What are the best Andrew Garfield movies? Ever since his show-stealing performance in Spider-Man: No Way Home — which came simultaneous to his Oscar-nominated role in Tick, Tick… Boom — we’ve been experiencing somewhat of an Andrew Garfield renaissance, with people having a newfound appreciation for the actor.
But Andrew Garfield’s film career is a lot more diverse than the Spider-verse, as memorable as his war with various Spider-Man villains like Electro and The Lizard might have been. Over the years, Garfield hasn’t just been a Spider-Man actor — he’s been a soldier, seedy televangelist, lovelorn teen, and embittered social media network co-founder in some incredible drama movies.
As we explore the various roles Garfield has played over the years — including those that have earned him nominations at the BAFTAs, Oscars, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards — we at The Digital Fix are going to rank a selection of the best Andrew Garfield movies from worst to best. So, without further ado, strap in as we take you on a journey across the Garfield-Verse.
The best Andrew Garfield movies are:
- The Imaginarium of Dr Parnusses
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Under the Silver Lake
- The Eyes of Tammy Faye
- Never Let Me Go
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Social Network
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Tick, Tick… Boom
Although Garfield’s performance as Robin Cavendish, a real-life disability advocate who became paralysed from polio, wasn’t terrible, the film itself couldn’t seem to get the tone quite right. It focussed too much on Cavendish’s relationship with his wife, and as such hinged Cavendish’s worth in part on the ability of his able-bodied wife to still love him “despite” him being disabled.
An able-bodied man playing a disabled person is always going to be a controversial choice, especially when looked upon retrospectively, but this piece of inspiration porn is definitely not Garfield’s best work.
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnusses (2009)
Unfortunately, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnusses will always be one of those movies that is somewhat haunted and overshadowed by off-screen going-ons. Heath Ledger, who played the leading role, tragically passed away in the middle of shooting the film.
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This led to a haphazard recast for a movie that was ultimately a bit of a sensory overload, with a messy plot and minimal substance. Coupled with a fairly forgettable performance as sleight-of-hand expert Tony, this isn’t one of Garfield’s most memorable performances.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
As well as being a commercial flop, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered from a weak plot and, to put it bluntly, pretty boring and unconvincing villains.
Although Garfield had the opportunity to show off his acting chops following the death of Gwen Stacy, even that ballsy plot point wasn’t enough to save the movie from its poor writing.
Under the Silver Lake (2018)
In Under the Silver Lake, Garfield does a pretty good job as the unsettling, mysterious Sam — but the movie itself tries too hard to be clever. Unless you’re a fan of David Robert Mitchell’s other movies, you won’t get too much out of this loosely threaded, garbled film.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)
Jessica Chastain was undoubtedly the stand-out performer of The Eyes of Tammy Faye, but Garfield was able to show his diversity as an actor once again with his performance as Jim Bakker, whose well-documented crimes and ambiguous nature keeps you second-guessing as much as Tammy does.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
It has been said that Garfield’s performance in this adaptation of the popular sci-fi novel is what caused critics and Hollywood to fully take notice of the actor for the first time. Far from the conventional love triangle, Garfield’s layered performance as Tommy, a boarding school student that is part of a conspiracy to donate organs to the elite, is well worth the praise it’s received.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
By taking on the role as the Webslinger in 2012, Garfield didn’t just have the shoes of Spider-Man to fill: he also had to make his own mark following Tobey Maguire’s highly-regarded trilogy as Spidey.
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His darker, smouldering iteration of the Wallcrawler definitely helped to set him apart from his predecessor, and his believable on-screen chemistry with Emma Stone (well, they did date after all) as Gwen Stacey helped cement it as a promising restart for the franchise. It’s just a shame it went downhill from there.
The Social Network (2010)
The fractured relationship between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) is at the very centre of The Social Network.
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In turn, strong performances from both Eisenberg and Garfield can be seen as key to the movie’s explosive critical and commercial success. As the spurned and impassioned Saverin, Garfield earned both Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
A war movie — especially one directed by the controversial Mel Gibson — was always going to be a gamble. But Garfield’s multifaceted portrayal of the inner turmoil of Desmond T Doss, a famous pacifist, helped to elevate the movie to another level.
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It ended up reviving Gibson’s career as well as earning Garfield his first-ever Oscars nomination. Not his last, either!
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Although Tom Holland’s Peter Parker was the star of this film, it was Garfield’s portrayal as Peter 3 that got people talking. A lot of cameos are just limited to blunt fan service, but in this movie, Garfield was able to prove to everyone (including Sony, we hope) that he’s more than worthy of donning the Spidey-Suit. He might not have been ready to play Spider-Man before, but he definitely is now. (Check out our Spider-Man No Way Home review here)
Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)
Although the will-they-won’t-they of a potential No Way Home cameo largely overshadowed this Netflix movie, Garfield gives his best performance yet as real-life composer Jonathan Larson in this musical. From getting his tiny mannerisms right to perfectly encapsulating our universal fear of ageing and mortality, the praise Garfield has received for this role is in no way overstated.
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He also learned to sing for the very first time for this role alone after hearing from Lin Manuel-Miranda’s masseuse that he was thinking about casting him. If you hear him during the film, you’d think he was performing all his life.
That’s our ranking of Andrew Garfield’s movies. For more on Hollywood’s best and brightest, check out our lists of the best Ryan Gosling movies and Emily Blunt movies. We also have a list of all the new movies coming in 2023, and the best movies of all time.