A visibly spent Bono finally removes his mic from Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man's sundered butthole.
As stated in my own review of SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, my girlfriend was sitting right next to me as the spectacle/train wreck unfolded, and here is her response to what I wrote about the show. Take it away, "She Who Cannot Be Named!"
As I said after the show, that play was a “hot tranny mess.” Thank god you explained the second act so clearly here, because I honestly didn’t know what the hell was going on. I haven’t read the comics and hardly recall the movies — actually I’m not even sure if I’ve seen all of them — but anyway they’re not fresh in my mind. So I was VERY confused.
The club scene is horrible; I’d say more, but that about sums it up. It does, however, bring me to the music, which is so stuck in the 80’s that it has no hope of exit. Allowing Bono to do the music for this was just plain stupid. If it’s supposed to be a contemporary musical, we need contemporary music. Where was the hip-hop, the rap, the modern rock? I don’t really recall “The Boy Fell From the Sky” except for the hook, which was OK. And “Bouncing Off the Walls” was an acceptable number in terms of the music, plus the moving walls were amusing. As for the dancing shoe number with Arachne…well I can hardly put my thoughts into words. Scratch that, I don’t have any thoughts. Rampant laughter to the point where the guy in front of us kept looking back at me like he thought I was such a jerk. That is the only possible expression of my experience with that number. Perhaps the moral was that to be a super-villainess you need lots of really hot high-heeled shoes? Or that high heels are empowering? Hell, any female over the age of seven knows that, so why make a song about it?
The fact that they came straight to Broadway with this show explains a lot. The stunts are fun and our seats were pretty good for viewing them, but I didn’t believe the producer who introduced it when he said the Foxwoods Theater “was the only theater that could accommodate them.” I think it was the only theater that the director wanted and the only theater that would work with them, considering the potential financial liability incurred by breaking the actors and putting the audience in harm’s way.
And did this nonsense really cost $65 million?! Please tell me that was a typo and you meant $6.5 million. (NOTE: that was not a typo.) It’s “Springtime for Hitler and Germany,” alright! You are also right that the Swiss Miss needs to go. That latex fetish silver costume is a fright best left to nightmares. I didn’t mind Arachne, but mostly because I like the dance scene where several spiders fall from the sky to create a web from enormous gray ribbons. So Arachne can also be deleted. The second act doesn’t in any way explain to us why Arachne is necessary. Plus if their core audience is meant to be comic book readers and Spider-Man movie fans, it’s just bad business to flip the script so much.
At moments, they did a good job of bringing the visual of the comic book to life, but not always. I liked the giant visual projections, though the one with all the small television sets (sorry to anyone who hasn’t seen this train wreck I just can’t describe that scene) was a little too like “Max Headroom” for my taste. I also liked SOME of the dancing. I love dance, and watching how people move, so for me this is a very important element. Some of it was good, but lots sucked in terms of choreography. The sad thing is that they had good dancers. But seriously, in 1985 – the year in which that music was stuck – most of those dancers were either babies or weren’t alive yet. I give them credit for doing their best to “sell it” to a crap soundtrack. The same can be said for the actors. They did the best they could with the bullshit they were given. And the women who play M.J. and Arachne are good singers. With luck, someone important will notice them and put them in a decent play.
I could continue ad infinitum, so let it suffice to say the second act HAS NO PLOT. You are totally right in saying that the only way to salvage this horror is to return to the comic books for inspiration, fire Bono, try to pull Julie Taymor out of her ego-trip and rewrite the entire script.
Folks should only spend the money on this if, like me, they have a student discount that brings the tickets down to 1/3 the box-office price. They are worth that much for the laugh, because the dancing spider was probably the best laugh I’ll have all month.