instead, we're riffling through the movie tins for former Garfield performances. So clips in hand, we offer you Seven Reasons Not to Immediately Hate on Garfield as Spidey. To wit:

1. HE CAN DO "CONFLICTED HERO": In "Boy A," Garfield won a BAFTA acting award for playing a young man whose art of heroism brings him conflict, public attention and social scrutiny. Ring familiar?

2. NOT GREEN ABOUT GREENSCREEN: Having worked on Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (opposite Heath Ledger), Garfield apparently still knows how to focus on acting when all about him will be a film rich in CGI.

3. "SENSITIVE DEEP GUY": Strictly seeing only scenes from "Never Let Me Go," we venture that Garfield has the acting chops to do "sensitive depth" opposite Oscar-caliber actors. Plus, that shout of wrenching emotional pain just might come in handy when webslinging doesn't solve all his woes.

4. YANK FOR THE MEMORIES: Like so many UK-bred actors, Garfield does an uncanny American accent (perhaps being born in the States doesn't hurt). And with any luck, "Spidey" 4 will surround him with as many A-listers as did "Lions for Lambs."

5. WORKING WITH EYEHOLES: Judging by Spike Jonze's "I'm Here," Garfield can project even when his face is entirely covered. If he can do "love story" with robot headgear, then the Spidey mask should be a cinch.

6. CAREER STATUS UPDATE: If you're going to be thrust into the capricious maelstrom of fanboy and film-critic blogs and tweets and links, might as well have a movie about, oh, the founding of Facebook behind you to help you prepare.

7. MR. EVERYTHING There's only so much to glean from a montage, but still, apparently Mr. Garfield can do love. He can do violence. And he can do wrecked emotional states. As Peter Parker, though, he'll have to do one thing for sure; Lose this sideburns.

Do you think Andrew Garfield is a promising pick for "Spider-Man" 4 -- or are you not sold at all? Feel free to fire away below.

By Michael Cavna  | July 2, 2010; 6:01 AM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Superheroes, The Holly Word  | Tags:  Andrew Garfield, Sony/Columbia/Marvel, Spider-Man  
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Next: If 'Airbender' is the year's worst film, why are fans turning out? [UPDATED]


Are you kidding me? McGuire was a terrible Spiderman....

Almost anyone would be an improvement.

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 2, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

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