Amazing Spider-Man: Tangled Webs/Tales of Spider-Man (Junior Novelization)

 Posted: Jul 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


There's something tragic about movie novelizations. It seems to be a ritual humiliation that so many popular films love to inflict upon their own credibility.

It's funny, the process works very well in the reverse direction. Good books very frequently make for good films, in the same way that a couple of good eggs will quite often make a good omelette. Unfortunately, the reverse is almost never the case.

I could count the number of "novelizations" that have bettered their motion picture equivalents on the fingers of one fist. Then I could use that fist to repeatedly punch the face of whoever decided that the 2012 Amazing Spider-Man film needed a book adaptation.

Story Details

In physical terms, this book is 5.2" x 7.6" pages soft card cover, 128 newsprint pages.

In literary terms, this is a confused agglomeration of mis-assembled textual filler.

Like most novelizations, this book is almost certainly written from the screenplay, before the actual film was completed. Unlike most novelizations, this adaptation has been hacked up with an axe in order to make it fit into the pre-arranged page count.

This means that critical scenes are missing - for example, the scene in which Uncle Ben is killed has been entirely removed. Perhaps this was done to make the book age-suitable, but whatever the explanation, it has removed the entire emotional heart of the story.

The final climactic battle with the Lizard is gone too, though the fight at the high school remains. Now, in the movie, the Lizard was at the high-school because he discovered Peter's identity. In the book, that explanation appears to be missing, and hence there's no reason at all why the high-school fight would even take place.

The are many other critical elements missing. For example, when Peter visits Oscorp, he stumbles into the "spider room" by following the man who was carrying the ØØ folder that corresponded to the one Peter found in his father's briefcase. But this explanation is missing from the book, leaving no good reason for Peter's discovery.

General Comments

I could happily carry on in this vein, with countless critical elements that have been omitted (and with just as many other irrelevant elements which have been inexplicably added or padded).

But that would be overlooking the worst aspect of this story - which is the horrible, horrible writing style.

You know the most important rule of writing, yeah? "Show me. Don't tell me."

Well, this book forms a textbook example of how to break that rule, incessantly. The book feels like it is 80% explanatory text, and 20% of people actually doing, talking, or thinking. More painfully, every element is explained, nothing is left to your imagination. Whenever any interesting event does actually occur, it is immediately followed by a paragraph telling you the character's motivations, and the corresponding conclusions that every observer has drawn.

Here's a random example:

"It's OK," Peter began, trying to reassure his Uncle that everything was all right.

Oh really? I thought he was trying to persuade his Uncle to buy him a pony!

Overall Rating

Actually, I think the saddest thing about this book is that it contains about 100 pages of text in a large font, it was based on a screenplay, and it still took THREE writers to construct this piece of foetid waste.

Half a web. This truly is an abomination.

 Posted: Jul 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)