There’s still quite a bit of time until The Amazing Spider-Man 3 swings into theaters, and while there’s bound to be a lot of speculation, rumors, and updates between now and when franchise star Andrew Garfield dons the webslinger’s costume next (even though it might end up being in one of the upcoming spinoff films). That leaves ample time for looking back on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though, and pondering what went wrong for the 2014 film — which currently ranks as the worst-reviewed film of all the Spider-Man movies with the lowest box-office earnings.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Garfield acknowledged that he’s read a lot of the criticism directed at the movie.
“I read a lot of the reactions from people and I had to stop because I could feel I was getting away from how I actually felt about it,” he said. “For me, I read the script that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote, and I genuinely loved it. There was this thread running through it.”
And it was that thread, reasoned Garfield, that was broken when various cuts were made by the studio.
“I think what happened was, through the pre-production, production, and post-production, when you have something that works as a whole, and then you start removing portions of it—because there was even more of it than was in the final cut, and everything was related… Once you start removing things and saying, ‘No, that doesn’t work,’ then the thread is broken, and it’s hard to go with the flow of the story,” he said. “Certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it, and ultimately the studio is the final say in those movies because they’re the tentpoles, so you have to answer to those people.”
Still, Garfield says he was surprised by the contradiction between how he felt about the film and the way it was received by critics. (It’s worth noting that the negative critical response to the film wasn’t mirrored in audience reviews. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 currently ranks just after Spider-Man 2 and The Amazing Spider-Man in audience reviews on review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com.)
“I’ll tell you this: Talking about the experience as opposed to how it was perceived, I got to work in deep scenes that you don’t usually see in comic book movies, and I got to explore this orphan boy—a lot of which was taken out, and which we’d explored more,” he said. “It’s interesting to do a postmortem. I’m proud of a lot of it and had a good time, and was a bit taken aback by the response.”
And given the visceral reactions to projects like this that often fill the online space, Garfield said he’s had to learn how to separate the constructive criticism from the nitpicking and personal agendas.
“It’s a discernment thing,” he explained. “What are the people actually saying? What’s underneath the complaint, and how can we learn from that? We can’t go, ‘Oh God, we f*cked up because all these people are saying all these things. It’s sh*t.’ We have to ask ourselves, ‘What do we believe to be true?’ Is it that this is the fifth Spider-Man movie in however many years, and there’s a bit of fatigue? Is it that there was too much in there? Is it that it didn’t link? If it linked seamlessly, would that be too much? Were there tonal issues? What is it?”
“I think all that is valuable.” he added. “Constructive criticism is different from people just being dicks, and I love constructive criticism. Hopefully, we can get underneath what the criticism was about, and if we missed anything.”
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is currently scheduled to hit theaters in 2018.