Comics : Spider-Man: The Visual Guide to the Complete Movie Trilogy

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

DK Publishing takes their first bite at a real Spider-Man Movie tie-in book.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: The Visual Guide to the Complete Movie Trilogy
Mar 2007 : SM Title
Find ISBN 0756627052
Publisher:  DK Publishing, Inc.
Writer:  Alastair Dougall
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Review

Right from when you pick this book up, you can see it's an ill-considered hodge-podge. It's actually two books, attached together at the top so that you spend twenty seconds just trying to open the thing. Once you get it open, you're faced with two books one above the other, difficult to handle and read anywhere other than sitting at a desk or well cleared coffee table. The padding on the book is disconcerting and redundant and the cover photo is irritatingly fuzzy. Not a promising start.

When you finally open the two books, you try and figure out from the two titles (Everybody Loves a Hero) and (Stung By Fate) just exactly what you're dealing with. Yes, I know Spiders bite not sting. Just ignore that. We've got effectively two books each roughly 9.5" x 9.5" each 48 full-color glossy pages.

Flicking through the two books, you'll find that both of them offer two-page "topics" with some text explaining "facts" at a level that is totally redundant to anybody who has read the film, and at a linguistic level which is verging on offensively simplified. E.g. "Team-up: The Goblin knew that Spider-Man was the only one who could stop him. He decided to make an ally of him. Together they would be unstoppable."

Both books cover basic summary about Peter, his transformation, Doc Ock, etc. Some topics are covered in only one book - e.g. Green Goblin is in the second only, while Norman Osborn is in the first only. But other topics are in both, e.g. Doctor Octopus and Jonah are in both. There's no real sequencing in the topics, not even chronological.

In General...

This is the most poorly-conceived and badly-produced Spider-Man movie book I have ever seen. The photos are plentiful, but small and randomly arranged. The material is randomly selected and childishly implemented. There's no insight offered at all - you get nothing more from the material than the most casual viewer of the movie would have picked up.

The design of the book with the double-books and padded cover adds nothing other than an increase on the cover price. The whole concept of having two books is absolutely ignored. I could possibly have forgiven it if one of the books covered the plot of the films (in some sensible chronological order) and the other offered behind the scenes "making of the movie". But this random mis-mash of material is an embarrassment.

The book looks and feels like it was intended to be a "premium product" for adults. Instead we have a laughable waste of paper which, if there's any justice, will head straight for the remainder shop. This one is for completists only.

If you're looking for a real "Visual Guide" to the movies, I'd recommend instead that you go for Spider-Man: Behind The Mask Of Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2: Behind The Mask, or the superb The Spider-Man Chronicles all of which give great insight into the making of the three films. This book offers about as much insight as a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.

Overall Rating...

This "visual guide" is laughably bad. It doesn't do any justice to the film, it's childish and badly written, the photos are small and the whole thing is poorly structured. Very disappointing indeed. One web.