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February 13, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

Andrew Garfield

While many could argue that 2010 was the year of Natalie Portman — considering her critically-lauded performance in Black Swan and her recent pregnancy — for me, it was really the year of Andrew Garfield, the new Spider-Man.

The 27-year-old British actor was practically unknown before last year.  While he appeared in both 2007′s Boy A and more recently in a few episodes of TV’s “Doctor Who,” Garfield was still under the radar.  It wasn’t until last year’s The Social Network, where he starred as Eduardo, the famously betrayed best friend of Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg, that his name became widely recognizable.

His other breakthrough performance of last year is the lesser-known but equally astounding Never Let Me Go.  He played Tommy in the film based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Garfield really made headlines in 2010, however, when it was announced he was to play Peter Parker in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot.  In January, the first image of Garfield dressed in the Spidey costume was released, which really amped up the anticipation.  The new Spider-Man movie will be directed by Marc Webb, best known for (500) Days of Summer, and is slated for a 2012 release date.

Garfield as Spider-Man

Of course, the question remains whether a movie series that’s barely nine years old really needs a reboot, especially considering that the latest one, Spider-Man 3, came out just four years ago.

While Garfield will fill the role Tobey Maguire formerly played in director Sam Raimi’s vision of the comic book classic, Kirsten Dunst’s previous role as MJ will be replaced with an entirely new character, Gwen Stacy.  Stacy will be played by Emma Stone, the breakout star of last year’s teen comedy Easy A. Stone was recently seen at awards shows donning blonde hair for the upcoming role, as opposed to her usual redhead look.

I’m looking forward to the reboot, even if it’s unnecessary to retool a Spider-Man series that wasn’t broke to begin with.  This is not a sequel, but rather picks up the tale of Spider-Man just as Peter Parker gets bit by the super-powered spider in high school — so, basically the first Spider-Man all over again, but different.  Even so, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as the two leads — fresh stars who are among the highest in demand in Hollywood right now — I think it will turn out to be something worth checking out.

Aside from playing Spider-Man, I’m anxious to see where we’ll see Andrew Garfield headed next.  It was a whirlwind of a year for him, and although we won’t be hearing his name announced at the Oscars later this month, we’ll still get to see him there — and thankfully so because the man sure knows how to wear a tux.

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