In retrospect, the Amazing Spider-Man turned out to be a failed experiment. It turned out that people weren’t really interested in seeing a rebooted version of the wall-crawler so soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy, and to make matters worse the two movies are mediocre at best. It turns out that this thinking is not at all lost on star Andrew Garfield, who has pin-pointed the reason for why the films were ultimately disappointing: they tried to appeal to absolutely everybody.
The actor has been talking about the Amazing Spider-Man movies a lot recently (thanks to the fact that he is on the press tour for his new movie 99 Homes), and it was while talking with The Playlist that the actor revealed his thoughts on why his Spidey adventures didn’t work out as well as we all hoped. Speaking to the idea of trying to please everyone, Garfield explained,
it's not going to happen...You end up pleasing no one, or everyone just a little bit. Like, ‘Eh, that was good.’ [The films are] mass-marketed, like ‘We want 50-year-old white men to love it, gay teenagers to love it, bigot homophobes in Middle America to love it, 11-year-old girls to love it.’ That's canning Coke. So that aspect of it was a bummer.
While I understand where Andrew Garfield is coming from with these comments, there is just one wrench in the gears of his argument: a huge part of the charm of the Spider-Man character is that he is basically designed to be universally beloved. He’s a young, funny, fun-loving adventurer who makes jokes in the face of danger, but still struggles with all of the most familiar problems that we all face. When adapted correctly, he should be a four quadrant dream for a studio – but perhaps what Garfield is saying here is that everything was too forced in the Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel.
It’s pretty clear that the actor’s experience in the franchise was negatively influenced by the higher-ups who shepherded the films to theaters, but he still counts himself among those who tried to make the movies better and more meaningful than they turned out. Said Garfield,
Especially for the group of us trying to infuse it with soul, trying to make it unique, something that was worth the price of entry. It was about authenticity, flavor, and truth, but at the same time, I understand people want to make a lot of money, and they're going to spend a lot of money so the playpen can be as big as it was.
Now that Sony has teamed up with Marvel Studios to work on a third big screen incarnation of Spider-Man, there are obviously big questions about the treatment of the character and whether or not it can succeed where The Amazing Spider-Man titles didn’t. Our fingers are certainly crossed hoping that it will.