As everyone knows Andrew Garfield is Spider-Man, and it’s likely that he’ll be Spider-Man for quite some time. As is always the case with actors who play superheroes the has become synonymous, not just with the webhead but with heroism, truth, justice and any other positive trait you can imagine.
This was partly the case in one of Garfield’s first roles as the hapless Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook who settled a legal battle outside of court after suing Facebook, and Facebook suing him. Garfield’s role in ‘The Social Network’ was essentially that of ‘the good guy’ although it wasn’t as black or white as that.
However, an article in the Boston Globe written by Jennifer Graham describes what she has called the ‘Spider-Man Effect’. Upon re-watching ‘The Social Network’ since Garfield has become Spider-Man and a physical embodiment of all those positive traits I mentioned, she has realised that Mark Zuckerberg is significantly less endearing when up against the guy who is Spider-Man.
Call it the Spider-Man effect. Like former movie superheroes Christopher Reeve and Tobey Maguire, Garfield has become synonymous — through his two turns as Spidey — with truth, justice, and the American way. By extension, so has Saverin, even though in real life he’s no longer a citizen. When it’s Spidey v. Zuck at the table with their lawyers, even the moral standing of the Winklevoss twins seems to improve.
It’s classic simulacra, the replacement of reality with a representation of it that, in time, becomes “realer than real.” The thinking of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard was invoked last year by someone who knows well its power: the actor Jack Gleeson, who portrayed the wicked King Joffrey on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”.
It’s a fascinating read, but in short Mark Zuckerberg (whose actor Jesse Eisenberg is going to be the next big-screen iconic Super-Man villain Lex Luthor) is now much more of a villain thanks to the idea that Garfield who, as Jennifer puts it, “assumed the glossy sheen of the righteous when he became Spider-Man on-screen.”
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