Charlie Cox jokingly called his friend Andrew Garfield the “third-best Spider-Man.”
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a sprawling expanse of characters and stories that bring their comic book counterparts to life in ways we have never before seen, from Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man to Chris Evan’s Captain America, some characters existed long before the MCU. Now that the Infinity Saga has ended and we are closing out Phase 4 of the franchise (the beginning of the Multiverse Saga), we have seen two of the previous characters make their returns to the screen thanks to the introduction of the multiverse variants. Charlie Cox made his triumphant return as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the very same movie that featured the return of Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, AKA the Amazing Spider-Man; according to MovieWeb, the two are good enough friends for Cox to jokingly call Garfield the third best Spider-Man of all-time.
Andrew Garfield had a pretty fantastic year; not only did he see the return of his Peter Parker, who never got an end to his story, but he also landed the lead in a musical sensation, Tick, Tick…Boom! The year garnered him the honor of appearing at the GQ Men of the Year celebration, where his good friend, who went to drama school with the actor, introduced him to the stage by referring to him as the third-best Spider-Man actor of all time. While Charlie Cox may be only the second, and no doubt the best, Daredevil, Andrew Garfield was one of the numerous Spider-Man actors; in Cox’s humorous opinion, not as good as Toby Maquire or Tom Holland.
Charlie Cox’s previous appearance in the MCU is much more recent than Andrew Garfield’s, as his character of Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, anchored the Netflix series that included Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Finn Jones’ Iron Fist, and Mike Coulter’s Luke Cage. Daredevil went for three seasons on the streamer and not only introduced another MCU-bound character in Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin but also gave us the best iteration to date of Frank Castle’s The Punisher, featuring Jon Bernthal. The Netflix franchise came to an end with The Defenders.
Charlie Cox may have beaten Andrew Garfield to the return with an earlier appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but the latter’s was much more impactful. While Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man was the definitive performance that, along with Wesley Snipes’ Blade, and the X-Men franchise, reinvigorated the genre, Garfield’s take was a darker and more brooding version that proved to be the most divisive. So much so that it ended after the second film, even after setting up the long-awaited Sinister Six, but they both got the opportunity to close out their story arcs by appearing as other variants in the movie.
Of course, it was a simple joke between friends when Charlie Cox called Andrew Garfield the third-best Spider-Man, but when standing next to the other two, Garfield might have been the most fun to watch of the three. So the question remains, what could Garfield accomplish with the right writers in place? Would he still be the third-best, or would he leapfrog to the top?