‘Spider-Man’: Andrew Garfield is ‘glad that people like the suit’ — but do they?

Feb. 15, 2011 | 9:23 a.m.
spider man andrew garfield1 Spider Man: Andrew Garfield is glad that people like the suit    but do they?

"The Amazing Spider-Man" (Columbia Pictures)

At the Golden Globes last month, it was like a summit meeting for super-hero cinema. Robert Downey Jr. presented an award, strangely chipper and shaggy Christian Bale accepted one and Christopher Nolan sat near the stage not far from Anne Hathaway, who within a few days would be announced as the latest star to visit the filmmaker’s Gotham City. Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johannson were among the representatives of the Marvel universe, while the man who will soon change into the Hulk for MarvelMark Ruffalo, smiled and said he was pretty happy to be at a career juncture where he’ getting award nominations for mature fare like “The Kids Are All Right” but also ramping up for a green movement that will put his visage on Slurpee cups and the toy aisles of the world.

“I’m just enjoying everything; it took me 20 years to get here and in 20 more I’ll be 63 and I’m just going to be in this moment,” Ruffalo said, looking, at least at that moment, like the picture of relaxed satisfaction.

That description did not apply to Andrew Garfield, the 27-year-old actor who was sitting at a table with his compatriots from “The Social Network.” A few days before the awards show, Columbia Pictures had released the first real image of Garfield in his upcoming role as Peter Parker and when I asked him about the reaction he was getting to that photo he looked both anxious and excited. “So far so good, I’m glad that people like the suit. It’s one of the big challenges with a movie like this.” Garfield is busy actually making the movie — which, by the way, will be titled “The Amazing Spider-Man,” as Columbia announced Monday when they released the new photo above — so he probably doesn’t have too much time to surf the Internet looking for fan, blogger, press and pundit response to the suit. That may be best for his emotional health as well.

andrew garfield Spider Man: Andrew Garfield is glad that people like the suit    but do they?

Andrew Garfield at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, September 7, 2010 (Kirk McKoy\Los Angles Times)

The suit for the Marc Webb-directed film has been a lightning-rod topic for weeks and weeks now and after some ungainly (and unapproved) photos circulated, a significant percentage of the reaction fell into the category of purist indignation and withering ridicule. The release Monday of the photo has tilted the overall conversation again — a lot of casual fans seem to be just fine with this Spider-Man — and I’d say I’d agree that the suit lives up to the challenge of being different from the Sam Raimi films but not too different from the classic suit that stands as one of the great comic-book costumes ever. Speaking of change, the photo seems to verify that Webb (yes, he is the most aptly named director in film history) and his team have gone back to the mechanical web-shooters that were part of the original Spider-Man mythology. That’s no surprise, I suppose, since Webb and the screenwriting trio of James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves would instinctively look for ways to separate themselves from Raimi’s trilogy, which pulled in $2.5 billion in worldwide box office by the time it finished its run in 2007.

I loved the way the Raimi films boldly embraced the concept that Spider-Man’s webs were generated biologically and came along with all of his other powers at the bite of an irradiated arachnid. I’m sure it rankled some fans at the time (anything that veers from the perceived comic-book canon is quickly labeled as heresy even though comic-book writers and editors casually changed or ignored the “established” mythology as they went along) but to me it solved a pretty significant story problem. How are we to believe (as the 1960s comics put forward) that a financially strapped young man was able to conceive, construct and supply a wrist-worn device that can instantly produce a strand of synthetic “webbing” that begins in liquid form but then supports his weight as he swings among the peaks of skyscrapers? Raimi knew it was a deal breaker. It’s one thing to accept a film where a guy crawls up walls but it’s even harder to swallow the idea that he can’t pay the rent when he has created (or at least has access to) a modern miracle of materials science. I’m sure Webb and his team have  spent time on this and I’m eager to see what they come up with. When it comes to webs, what exactly will be the new spin?

— Geoff Boucher


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15 Responses to ‘Spider-Man’: Andrew Garfield is ‘glad that people like the suit’ — but do they?

  1. Matt Todd says:

    I think the suit looks great. It retains all the main features of the Spider-Man Costume. Heck the suit actually appeared in the David Lapham and Tony Harris mini-series Spider-Man: With Great Power so you can not argue that it is not appeared in the comics. So far I have been happy with all the news we have been told about the movie. Summer 2012 can not get here soon enough. It should be a great year to be both a comic and film fan.

  2. Kevin Coll says:

    Hey Geoff, that is a very logical argument at the end of the article there about the reason to stray away from the web shooter angle but here is me playing devil's advocate. A far more interesting character design is to truly show how, Peter Parker is his own worst enemy and that is why even if he has Tony Stark level genius, he can't finish school, make the necessary steps to act on those inventions and that prowess. I equate it a lot to Good Will Hunting, you had a character was a janitor that was obviously extremely intelligent that for whatever reason was holding himself back. I think that is the angle someone like Marc Webb, James Vanderbilt and the other writing team folks would take to try to truly explain why inventing something 3M hasn't, doesn't necessarily help someone like Parker. Not to mention another easy explanation is that showing the tech would reveal Parker is Spider-man, something I am sure he wants to keep secret unlike a Tony Stark.

  3. John Whorfin says:

    The most telling thing about this photo is that they’re hiding the costume in the dark, especially the inexplicable “dirty crotch”, weird stripes, lack of any “belt” to break up the torso, and those hilarious silver slippers. (Where are his feet, Sony?)

    When actually lit and seen in its entirety, this costume is an abominable train wreck.

    Sony should seriously go back to the drawing board, fix the damn costume, and reshoot, because this is going to be a bigger disaster than the nipples-and-cod-piece Batsuit from Batman & Robin that buried that franchise.

  4. victor says:

    if i recall spider man did indeed run out of web shooter fluid on a few different occasions when he was really strapped for cash and could not afford the needed chemicals.

  5. Captain Sprocket says:

    "How are we to believe (as the 1960s comics put forward) that a financially strapped young man was able to conceive, construct and supply a wrist-worn device that can instantly produce a strand of synthetic 'webbing' that begins in liquid form but then supports his weight as he swings among the peaks of skyscrapers?"

    But we are to believe that same "financially strapped young man" was able to conceive and construct a high-tech costume (as seen in both movies)? What ever happened to … cloth? Go here to see what real, believable super hero costumes look like: http://www.collorastudios.com/projects/finest/fin

  6. reddog says:

    I agree with Captain Sprocket. What most of us who complained about the suit was that the raised webbing and the textured material were something that a high school kid would never put together. they got rid of the raised webbing but they kept the textured material and put in a color pattern and design that high fashioned designer from New York would put together. As for the web shooters, I get why Raim did it because it wouldn't make sense that webbing could come out of a mechanial system at such volume, pressure and velocity. He just put it out that Peter Parker and enhanced physical system would be able to produce the webbing thus making us concentrate on the spectacle of a man who could swing at incredible heights with agility and strength. To physically create enough webbing to traverse a mile would probably take gallons of material.

    • Dav says:

      > To physically create enough webbing to traverse a mile would probably take gallons of material.

      But then where is his body getting the gallons of material to produce the webbing? Is he taking snack breaks during chases? Whether the web shooters are mechanical or organic, accepting Spider-man's web swinging requires the audience to turn a blind eye to the physics of the situation.

      • MLinTN says:

        Actual spiders produce what would be relative "gallons" of webbing compared to their body mass, so it's not biologically impossible. I wonder how many gallons of sweat, oil, saliva, and other fluids humans produce in a week.

      • reddog says:

        thanks….couldn't have explained it better myself….I thought I explained it by saying enhanced physical system. Spiderman is supposed to have the proportional strength and properties of a spider. Sam thought so too…..I keep forgetting that people don't think like engineers or scientists.

      • Webmachine says:

        Regardless of the argument, this is a story based off of fiction anyway, none of this is anywhere possible to happening so why would it even matter if it wasn't "supposedly" realistic for him to make the shooters!? The guy can stick to walls and chunk a car for crying out loud!… Anyway Raimi didn't come up with the idea for organic webs, he took that idea from James Cameron when Jim was attached to the movie (un-original). I mean they can find ways to make it realistic or make sense for him to make his own webbing, if their intelligent enough that is. For example: in the 90's animated show he explains how besides the spider giving him it's abilities it also filled him with the natural instincts of a spider and it implanted the idea or pattern in his mind to create this formula to mimic silk webbing. Ok then there's the Ultimate series (that's rumored to be some influence on this film) where Peter's dad is a scientist working on projects for the government and had the blue prints for this non lethal weapon adhesive which "oh my stars, resembled spider webbing" and Peter fount the blue prints in his dad's lab and old notes and finished the formula and the devices thus creating the webbing and shooters. The web shooters are just a more interesting detail(not to mention original) it explores Peter's intelligence and if explained right can be more realistic, even Stan Lee himself had said -"The one thing I liked about Peter's web-shooters was the fact that they made him more vulnerable. At any crucial moment he could run out of web fluid and be forced to rely on his wits."- which in my unprofessional opinion adds more depth and intrigue to the character.

  7. Spidey Issue 33 says:

    It is an ugly suit design. UGLY! A cheap-looking GARISH embellishment on the original terrific design (that had been refined quite well in the comics). Look at that "webbing" on the mask. Did I say webbing? It is a grid of flat lines as created by a ruler. Lazy. This "rebooted" (and if you've seen the hideous boots in those other photos online you'll know this is a pun and know why they hide them in the dark) version of the suit shows the creative bankruptcy of the new film's producers eager to sell their version of toys based on "their" design. Your appreciation of Raimi's understanding of the character and the original suit's appeal only grows greater having seen this sad interpretation.

    And look at that official photo! It looks like it was rushed together to try and counter the hopeless spirit settling in around the production in after those other pics taken from the filming made it to the "web." There is no imagination to this photo. No sense of excitement. It looks…tired in its limp execution. How sad for us fans to see how the greed and ignorance of Hollywood is coming to bear on what was a fun great comic book character in the same way as the producers of the Broadway musical must have looked down their noses at the original source material while thinking only of merchandising.

  8. thatonekid. says:

    the costume is actually pretty nice! :)
    the webbshooters are a very good idea it makes his life even harder because he can run out of webbing and unable to save people from a threat then the citicenz would hate him more(people hate spiderman)he’d be so sad and depressed he’d hate being spiderman but with great power comes great responsibility(:
    this will be much better than the gay sam raimi movies! thos movies suck!

  9. Kool Moe Joe says:

    Thank God Sam Raimi is gone, he's horrible and cheesy director. And he couldn't have picked a worst Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Tobey "Monotone" Maguire. Who has zero personality on and off the screen. And how can I forget about Kirsten "Droopy Breast" Dunst. Try an acting class for once, you need it. Her Mary Jane was an annoying and selfish brat. The chemistry between the two leads was like watching two rocks lying in the grass. Was Spider-Man even in the film, everytime I saw him he had his mask off. Horrible character development and uninspiring script, surrounded by mediocre script. It's no wonder no one has heard from these two since they left Spider-Man, they found out the hard way that they're easily replacable.

  10. B9000 says:

    I don't know how this is going to play, but that costume looks a little RagMan and a little Ultraman. I would have preferred the goofy, dark Ditko suit with the underarm webs. In fact, a Spider-man set in 1963 would be the ultimate Spidey movie for me. Kennedy, Vietnam, the space race, all that great stuff that even Lee and Ditko alluded to obtusely back then. A character like the Molten Man would be fun, and maybe even a little scary in that era.

    PS Raimi's first two were pretty good, Number Two being the best, and Tobey and Kirsten were excellent. I think the "romance" story line took a hit from the get go as would have been better if they had done away with that whole "loved the girl next door from childhood" conceit (Chabon's?) and gotten us to the classic "face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot" scene on film. IMHO.

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