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On The Relative Sexiness of The Two Spider-Man Franchises
The results of this appraisal will make two actors into permanent Hollywood legends, while plunging the other two into C-list ignominy.
By James Brady Ryan
The Amazing Spider-Man — perhaps the most necessary reboot of our time — arrives in theaters today. And while Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are both hot commodities right now, people will obviously be stacking them up against Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. (We know Stone and Dunst are playing different characters, but who's counting?) Since this film, like the 2002 version, will probably live and die on the chemistry of Peter Parker and his paramour, we're looking through the four actors' filmographies to provide a highly scientific verdict on their relative sex appeal.
We're pretty sure that the results of this appraisal will make two actors into permanent Hollywood legends, while plunging the other two into C-list ignominy. So read closely.
We give Tobey Maguire a lot of points for his first two Spider-Man films. He was at once adorably nerdy and surprisingly fit, and he brought just the right amount of pathos to the part. And the rest of his resume is impressive too. Pleasantville cemented his status as the guy you realize is pretty hot once you stop staring at the letterman-jacketed jock. Wonder Boys perfectly cast him as a pretentious but legitimately talented weirdo — who bags Robert Downey, Jr., even. (You get sexier when you do that.) And The Ice Storm made him a typically shy (but still cute!) boy-next-door. At his best, he's the guy you knew in high school whom you always wonder why you didn't date.
But, stack all of that up against his performance in Spider-Man 3. The terrible bangs. The whiny emo posturing. That weird dance number. Any actor can be excused for making the occasional bad movie, but Spider-Man 3 highlighted an unappealing part of Maguire's persona; when the dork-factor is gone, Maguire can seem douchey, bland, and more like the guy you never noticed in high school for good reason. And he didn't do himself any favors with chaff like Seabiscuit or Brothers, which failed to make use of his specific talents and saddled him with a decidedly unflattering jockey outfit and buzz-cut, respectively.
Here is a truth about Andrew Garfield: dude has not been in a lot of movies. He's certainly talented — he was just nominated for a Tony, for instance — but he just hasn't done that yet. That being said, his debut performance, in Boy A, as a young man trying to start his life over after committing a notorious crime, is soulful enough that it counts for at least three lesser film roles. Garfield's look doesn't scream "bad boy," but that's part of the charm of the performance — the convicted murderers who can give you a cuddly puppy-dog stare are always the ones that get you. (That's what Mom always said, anyway.) The eyes also came in handy in the sci-fi drama Never Let Me Go. A role as a sheltered clone who's destined for organ-harvesting may not be hot, exactly, but Garfield wears tortured soulfulness like a jaunty hat. We'd take his kidneys any day.
Unfortunately, he has worse luck when he's playing college students. He wasn't unsexy, exactly, as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network — "least douchey" is something of a compliment, at least — but let's be honest: no one in The Social Network had a net gain of sex appeal, right? (Maybe Armie Hammer, but only because he played twins.) And then there's Lions for Lambs. He shouldn't feel too bad, since even Meryl Streep and Robert Redford looked bad in that thing, but it's not helping his case.
Also, for real, he's only been in like five movies.