Andrew Garfield: 'Death of a Salesman' Review Roundup and What's at Stake for 'Spiderman' at WonderCon

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by Maggie Lange
March 16, 2012 4:13 PM
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Andrew Garfield, who has shown what he can do in such films as "Never Let Me Go," "Boy A" and "The Social Network," will make his big-studio hero debut as Sony and Marvel's latest wall-climber in "The Amazing Spider-Man" on July 3. In the meantime, he's grabbed better reviews for his Broadway debut in Mike Nichols' revival of "Death of a Salesman" than theater veteran Philip Seymour Hoffman. Our review round-up is below.

It remains to be seen how audiences and critics will respond to the new "Spider-Man." Thus the team behind this revamp is setting out to convince us that this latest refashioning was worth making and will be worth watching. (Trailer below.)

LA Times' Hero Complex reports that this summer Spider-Man celebrates its 50th anniversary, but the filmmaking team behind the upcoming film "views that history as part of its challenge — just like the towering shadow cast by the previous Spider-Man films and their $3.5-billion box office success." 

“Our movie — with this hero, at this time — has to be great, and we know we have to show people that we know what we’re doing,” producer Matt Tolmach told Geoff Boucher. Along with "(500) Days of Summer" director Marc Webb, Garfield and Emma Stone, this is Tolmach's first Spider-Man movie.

From left, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Andrew Garfield and Finn Wittrock in "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman." Brigitte Lacombe for New York Magazine
At the initial "Spider-man" PR foray at Comic-Con in July 2011, Garfield posed as a questioner in the hall wearing a standard-issue Spider-Man costume, ripped off his mask, and told the audience: "Spider-Man saved my life. It's another chapter in a long history of a comic story that means so much to so many people."

The tell-all at WonderCon March 16-18 marks the filmmaking team's next attempt to connect to fans and show their dedication to the Spider-Man story.   

Here are the Broadway "Death of a Salesman" reviews:

Charles McNulty, LA Times

But there is a member of the official cast who is doing just as powerful a job of reclaiming the drama for a new generation. That performer is Andrew Garfield, the rising Los Angeles-born, British-raised actor who captured attention as the brooding, ethical Eduardo in “The Social Network” and whose casting as the new Peter Parker in “The Amazing Spider-Man” is likely to catapult his celebrity to intergalactic heights when the film is released this summer.
Garfield plunges to the sea-floor bottom of this fractured father-son relationship and reveals unspeakable heartbreak throughout his perilous descent. Attention must be paid to such a performance, which not only supplies the production’s turbo-charged catharsis but also reminds audiences of the incredible power of great plays when they are inhabited by an actor willing to expose those primal wounds that in real life are just too painful to reopen.

Ben Brantey The New York Times:

Though Mr. Garfield (“The Social Network”) brings searing heat to Biff’s Oedipal confrontations with his father, he is hard to credit as a golden, fading American dream incarnate, a natural man of the earth who belongs in the great outdoors. (He’s more like the weedy, tormented James Dean of “Rebel Without a Cause.”) And when he, Ms. Emond and Mr. Hoffman assemble into family tableaus, it’s as if you are watching characters digitally woven together from different movies.

Michael Musto, Village Voice

Making his Broadway debut, Andrew Garfield is game as the tortured son Biff, but he comes off actorly and overdoes the physical trait of playfully punching his brother (perhaps a Nichols touch) as well as his big screaming match with dad.

Scott Brown, New York Magazine Vulture

But the play belongs to Garfield and Hoffman, as it must. Both know how to weaponize language. (Garfield, especially, has used his Brit’s ear for High Brooklynese to great declamatory advantage: He treats Miller like Shakespeare, finding the rhythms, then secreting them inside a natural reading.)

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Garfield might perhaps seem a tad too untarnished to play a guy who has been kicking around out West, in and out of legal scrapes. But he powerfully conveys Biff’s squirming discomfort at being back in the city, nudged by his family toward a life he knows is not for him.
 

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1 Comment

  • jingmei | March 17, 2012 2:38 AMReply

    I have already paid attention to Andrew Garfield since Ride Riding trilogy. He has double nationalities of U.S. and Britain, and good for him if still does lots jobs in UK.

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