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"Why All Geeks Should See SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, if possible..."


Hey folks, Harry here...   This did it.   It is imperative that I get to New York and see this.   I can imagine watching this with a state of wonder.   Like looking at an Alex Ross painting alive.   That's what I'm imagining now.   As someone that loves the Merry Marvel Marching Society song and all those other funky 70s songs.   I can totally imagine loving the shit out of this.   And I don't think I'm alone.



Hey man,  I know you don’t really cover theater here, but there’s never been such a geeky cool show like this in history, and I felt I had to tell my fellow readers just how badass it actually is:

When I first heard that they were seriously making a Spider-Man musical on Broadway, my first instinct, like everyone else in the world’s, was to laugh. It sounded like an SNL sketch. Just … no. Then it became Julie Taymor writing/directing with Bono and The Edge writing the music and lyrics and I thought shit, Julie Taymor? I’m not her biggest fan but she has serious visual flair and she’s smart. What did she see in Spider-Man? I found an interview with her and found out she’s a true fan, and she challenged herself to create a show that would not just be one Spider-Man story but encompass the whole “experience” of 40 years of rich history. And she said that once Peter Parker became Spider-Man he would not be singing, so that was assuring.

I was given tickets to last night’s preview as a Christmas gift. The Spider-Man previews have become a big story in New York, there’s been stories in the paper almost daily about the technical problems, overinflated budget, previews being extended and extended, actors injuring themselves; one guy broke like seven bones, seriously. I’d read some bad early reviews, but also read that Taymor had been furiously re-writing the script day by day to fix story problems, and even the music was being re-written constantly.

A producer came out and explained to the audience that normally they’d do very early previews in another, smaller city before coming to the big stage in New York but that there is no other theater that this show can be performed on so we get to be guinea pigs. He warned us that there was a possibility things could be stopped at any time and a voice might direct actors over loudspeakers, but this was I think the 30-something’th preview so all should go smooth (there were no stops).

As he left and the lights dimmed, the biggest question still looming in my mind was do we really need this? We have the movies, a still-in-print comic, shows, video games, etc. … is a Broadway musical necessary for me to see?

About thirty minutes later, Spider-Man was swinging over the audience’s heads, having a chicken fight with the Green Goblin, punching and throwing each other in the air. Suddenly Spider-Man flew down to the ground and landed with a thud 3 feet away from where I was sitting. He tapped a guy on the shoulder and asked if he had any change, then shot back up into the air and jumped on TOP of the flying Green Goblin. And my question was answered, yes this is completely necessary.

If nothing else at all about the show was good, then watching the flying action scenes would still be worth the price of admission. The stunt work is breathtaking. Spidey shoots off the ground and flies through the air with grace, landing on balconies, onto the first floor aisles, swinging across the theater. He bounces off the walls and ceiling of his bedroom. He fights people in the air. All right in front (or above) you. And it’s fucking legit.

The show begins with four teenage geeks (3 boys and 1 Asian chick) geeking out over Spider-Man and they fantasize about writing the greatest Spider-Man story ever. This leads them to discussing what makes Spidey so great in the first place, and then we’re introduced to Peter Parker. Parker was played by Reeve Carney, who is also the lead in Taymor’s new film, The Tempest. He actually looked almost identical to that new picture of Andrew Garfield as Parker, and he played the character with classic nerdiness. In a huge sequence he gets beat on by bullies then has an awkward walk home with Mary Jane. The set turns into their two houses side-by-side and they simultaneously enter and get into fights with their families, Mary Jane because her father doesn’t care about her, Peter because his grandparents care too much about him. The dialogue goes back and forth between the two scenes simultaneously, perfectly timed with the music and ends with an epic ballad of both wishing they were someone else. It’s powerful stuff.

The rest of the first act is basically the origin story with the Green Goblin, sans Harry (he does not appear in the show), broken up by the four geeks from the beginning coming out every so often and discussing the philosophies of Spider-Man. Was the spider-bite fate or chance? Is Peter really special or not? It’s actually really good dialogue and shows real love for the character. Every scene from the origin, from Peter getting bitten to him waking up in his bedroom with super powers to the wrestling match and Uncle Ben’s death, working for the Bugle, becoming Spider-Man and the rise of the Green Goblin is told in epically choreographed symphony. The sets are beautiful and enormous and always changing, and feel like a living comic book. J. Johan Jameson is captured perfectly. Peter fights bullies and nabs bank robbers.

In the first act’s finale, the set transforms into an enormous bird’s eye view of the city. And when I say bird’s eye, I mean a huge Chrysler building stretches out from the very back of the stage towards the audience on a 90 degree angle, with the back of the stage becoming the street far below, complete with tiny cars in traffic. It is the most amazing fucking set I have ever seen in my life. Spider-Man and Green Goblin have an insane aerial fight over this backdrop, fighting over top the audience, springing all over the theater. Holy shit, I just can’t even explain how awesome it was. The first act is basically perfect.

The second act was a little shakier. Peter can’t make time for Aunt May or more specifically, Mary Jane, which drives him to throw away his costume and give up being Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a massive blackout hits New York City, and the Sinister Six are introduced, comprised of Carnage, Electro, Kraven, The Lizard, a sweet supervillain the Asian chick creates called Swiss Miss (think a human swiss army knife), Swarm, who comes out after one of the geeks proclaims that you could make a supervillain out of anything, even a Nazi Sympathizer entirely composed of bees (who is also an actual spider-man villain), plus a revived Green Goblin, all led by another new female villain called Arachne. Sound a little overstuffed? It is, but they are mostly just shown terrorizing the city in the background while Peter, happy even living in the dark as long as its with Mary Jane, comes to accept the responsibility of his powers. It’s all a huge glorious montage, done in epic tribute to the rich history of Spider-Man.

My biggest complaint was that the final battle of the second act was a little anti-climatic and not nearly as exciting as the Green Goblin fight in act 1, but it does have some cool wall-climbing by Peter with his mask off (so you knew it was really Reeve Carney. At the end about 8 Spider-Man’s in suit came out to take a bow, the real stars of the show). Also, the four geeks get a little lost towards the end of the show and I would have liked to have seen more of their discussion as the story progressed. Overall though, I actually really loved the story and the grandeur with which it was told.

Bono and The Edge were actually sitting behind two of my friends at the show, constantly taking notes throughout it. The songs ar en’t the most memorable, but almost all are actually quite good, mostly heavy rock ballads, and a theme that I still have stuck in my head (I think it’s actually a more iconic theme than Elfman’s). The lyrics definitely feel a little U2 at times, but it kinda works, never gets too corny like I was afraid of.

The sets are simply unbelievable, beautiful and flowing and epic and totally comic-book. Julie Taymor’s greatest skill as a director is the way she integrates the characters and scenes into these sets, even making the entire theater part of it.

The show has the most inflated budget in Broadway history (over $65 million now) and I’ve heard that so far pre-sales are not doing so hot, so who knows how long this will even last, but I’m telling you, if your a Spider-Man fan, even remotely, and you can make it to New York, don’t miss this shit. Everyone in the theater walked out with huge grins slapped across their faces. All I could keep thinking was, this fucking blows 3D out of the water. I’ve never ever seen a Broadway show anything like this, and probably never will again (until I see this a second time once previews are over and the final show comes out)


If you use this, you could call me Guy Who Saw The Spider-Man Musical

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:40 a.m. CST

    This is why I just love being a geek


    A review that makes me feel committed to seeing SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:49 a.m. CST

    Give me a break...

    by Grasscutter

    None of this even remotely sounds good. Clearly a plant to squeeze a few more bucks out of this particular disaster. The shit with the kids and imagining the "greatest Spider-man story ever?" Seriously? I call bullshit.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:52 a.m. CST

    I hope the budget issues cause them to film it...

    by Jaka a very high quality with about 20 cameras for a beautiful blu-ray release. Because I can say for 100% certain that that is the only way I'll ever see it.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:58 a.m. CST

    65 Million... for a freakin' PLAY?!?

    by fettitular

    Now that's what i'm fuckin' talking about! My interest is definitely piqued now...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:04 a.m. CST

    Coco Bongo

    by dynamicb

    If you have ever been to the Coco Bongo club in Playa del Carmen in know that they do something similar to this. It has alot of the aerials with the Goblin and Spidey. They also do a sweet Neo/Agents aerial which blew my hair back as well.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:12 a.m. CST


    by fettitular

    The first thing i saw when i looked at dynamicb's post was the word "aeriolas". Heh, i'm a perv.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:19 a.m. CST

    You're not a REAL GEEK unless...

    by justmyluck fork over to see Cirque du Soleil-meets-dude who tingles and shoots yards of webbing out of his wrists. The geek cult membership admissions here are getting embarrassing.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:25 a.m. CST


    by Ladonite

    I'm travelling up through South and Central America and heading up through the States to Canada, hopefully I can try and get a couple tickets to this when I'm in New York. You know, not being able to afford shit.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:33 a.m. CST

    Aint it the complete and total opposite of cool.

    by Stifler's Mom

    I don't care if it's Spider-Man. I don't care if it's Bono and The Edge. I don't care if it's Vic fucking Armstrong himself doing the stunts. The fact that this is a $65 million Julie Taymor BROADWAY MUSICAL takes all of the edge and cool off of the property. Let Disney rape and pillage their heros. This is a character and mythology that simply does NOT benefit from a BROADWAY MUSICAL interpretation, I don't care how big or shiny they make it. Harry, take a deep breath and try not to get swept up in hype for just once. And I'm NOT even a huge Spider-Man guy, I just can't wait for this fucking show to FAIL.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:34 a.m. CST


    by INWOsuxRED

    Doug Benson said this sucks. I trust that plant smoker more than I trust this plant.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:39 a.m. CST

    Are you shitting me?

    by LargoJr

    Telling folks they need to go see this is probably the most pathetic grab for status yet for this site. SHEESH! This 'play' was poorly conceived from the very start, and has become nothing more then a bloated monstrosity that only exists because the people responsible for it are such egotistical fucktards they absolutely refuse to admit their mistakes and call this shit QUITS.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:40 a.m. CST

    Can't wait for the "Watchmen" musical.

    by ReportAbuse

    In the meantime, I'll wait 'til someone sneaks a camera into a showing of this Spider-Man fiasco and posts it on YouTube. 'Cause I sure ain't flying across country and then spending upwards of $100 for a ticket to see this thing.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:44 a.m. CST

    BTW.. I'm calling 'BULLSHIT' on the writer, defenitly a plant

    by LargoJr

    No way an 'Off The Street' observer is going to know who the fuck Julie Taymor is.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:09 a.m. CST

    'once Peter Parker became Spider-Man he would not be singing'

    by PreciousRoy

    The Raimi Spider-Man and now apparently the Taymor Spide-Man both miss out on something important: Peter is a thoughtful, shy kid, but as Spidey, he is a world-class wise-ass. In fact, a lot of what made him great even when he had no training was that he had a wimp's large store of unused put-downs to enrage and unbalance his enemies.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:20 a.m. CST

    I saw this too and it's not as good as the review claims.

    by Bungion Boy

    The flying sequences and fights over the audience are very very impressive and cool. Just about everything else is a disaster. I understand that this person saw it more recently than me, but it really doesn't sound like the overall content has changed.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:41 a.m. CST

    spiderman: fall on my head

    by vulturess

    hey spidey break 8 legs.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Give me a fucking break

    by lock67ca

    Just when I thought this site,, and Harry, couldn't get any worse, you run this obvious plant piece for the goddamn Spiderman musical that everyone with half a fucking brain in his head is laughing at? Fucking pathetic. How much money did you get for this one?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:28 a.m. CST

    But is...

    by fettitular

    THE VULTRESS in it??

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:35 a.m. CST

    Peter's Granparents?

    by Urge to Kill

    YOU MEAN AUNT MAY AND UNCLE BEN??? Clearly this was written by someone who has no love or knowledge of Spider-Man, even though there were just three huge freaking movies about him that half the fucking planet went and saw.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Definitely a plant but.......

    by Righteous Brother

    I'm strangely curious about this show, especially after hearing about the arial fight scenes. Maybe if its a success it will make it to the west end in the UK.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:51 a.m. CST


    by Superturd

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:56 a.m. CST

    Review of the Triffids

    by James Westfall

    This muscial's going to get someone killed.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6 a.m. CST

    Spider-Douche: Turn On The FAIL

    by NeonFrisbee

    I dunno. I can think of a lot of other ways to waste my money. Preferably on something that isn't monumentally stupid.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:14 a.m. CST

    careful wording

    by jameskpolk

    Harry says he "can imagine loving this". I can imagine the same thing. Sadly, all evidence suggests that imagination will far surpass the real product. I would also like to add my voice to the "how much did they pay you to post this" chorus.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Harry, Why bother with the geek sentiment here?

    by GravitysRainbow

    I imagine you've read about all the injuries. Actors leaving. Horrible reviews, nonsensical plot. 65 milki

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:24 a.m. CST

    Sorry typing from a phone

    by GravitysRainbow

    65 million dollar budget. Why does this make you feel good? I'm not trying to be negative and buy into the bad press, but if something I've said thus far is untrue, let me know. This appears to be a troubled production (anything with a villain named SwissMiss would) and has no sign of geek joy.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Is a flying spiderman in a theater worth the risk of someones life?

    by GravitysRainbow

    I don't think so.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:31 a.m. CST


    by koie

    This article is a joke right? Since when does AintItCool news support shyte like this?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Would LOVE to see it but unless it comes to the UK

    by HarryBlackPotter

    West End, won't be able to see it. Yeah, millions and millions went into it so you should be giving an AMAZING show. And I can't believe the winey bitches moaning about this. Seriously, this show looks f**kin' awesome. Some people are seriously broken at birth.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Broadway meets Marvel meets Las Vegas!

    by HarryBlackPotter

    My kinda show!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:50 a.m. CST

    The title

    by darthsynn

    What the fuck does "turn off the dark" mean? I've driven myself crazy doing Google searches on this.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:50 a.m. CST

    Not usually this negative, but...

    by Arkhangelsk

    PLANT!!! Fuck, all my years here and I never posted anything outright negative, but this does it. Julie Taymor is a hack (unless re-imagining a Shakespeare play as a 90's Smashing Pumpkins video is your thing...). The Edge and Bono are the most overrated musicians on the planet, and with an ego to match. Then, these guys spend 65 fucking millions on a musical that has so little care for its performers that 4, count 'em 4 of them get major injuries. Harry, I love you and I love this place, but anyone spending any money on this is not a geek, but rather a mark. And only a plant would try to spin constant re-writing of the show and songs as something positive.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Sorry typing from a phone <---Why?

    by The StarWolf

    Couldn't you wait a few minutes to do it from a computer?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:53 a.m. CST

    'people' don't write like that.


    i'd rather ride the spider man ride at universal studios than see a musical with wires. this thing has Waiting for Guffman written all over it.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:58 a.m. CST

    surprised this concept was even greenlight


    it's going to risk hurting the chances of the new Spidey reboot. Stupid americans are already going to be confused about the new cast, throw this in, and spidey is officially a mess.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:02 a.m. CST

    This sounds so batshits crazy...

    by rbatty024

    that I would probably go see it, so long as I don't have to pay for it.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:03 a.m. CST

    This show was absolutely awful

    by j wein

    As someone who actually paid to see this show.... ITS AWFUL! The plot is ridiculous (seriously a super villain fashion show opens act 2, The lizards costume design is literally a inflatable looking dinosaur pool toy and swiss miss is a total throw away character as she is not at all necessary to the plot, also taymor trying to inject greek mythology into the show just complicates everything else going on, also there is a musical number involving spiders stealing shoes..... yes you read that correctly.) the music is forgettable and even though the show cost 65 million dollars you would not be able to tell from the set design which looks extremely cheap at times and while the flying scenes are kind of cool they do not justify paying 95 bucks to sit in the balcony. Please if you are a true comic fan stay away from this mess of a piece of theater.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:10 a.m. CST

    I smell....

    by Dead_Geek

    ... a plant on this site to promote that piece of sh*t show. I'm friends with on of the stunt men that got hurt on this "Amazing" show. I is a work of a egomaniac called Julie Taymor. It will hopefully close very soon before more people are hurt.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:14 a.m. CST

    Tickets for next Thursday.

    by AshkeNasty

    I'm from NYC and it's true, this is one of the biggest stories in the city because of how much of a shit show the early stages of the production have been. We were also given tickets as a gift and were completely stoked simply for the potential to witness disaster. I have some friends that have seen the show that said when technical glitches happened the audience started applauding - so the show started to take on an almost Rocky Horror quality. The worst thing this show could be is "just alright". I hope it's either the best most ambitious thing I've ever seen or the Hindenburg of stage productions. I was happy to read a positive review. I'm pretty easy to please as long as they take the character seriously and have respect for the 50 years worth of story telling. Anyway - here's to hoping.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:17 a.m. CST

    god forbid they try something different

    by Monolith_Jones

    The nerds will always fight against it. And forgive me if I don't take my cue on whats cool from someone who's handle comes from American fucking Pie. A Broadway musical is somehow blasphemy but they'll accept month after month of moronic lowest common denominator bullshit in the comics. Harry, I don't know how you do it. I've learned about some great things coming to this site, but sometimes I feel like I need to check my soul at the door.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:20 a.m. CST


    by hst666

    Not saying the writer wasn't a plant, but lots of people know who Julie Taymor is. Between Titus and that Beatles film and now the Tempest. This person also apparently lives in NYC, so I would assume his knowledge of film would be a little more sophisticated than your average American's

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:51 a.m. CST

    Hmmm. The producers must be desperate.


    If they're crawling to Harry to spread "buzz."

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:01 a.m. CST

    hst666 dont forget The Lion King

    by Monolith_Jones

    That's what she's really known for, and Frida. You are correct though. Accusing the reviewer of being a plant for knowing her name is more than a little ruducilous.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:01 a.m. CST

    The correct answer is...

    by CatVutt

    "Because you might get to see someone die...LIVE!"

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:18 a.m. CST

    hopefully they can get you a front row seat harry...

    by Six Demon Bag

    so if any actors fall they will land on you, ya big fluffy pillow!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Signed up just to reply

    by Fred

    I got tickets for my son's (8th) birthday. We're both spidey fans. We took the whole extended family and we were all blown away. The the second half does drag a little and the music is only okay, but the first half was worth the price of admission. I think even the second half would have been great if wasn't for the expectation of the first. The aerial sequences were amazing and I hope it doesn't shut down because I want to seee it again in a year or so.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Swaaaaaaarm! Swaaaaaaarm!

    by skycrapper

    Swarm is in this! Ha! That might be worth the price of admission right there.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST


    by JBouganim1

    Oh wait this isn't the machete vhs contest that fox was giving away

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Upwards of 300 bucks for a PREVIEW?

    by smittylancearthur

    I'll pass, thanks. I'm intrigued- just not that much.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Greek Mythlogy

    by enderandrew

    Did they drop the whole Greek mythology angle? And I don't think you need the play-within-a-play angle of kids inventing the story. And ultimately a musical is judged by the music. Audiences might see a show once for the stunts, but if a musical is going to have a long run and make back their money, people expect music. I like U2, but not one reviewer has said the music is particularly memorable or great. Several reviewers have said the music is particularly bad.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Irresponsible Journalism AICN

    by Sirmausalot

    I've you've been following the press, it might not be long before someone is KILLED during the production. Tony winner Alice Ripley said as much in one of her tweets. They have set up dangerous stunts that clearly cannot be performed 8 shows a week. The injuries include 1 serious concussion that eventually caused the actress to leave the show, a guy with two broken wrists, the recent fall leaving him with a fractured skull and many other injuries. This show should have been conceived SAFELY and it is irresponsible to promote it in any way, shape, form on this or any other site as it will lead to more of the same in this show or in another. Safety for performers FIRST! Boycott this show. If you see it, you are supporting irresponsible people.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I'm Spidey, Spidey, and I'm mighty, mighty...

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    ...I'm here to fighty for what's righty, righty!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I want to see it to see the cast get hurt.

    by BilboRing

    I heard it's not that great of a show but at least the cast keeps getting really hurt so that's fun.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:49 a.m. CST

    All this 'geek' talk...

    by DW

    seems to have opened the doors to discuss anything 'cool' because now it's 'cool' to geek on anything, even musicals. And of course, 'plant' - noun 6. Anyone assigned to behave as a member of the public during a covert operation (as in a police investigation). 7. A person, placed amongst an audience, whose role is to cause confusion, laughter, write reviews to movie websites etc. Enjoy the free seats, Harry!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Are there even any cast members left alive for this show?!

    by Mike_D

    they keep falling down

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9 a.m. CST

    darthsynn : 'Turn off the Dark'

    by Larry Sellers

    Is a play on 'turn off the light'. I didn't get it at first either. But I'll probably never understand how it actually relates to the actual musical because I'll never get to see this. In defense of the musical...this is probably going to pave the way for a lot more 'risky' productions. It's the first to try this 3D theater bullshit. Doesn't mean I condone Taymor's disregard for her actors' well being.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    $65 mil and 4 injuries later....

    by Huckshine_Saints

    Come on, it that really responsible to promote? Harry did you read about what's really happening with this show?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Disney had nothing to do with this BTW

    by Larry Sellers

    This has been in production since 2007. Disney acquired Marvel in 2009. Quit acting like Marvel has never mistreated its characters. As far as I can tell, Disney has a far better track record in the film department. This 'ewww Disney cooties' crap is asinine.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:15 a.m. CST

    You are a true geek only......


    .....if you shell out $300 to encourage the perpetuation of a hazardous work environment.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Saw it, here's my take...

    by rotch

    The reviewer is clearly doesn't know his stuff. I flew from Mexico and paid allot for tickets. I went to the preview as a big Julie Taymor fan and a huge Spider-man fan. I don't care about U2. My first big issue with the musical is that clearly Taymor doesn't know Spidey mythology and probably has never read a single comic book issue. Her first act, the highlight of the show, is clearly based on the first Raimi movie. Not that it's wrong, but it does feel old. The first act sort of lays ground for the audience and allows Taymor to bring her personal vision on the second act... where things really go wrong. Her take is so muddled that our reviewer didn't understand the second act. The main villain is Arachne, who creates a blackout and illusions of all the villains quoted to bring Peter out of retirement. Those villains are truly in jail and the Goblin stays dead. When this ruse doesn't work out, Arachne simply kidnaps Mary Jane and forces Peter to dress up as Spider-man. Oh, and all the fights don't even take place on stage, they're recorded. The whole thing was a huge letdown. Taymor tries to bring a greek tragedy feel to the thing (think Ang Lee's Hulk) but in the end she ends up with a Schumacher size turd. I kind of admire her ambitions, but sadly it just doesn't work out. The rest of the cast and crew just don't help her out. The songs by Bono and The Edge are just terrible. The actors too, specially Carney, who turns Peter into a huge jerk who's mean to both Aunt May and Uncle Ben for no reason at all. But my biggest disappointment comes from costume designer Eiko Ishioka, who's work I truly admire. She did the costumes for Mishima, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Tarsem's The Fall. I truly consider her a genius. But here she fails. There's no new take or anything creative. Must villains look like theme-park costumes. A true let down. In conclusion this is a mess. No true Spider-man fan or geek that Harry calls for will probably enjoy it. If it were cheaper, I would recommend it as a train-wreck experience. But it's not. Fans should really skip this one. And I also call bullshit on the writer. 100% plant.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:21 a.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:24 a.m. CST

    I hope Bono loses money

    by Mr Lucas

    I hope that swindler Bonio (check how much of Red's funds get to where they're supposed to) has money invested and that he loses loads. Not that he'd notice, the sanctimonious arse.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:24 a.m. CST

    irresponsible? relax drama queens

    by Monolith_Jones

    The actor who fell 30 feet? He said he's "overjoyed" to be part of the production. If any actor feels unsafe they can leave, as some have.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Can't wait for high schools to try to put this on

    by spacehog

    Forget Broadway, forget the West End. What I want to see is incompetent children tossing each other around on crude wiring systems and getting killed in front of their horrified parents.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:31 a.m. CST

    the only irresponsible thing is paying 300 a ticket

    by Monolith_Jones


  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Yo, I'm no plant

    by freak2thec0re

    I wrote the review. And I got a couple hundred posts in the Zone, probably many of them hating on Sony movies (who also produced this show). Spider-Man 3 sucked balls, they should have let Raimi do whatever the hell he wanted, there you go. The show is kick-ass, though, for real

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:34 a.m. CST

    No thanks...

    by Philvis

    I'm not big on watching people get seriously injured or even possibly I'd rather see an edited video on my local news.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:35 a.m. CST

    P.S. Harry...

    by Philvis

    Harry, what's with the lack of news/updates on AICN lately? It's like a ghost town.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    I had thought about going to see this...

    by FusionAddict

    ...until I realized I had more important things to spend my money on, like having a creepy clown shove a rabid weasel down my pants.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Nice to see you going back to your ROOTS.

    by FusionAddict

    Maybe once everyone LEAVES, it will STEM the tide of insults toward you. But now you see the FRUITS of your text, will you remain VEGETATIVE? Dude, you're either a plant or you really need to get out more.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Quick! Alert Al Gore!

    by SutureSelf

    "the final battle of the second act was a little anti-climatic"

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Review lost my by calling Uncle Ben & Aunt May

    by moorE12

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Review lost me by calling Uncle Ben & Aunt May Grandparents

    by moorE12

    Also, you are telling me that the Sinister Six don't actually show up on stage, but prerecorded footage??? And most of the fighting is prerecorded?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    I am seing it February 1st

    by slone13

    And "Guy Who Saw The Spider-Man Musical" is incorrect about pre-sales not doing so hot. The tickets are getting snapped up like crazy and getting scalped on craigslist for $500 a pop. Whether this is still going to be the case in a few months is another story altogether, and will ultimately determine the fate of this show.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:29 a.m. CST


    by rotch

    Yep. They walk on stage once or twice and 98% of the fights are pre-recorded. The other 2% are on a pretty dorky faux-slo-mo choreography.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Seems more like a Universal Studios ride or something

    by jimmy_009

    Not sure I could stomach this.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Ugh... Time to move on...

    by NoSmellNoTell

    I hardly ever comment on this site but this is too much. This play is by all accounts nothing but a disaster for everyone involved. It looks as though it will be one of the biggest fails in Broadway history and you are telling people that “if you’re a geek you should see it” when YOU haven’t even seen it. Your “you have to do this if you’re a geek” and “you’re only a real geek if…” shtick has just gone too far. Nobody should feel that they have to see this bastardization of play to be validated as a geek. There are so many great movies out there that you haven’t even mentioned on this site (Hell, even The Fighter and Black Swan which were deservedly on your Top 10 list never got a proper review) and great Broadway plays that people that visit this site would love (the South Park guys have one called The Book of Mormon coming out this spring) that it is unbelievable that you would waste a post telling people that they HAVE to go see this thing if they want to be considered a “true geek”. Over the last two months I’ve seen a steeper decline on this site than any TV I’ve ever watch. When that happens I usually stop watching and I think the same standards should be held for sites like these. Its actually quite sad…

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST


    by gingy

    TOO LONG!!! DIDN'T READ!! And therefore my default assumption is plant.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Thanks rotch

    by moorE12

    I would never see this show because I would have to travel out of country and such, but I used to imagine part of the charm of the show would be seeing these characters live on stage. I have read a couple of reviews for this and I am surprised that none of them mentioned the fact that the Sinister Six don't appear on stage together for any significant amount of time.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    This sounds like a total train wreck

    by Exterminans

    Which isn't surprising considering Taymor directed another train-wreck called "Across the Universe". God damn that movie was fucking awful.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:02 a.m. CST

    moore, the sinister six appear in costume

    by freak2thec0re

    and together on stage many times, as well as in the video footage, done like news broadcasts showing them destroy NYC ...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:02 a.m. CST

    you even see Connor transform into the Lizard live

    by freak2thec0re

    in a very creative and funny way

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Second Act

    by kitkats99

    The second act is "shakier"? The second act is the most abysmal piece of shit I have ever seen. It literally makes no sense whatsoever. While the first half is fine, the second half needs to be COMPLETELY overhauled and re-written. Its funny to me that they spent so much money and then had so many tech issues, but the story fails based on simple story telling. In my opinion, they should cut the second act completely and add some of the better bits to the first act and make it a one-act 1 hour and 50 minute show with no intermission.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Obviously, this is the one guy in the audience

    by Subtitles_Off

    who forgot to take a safety helmet into the theater. He got clocked with a projectile shard of SwissMiss, and it knocked him fukken goofy. But, whatever, I'm cool with all the geeks having to go see it. Let's have a special Geek Matinee. Fill the place. Balconies just dripping with Marvel zombie asshats. That could be the day the thing goes Final Countdown. Spandexed splatters of Julie Taymor's ruined future, blended with gooey geek, plopping all over the tourists on Broadway. We can blame it on terrorists.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Harry is always wrong about everything, always

    by Klytus_I.m_Bored

    Remember when he defended Bale during the Bale Meltdown thing? Remember when he gave the Godzilla remake a glowing review? Remember when he gave every goddamn Star Wars prequel a glowing review? Remember every time he typed "giggle" and "squeeeee?" What the fuck is wrong with this guy?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST

    NYC Always needs more plants NT

    by Craig2574

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:23 a.m. CST

    A theatre geek here...

    by Mike Connor

    Disclaimer: I haven't seen this show and never will. Julie Taymor doesn't get theatre. She's brilliantly creative, inventive, eclectic, but all she knows is spectacle. She doesn't understand how the theatre gets awesome. It happens through the suspension of disbelief. That means the audience does it, not the performers. Skilled puppetry is magical. Mask-work is magical. Mime is magical. Perspective scenery is also magical, though less. And of course, good acting is magical. All the sorcery you can do in a theatre gets its magical power through metaphor, an imaginative leap. That means for good live performance to happen, the production team has to leave room for the audience to use their imaginations; and you have to open a link to the performers. Too much spectacle gets in the way. In good theatre, we don't care about the actor. We care about the character. It doesn't matter whether the performer is executing extraordinary feats of athleticism suspended in the air in front of a beautiful set, it matters that the character is swinging precariously on webs slung between Manhattan skyscapers, racing to save his true love. All you need in order to tell that story is a performer, an audience, and space between them. "Spider Man: Turn off the Fun", or whatever it's called, just puts too much distracting nonsense between the performers and the audience. No one has to see this show to know it was always going to be bad. If you're spending $65M (enough to fund a world class theatre company for at least a year or two) on a piece of theatre, you're doing it wrong. Only bad theatre costs that much. Those dumb producers are paying through their teeth to make up for all the imagination they're not getting from the audience. Unfortunately for them, you can't buy belief. Also, from a common sense, making money point of view, what the hell is this thing doing in a theatre? Touring is a big source of income for musicals and yet Spider Man only fits one venue in the world? If they'd designed it for a circus tent, they could have toured it anywhere. These are some very foolish producers.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Broadway INJURIES

    by BranMakMorn

    To be fair, lots of calls to shut down has been unfairly directed towards the injuries, but injuries happen in almost every shows history. The WICKED star fell thru a trap door elevator shaft and broke ribs ... she wasn't even doing a stunt, Even years ago, Martin on wires slammed into a wall & broke her arm in PETER PAN, numerous injuries are part of Broadway, even compound fractures. Do not recall anyone ever asking those other shows to stop, nor Raimi when the stuntman for the first film shattered his leg during a stunt. Story concerns are a different issue that can be improved, that's what PREVIEWS are for. If you look at the history of SPAMALOT, it changed significantly before it opened a few weeks later. However, the sudden "concern" for Broadway safety has more to do with the high profile subject matter. Accidents are horrible in ANY play, that's why they fix them. Anyone know the injury report for CIRQUE? Or for Tony Jaa films? How about the Bolshoi?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:25 a.m. CST

    My TOTD Review

    by BlackNacht

    I have also seen the show and I have to say, while the reviewer did leave a few key things out, he is correct in saying that it was the most batshit insane spectacle one could hope for in a live theater setting. It is genuinely VERY impressive to behold. The story is the only thing that is kind of holding this thing back as it is a more than tad goofy. But this is fucking Spider-Man on fucking Broadway, so... Basically, it's the four geeks telling the Spider-Man story as they see it. The girl, the only one with any real brains we are led to believe, introduces the idea that the ancient spider goddess Arachne was really behind Spidey's powers. From here - basic origin story: Peter gets beat up at school, Aunt May and Uncle Ben don't "get" him, He loves MJ, He gets bit at Osborne's lab during a field trip, He fights Bonesaw (an inflatable monster man...really), Osborne tests his military grade chemicals on himself to become GG, Uncle Ben dies, Spidey foils crime around the city and eventually battles GG, defeats him, JJJ thinks he is a nuisance, etc. Then the kids talk about what other villains he could fight and basically conjure up The Sinister Six and have them go through an "Ugly Pageant" to see who is the most bad ass. Stupid but kind of fun. As they tell the tale, Arachne shows up in more and more impressive outfits, complete with working spider legs, until finally she breaks out from "the myth" and comes into reality (the reality the kids are telling, i guess? I was never really clear on that) and decides that Spider-Man MUST be hers and no one elses. This is where it gets weird. Arachne then brings the Sinister Six to life in order to terrorize the city during a blackout so that Spider-Man MUST show himself. When he is perfectly content eating beans out of a can with MJ, Arachne goes so crazy that she...forces JJJ to print a story that Spider-Man will respond to so she can...have sex with him...i think. All the while, she and her super hot spider-ladies sing a song about shoes. When that doesn't work, she just kidnaps MJ. They fight. The end. So yeah, the story is silly. But the music is actually cool at times and the main theme is extremely memorable bordering on powerful. The sets are very well thought out and exciting to see in motion. The ridiculous costumes (in a good way - only the Lizard is truly embarrassing) and high-wire action just add more life to the thing and make this a very special thing to see in person. I was EXTREMELY skeptical going into this, as anyone would be, but it was, in fact, a pretty good time. Aside from the $8 dollar beer.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    "Remember when he defended Bale during the Bale Meltdown thing"

    by MattmanReturns

    Eh, he wasn't wrong about that. Lighting guy was a douche. McG doesn't have the personality to control his set. I'll give Harry that one.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Proof why girls shouldn't write super-heroes

    by cookylamoo

    (Except for Gail Simone) Like the girls who joins the tree comic fans in the show, Taymor drags in all kinds of extraneous bullshit. Scenes that should take a minute drag out into long costume parades and things that are important to the characters pass by in the wink of an eye. This show is thirty percent Spidy and seventy percent "Gee aren't I a great costume designer" It all comes of like "Marvel on Ice" except performed in the air. But what the hell, like Mary Poppins, the show is critic proof.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Another fruit from the payola plant

    by daggor

    I thought they had stopped producing fruit for the winter. Aaaah, Harry's gotta ... well ... you know.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST

    This thing is the laughing stock of New York.

    by ColonelFatheart

    Even when you consider the Bloomberg administration's laughable response to that snowstorm last week. Amateurs.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Well it does need the money

    by Norm

    I've heard it needs to run for 14 years to break even. As long as one of the actors doesn't break a neck falling into the orchestra pit...

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I admit, though, to being intrigued with this show.

    by ColonelFatheart

    It seems like a true, once-in-a-decade creative disaster. I love it when good or interesting artists fail on such a grand scale, and not just for the schadenfreude. When it's this ridiculous and ambitious, there's gotta be something intriguing about it. But you won't see me paying for a seat at this feast of hubris. Maybe if I got some free passes. Harry, you surely have some coming, why not send some my way?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 11:55 a.m. CST

    by Sirmausalot

    I'm sure the actor is overjoyed. It's a huge paycheck and a lot of great, physical work. Actors and stuntmen love to take the work they can get. That doesn't mean the director and the rest of the production get out of their responsibility to create a safe workplace. That's why all of the inspectors are down there. It's why people can get charged with CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE for asking people to work in an unsafe environment.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by LargoJr

    AP: With the lackluster response despite almost herculean effort to generate buzz and interest, the shows creators have decided to shut down production for 6 weeks for what was refereed to as a 'retooling'. The New affort includes a name change... 'Spiderman: Turn Off The Life Support' ALL of the principle actors will be replaced with corpses, with the lead being none other then.. ZOMBIE BRUCE PALTROW!!! Quite the feather in their cap I must say. An ALL Zombie, all UNDEAD review, with dancing, eating of living extras, decomposition, and the stench only a theater full of rotting meat can provide! Not since Julie brought us 'Bambie: To The Abattoir' have I been this excited. I've seen the preliminary treatments, and I must say, the scene where Peter commits incest with Aunt May's corpse in order to reanimate her is truly touching. It was so emotionally charged I threw up in my mouth (just a little). I HIGHLY recommend you see this.... and wear steak sauce, preferably A-1

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    I suggest the radical notion of a secondary bungie.

    by UltraTron

    One that wraps around the main bungie providing an aesthetic that mirrors the look of the webs from the comic and provides another cable in case the main one snaps for no reason. That poor guy won't ever dive again

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:12 p.m. CST


    by PantherMatt

    Holy shit. I have never said this about anyone who's submitted to this site before, but I cannot, in good conscience, let this go unannounced: This dude is the biggest PLANT you've ever had! Geeks should absolutely NOT see this show (especially at $150.00 per ticket!!). It is terrible. Terrible.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Funniest thing in the show

    by cookylamoo

    Is how Bono tries to infuse Norman Osborn with his own eco-consciousness.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST

    How is this no different than Universal Studios?

    by Bartleby T. Scrivener

    I grew up going to these kind of stunt shows all the time. They even pulled audience members and turned them into monsters.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:31 p.m. CST

    What's "irresponsible" about recommending this show?

    by Michael

    Because stunt performers have gotten hurt? I say it's no less irresponsible to recommend someone go see the circus for the high-wire act, or go to a football game, or a gymnastic competition. I don't mean to make light of any of the performer injuries. Someone getting hurt is serious stuff, and nobody wants to see that happen. However, there is risk involved in doing this kind of acrobatic work. It comes with the territory. The performers know and understand this. The guy who recently suffered the serious fall during a show, has no intention of suing the production or making a big cash grab. His assessment of the situation is that basically accidents happen in this line of work. Why is the risk of danger in this show any less acceptable than many other forms of entertainment? For example, a LOT of film stuntmen and women have been seriously injured and KILLED over the years working on these stunt-tastic films that we all love to see. Was it worth it? Does it depend on the perceived "quality" of the final film? Should we do away with ANY form of entertainment with any inherent danger factor for the performer? I'm simply asking.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Ha ha

    by MikeTheSpike

    I know everyone on the Internet is pretty quick to scream "plant!" whenever a positive review of a questionable movie (or, uh, Broadway musical) shows up, but... shit, this could not be any more obvious. Who in the world would ever say "I thought shit, Julie Taymor? I’m not her biggest fan but she has serious visual flair and she’s smart. What did she see in Spider-Man?", among quite a few other red-flag sentences? And Harry, you know it as well as we do. It reflects poorly.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Whoa, the reviewer shat on Spider-Man 3 (which has nothing to do with this musical)!! What an uncompromising, obviously non-fake guy!!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:04 p.m. CST

    They should of run with the Batman musical

    by hallmitchell

    Written by Jim Steinman (BAT OUT OF HELL)

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    ultratron that guy WILL be diving again

    by Monolith_Jones

    He wants to return as soon as possible. He places no blame on the production.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    As big of a fail as HD-DVD

    by ZombiKiller86

    So fuck this noise.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Nuclear Bomb Detonates During Rehearsal For 'Spider-Man' Musical

    by believe_it :D

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:38 p.m. CST

    could maybe go see this with earplugs

    by smudgewhat

    can't stand the thought of listening to bono/edge songs voluntarily

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Once I mortgage my home...

    by mediaslobber

    ... I might be able to afford tickets

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Real nuclear bomb link

    by Mike Connor,18743/ Don't know where believe_it's link goes.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Sounds great! ...for me to poop on.

    by Mr. Waturi

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:48 p.m. CST


    by FusionAddict

    The problem is the production has had a lot of very obvious planning-related issues...things that should have been figured out in the concept phase, before $65 million was spent on it. I was a theater kid. And as all other fellow theater kids know, there is a clear factional divide between the "artists" and the "techies", of which I am proudly one of the latter. A production like this requires extensive technical planning and redundancy, but Taymor -- an "artist" -- is obsessed with the "look". So much time was spent on the costumes, sets and music that no one bothered to take the time to figure out the logistics and safety. The problem with your comparison to sports is that athletes are injured simply due to accidents as part of the competition. But their careers are more or less entirely in their hands. A stunt performer or acrobat's life depends on the knowledge, awareness and competence of the riggers and technicians that assemble and maintain their equipment. You brought up movies earlier...and yes, movie stuntmen have been severely injured, even killed. It does occasionally happen. But even on a movie set, if 4 major injuries happened in the course of 2 weeks, there would be heads rolling. But while a movie stuntman might have to do his routine for a few takes, a stage performer has to have everything go perfectly every time for many, many days in a row. The Spider-Man crew obviously do NOT have their shit together.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    mike connor & your "real" link to the onion

    by believe_it

    there's these handy things called URL shortener's -- they've only been around for years -- and sometimes even a website (say, the onion) has their own URL shortener (say, but a big THANK YOU for making the internet a safer place, moron.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 1:57 p.m. CST

    They need to sell about 650,000 tickets

    by ReportAbuse

    To make this thing break even more or less ... that's figuring an average of $100 per ticket. The Foxwoods has a capacity of about 1800 so they need about 360 sold-out shows to make it.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:03 p.m. CST



    You're not factoring in the costs of running the show on a day-to-day basis. Those days will add up.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST


    by Mike Connor

    I didn't know that websites have their own url shortening services. It's a good idea.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:12 p.m. CST

    "Why All Geeks Should See A SERBIAN FILM, if possible..."

    by MooseMalloy

    -- says Harry.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:25 p.m. CST

    The only way you'll get....


    my low brow ass to fork over cash to see a Broadway show is fare like this. Lived in New York, my entire life. Never been to a Broadway show. Spide might just change that.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    seems like a plant

    by _Venkman

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Drop $250.00 to see the death of a flying finocchio.

    by AzulTool


  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:20 p.m. CST

    I hate every ape I see...

    by Royston Lodge

    ...from chimpan-A to chimpan-Z.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Oooh, jedirob! You did it!

    by Subtitles_Off

    That asshole believe_it is going to call you names now!

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Harry, do your research

    by Mr. Marbles

    I live near NYC, and while I've not seen the play we've been hearing about it for months. The local critics not only panned it, they outright mocked it. According to others that have seen it, the play is a disaster of epic proportions; I've not heard one review that was even close to this one. The play has almost been closed a bunch of times due to accidents on stage where performers were seriously injured, so right now the only reason people are going to see it is to see if someone cracks their melon on stage. I would not pay to see this if the Edge and Bono were tag-teaming my junk while I watched.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Mr. Marbles!

    by Subtitles_Off

    You don't know where Edge or The Bono have been! Don't ever let them near your junk!

  • Seriously, people on the internet are complete morons when it comes to conspiracy ideas. Yes, rather than one person in the audience actually enjoying the show and sending in a review because he's a fan of both Spider-man and this website, it's much more likely that someone involved in the Broadway show decided that convincing the notoriously negative, far-flung readers of a film website that the show is good is what's going to turn around the production, and so crafted a fake review for the purpose. Thousands of people have seen this show now. You have to accept that, even if it were only 1% of the audience, some people watching it were going to like it enough to recommend it without needing to be paid.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 3:52 p.m. CST

    One thing they could cut....

    by cookylamoo

    Would be the five minutes of soldiers marching around the stage for no particular reason except to show Taymor can make padded shoulders. Then in the second act there's a dancing shoe number that could go. Taymore should gay-less.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:05 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Marbles

    Good safety tip! Besides, as soon as Bono sees how degraded the Edge is when working my junk, he would shed a crocodile tear, call a press conference with Amnesty International, and drop the F-bomb on live television. With those two, I'm better off servicing myself - which I would also rather do than drop a dime on this shitty Spiderman fiasco.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:11 p.m. CST

    of course people walking out of this will say they liked it..

    by Six Demon Bag

    after 300 bucks a pop, they are going to convince themselves, regardless if its shite, that it was worth it and it was actually good.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Mike

    by smittylancearthur

    I work for the third largest theatre company in San Diego. Our annual budget, for 5 shows and 2 extra Christmas shows, is 4 mil. As much as we're struggling, it kills me to know Spidey cranked out 65 mil. So many reasons I despise the thing without having seen it, and I've a pal in it. She loves it. Go figure.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST



    Because they are desperate for any kind of good buzz, and the easiest place to manufacture said buzz also happens to be a geek website.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:26 p.m. CST



    When its editor is notoriously easy to, erm, convince.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Close-minded schadenfreuders, all of you.

    by Shadow16nh

    How can you read this and not be at the least, intrigued (prohibitive ticket prices aside). Where do you get off scoffing at something as ambitious, dangerous & unprecedented as this?

  • Give me a fucking break. Stop hiding behind this "I love being a geek, I'm just so excited that I'm too earnest to bother with reality!" campaign, man up, and admit you let someone send you a plant review.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    No longer at the top of TOP NEWS, eh, Harry?


    This article has been firmly PLANTed deep within the second column.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:07 p.m. CST

    *TOP STORIES, that is.


  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Julie Taymor HAS FUCKING BALLS

    by Proman1984

    Is all I have to say.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 5:46 p.m. CST

    a more recent review

    by Mr. Marbles

    "Suddenly Spider-Man flew down to the ground and landed with a thud 3 feet away from where I was sitting. He tapped a guy on the shoulder and a paramedic..I have internal bleeding." Dat kinda shit shouldn't happen to the Spiderman.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:01 p.m. CST

    If I..

    by Bootskin

    ..painted a lump of my shit red & blue and covered it with webs, that wouldn't make it Spider-man. Same goes for this flying Schumacher-esque debacle. Taymor, stick to making weird trippy movies on the coat tails on the work of great musicians. Bono, Edge? Stick to sucking balls.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:02 p.m. CST

    NopeDontWantToKThanxBye (nt)

    by Triple_J_72

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:20 p.m. CST

    i'm not a plaaaaaaant

    by freak2thec0re

    I'm a real boy! But go ahead and follow the stuffy critics hating on it and miss out on a kickass show

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Led Zeppelin's lead singer, Robert....

    by la_sith

    fucking PLANT. Just when I thought your credibility couldn't sink lower. Seriously, go fuck a goat.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:25 p.m. CST

    I saw it and hated it

    by Kaipz1

    The guy's review is right about what happens what he's wrong about though are people leaving the place grinning - unless he was looking at kids. I took my son (paid $135 a ticket) and was seriously jazzed for the first 15 seconds of the opening. I felt the same way when I saw the opening titles for Phantom Menace on opening day. And, in fact, Phantom Menace is about the closest paralell to watching Turn Out the Dark. You're excited because it has your childhood in its hands and then grabs your private parts and you feel like you've been violated. 1) The music - it sounds like U2 (if you like the Zooropa album, that's good - if not, it's bad). and Reeve Carney has a solid rock voice, but everytime a song begins, you feel like "man, this would be so much better if Bono sang it". It's impossible not to think it's a karaoke version or bad cover band performance of a U2 song. 2) The chorus of geek kids - absolutely HORRIBLE dialogue. They're 10 years too old to play high school kids, first of all, and their stereotyped performance of Comic Book lovers is cringe inducing. Plus, it's like a 90s version of Geek - not a contemporary version. The actors don't have a clue, but then again, they could cut this whole bit and you'd shave 20 minutes off the show. 3) The stunts are VERY cool. Problem is, you're taken right out of the excitement by worrying about your own safety AND the actors' safety constantly. Plus, the first time they have the Goblin fight is cool, the 6th time Spidey swings overhead, you're like "eh". But, that's what the $135 went so they figure - do more, do more, distract them from the mess on stage. 4) The 2nd Act is BORING! Way over written, way over produced. Why invent the Swiss Miss character? She doesn't do anything but walk-on with Kraven, Electro, Lizard and Carnage. It's so cheesy when they walk out fashion show style to be introduced. Ugh. 5) Hated seeing the 2 guitarists on the stage right. Why are they there? Put them in the damn orchestra pit - they're very distracting. They've got a lot more to fix before opening night. Plus, why the hell does Green Goblin speak with a southern drawl the further he goes in the play? He didn't start out with one! Wierd... Look, I want this to succeed, I really do. But, come on, stick a fork in this one, it's done. To add one more thing, my 10-yr old son loved it. But he also liked Jar Jar Binks when he saw it on video...what does that say?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 7:49 p.m. CST

    I walk past the theater every day to and from work...

    by SK229

    A while back, when they first put up the poster on the door, I thought... "no fucking way, that has to be a joke." I was wrong. Also, Fox 5 was outside the theater today, wonder if someone else was injured or it's for some positive-spin P.R. piece. The Spider-man ride at IOA kicks some serious ass, though... wish they'd put that in Times Square instead of... more stores... more generic restaurants... more shitty musicals.

  • I like Julie Taymor and Spidey too, I hope this isn't bad but it is already a tits-up disaster in the media, and pretending it's not and printing an obvious publicist-plant review is NOT about "serving geekdom and promoting the genre." It's just about sucking up to publicists and Bono.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:25 p.m. CST

    don't worry about the doubters freak2thec0re

    by Mike Connor

    This site is a bully pulpit and a pulpit for bullies. You're passing the word for people who'll appreciate what you liked in the Spidey show. I hope Harry will make the trip to NYC, after giving the production the hard sell on AICN. If he does, he should buy you a drink. Those calling you green and leafy aren't really writing about you. It's a way of saying "I'm not convinced." Me neither, but I was never going to go anyway.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:31 p.m. CST


    by MikeTheSpike

    It's a plant not because it's positive (although that has my spider senses a' tinglin'), but because of the... bizarre, stilted and formulaic way in which it's composed, as if some PR hack (everyone's favourite term) just can't take her work hat off when trying to compose a "man off the street" review. Some examples that just don't seem right (on top of the better than average spelling and punctuation): - Overuse of the word "geek" and its variants. Nobody actually uses that term, but non-geeks think we do, like some character off Big Bang Theory. - The ole "when I first heard ... I thought it was going to be shit!" routine. Gosh golly, this person's thought processes are just like mine! - "I thought shit, Julie Taymor? I’m not her biggest fan but she has serious visual flair and she’s smart. What did she see in Spider-Man?" Nobody would actually say this. - Mentioning Spidey's "40 years of rich history." - "I’d read some bad early reviews, but also read that Taymor had been furiously re-writing the script day by day to fix story problems, and even the music was being re-written constantly." Alright, we get it. It sucked, but now it doesn't. Alright. - This strange strawman they bring up, "is a Broadway musical necessary for me to see?" answered in the next paragraph, "yes this is completely necessary." Yeah, what does Joe Q. Public need to go see some gay Broadway show for, *anway*?! ... Oh, I see. - The "Asian chick" remark (and other similar stuff, like the swearing) is way too colloquial compared to the rest of the writing, as if they've purposely peppered certain turns of phrase about the review to make it seem more authentic. - Look, see! The lead actor is just like that guy from the Spider-Man reboot film that seems to be gaining online cred! Better link the two. - Casually singling out Swiss Miss as a villain, knowing full well that weird made-up shit like that is one of the sticking points Spidey fans have with the show. - Criticisms are always paired up with a compliment about some other aspect of the show. "The fight in act 2 wasn't quite hot, maybe because the fight in act 1 was so epic!!" sort of stuff. The songs aren't memorable, but are quite good? Alright, sure. The songs feel a bit too U2 at times (oh no!!) but they work (oh yay!!) You know, stuff like that.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Sorry Harry, not in this lifetime...

    by Toruk_Makto

    and If I can help it, not even the next.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Marbles, for correcting me.

    by Subtitles_Off

    It's Bono and THE Edge. I always get the first name switched around. "Heya, Bono. Ow ya gitten lon' mate." "Goo', The. Yersef?" "Right, great. Go mesef a new foot pedal fer me guitar." "Fooken brilliant. Mos' o' them play guitars wif their fingers. Not you. Tha's why yer The, The." "Tha's wot aye said when aye wuz innet movie wit' them two guys. They jus' looked at me, like WOT?" "Eh fug 'em. We go' sets tonight wif Jay-Z n The Blackeye Peas." "Eh, brilliant." "Fergie, man. She's like Joplin. A real rock chick." "Right, fook you." "Yeh, fook you harder."

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST

    "I'm a real boy!"

    by Subtitles_Off

    Well, then, that explains it! Gawdammit, all of you. If you'd been a wooden puppet, and all of a sudden some hot chick in a sexy blue see-through gave you tickets to a show where all the other real live boys had strings on 'em, you'd think it was pretty cool, too. Admit it. Or the cricket gets it.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Spiderman: We won't be happy until someone is dead

    by lunalu

    I am almost tempted to go to experience the FAIL in person, but I am afraid of either having someone fall on me or watching someone die. Not exactly my idea of a good time.

  • I mean really, some 4 year with yellow mustard on a hotdog could kick GL 's ass - every time, and dc fanboys are shitting on thor?

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Story now buried

    by lock67ca

    That went from the top to the bottom of the page awful fast. Guess Harry doesn't like being exposed an an unethical hack.

  • Jan. 7, 2011, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Re: MiketheSpike

    by SK229

    LOL, the two lines that mention Taymor are a DEAD GIVE-AWAY as far as I'm concerned. Nobody would ever put it that way... unless they're a PR hack, as you said. It amazes me that they can never get it right. Although, I suppose when they do, you'll never know it.

  • Geesus christ.. laughing so fucking hard I'm crying here... this is why i keep coming back, not the stupidity of the writers.. as it's the talkbackers that tend to write real genius

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 3:25 a.m. CST

    this sounds like such a good ide

    by alice133

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Why point out that the chick was ASIAN? Twice?

    by 3D-Man

    Not just a plant, but a racist plant. Nice.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 4:03 a.m. CST

    Wow, burying this story is telling

    by the_scream

    Either Harry got rid of it or someone saw the negative feedback and decided to pull the advertisement. This was so transparent. It really is embarrassing for this site, which is slowly losing interest for me. Where are the real scoops? Instead, we get plants and pretend scoops. :(

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 7:03 a.m. CST

    The bar has been set impossibly high

    by Iowa Snot Client

    Because, you see, my folks took me to see the DC-themed water skiing show at Sea World back in the late '70s. Suck it Traymor.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 8:53 a.m. CST

    As for the "No one would phrase things that way" argument...

    by Chewtoy

    ...I tend to disagree. Nobody chatting with their buddies would phrase things that way, but a layman sitting down to write a review? It's not surprising that it's going to read like this, because it's not a casual thing. It's not something the average person does every day, and so they tend to fit it into what they expect the style of a review to be like. It's why letters to the editor or to magazines all sound so similar... Someone is sitting down to write something intended to be put in front of the masses, and so tailors their approach. Another version of this would be all of the reviews AICN gets that have forced use of crude phrases and slang, because that's how an AICN review is "supposed" to read to them. As for the tendency of the review to try and defuse known issues or complaints, well, the reviewer is doing exactly what people claim. But why would that mean he is being paid? I see the exact same techniques being used by people defending the Star Wars prequels or the upcoming Green Hornet film for instance. It's a fairly common method to try to sway opinion, yes, but the guy is championing something he knows is being shredded by fans sight unseen, and he believes they should give it a chance because he liked it. It's not a review written in a vacuum, so why should that be a sign that it's less than honest? People have free time. More and more, people use that free time to share their opinions in blogs and message boards. There's nothing here that I could only see happening in exchange for money. Hell, if there is money involved, then Broadway people please send my check for spending my free time putting forth these arguments. I've been taking the unpopular side in these talkbacks for free like a chump.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    "A sweet supervillain the Asian chick creates called Swiss Miss"

    by Harry Palmerlime

    I NEVER cry "plant," but that statement alone makes my alarm go off.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 10:06 a.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Your argument isn't totally out of left field, Chewie, and I guess we'll never know one way or the other, anyway. That said, this thing just doesn't pass the sniff test. You line this up against every reader-submitted review on this site and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST

    I am Dr. Octopus. I am going to sock your puss!

    by JoeSixPack

    No you woooooooooooooooooooooooooon't!

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Harry youve lost touch....

    by benlinus

    ...with everybody on this site. At this point, this site is just basically your own personal blog becuase 90% of the people here disagree with just about EVERYTHING that you say. And PLEASE stop with the GEEK nonsense, its completely retarded, much like yourself. Serbian Film, Turn off the Dark, youve gotta be fucking kidding me. Youre living in your own very disturbing bubble my friend....

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST

    dirk_the _amoeba, perhaps I'm missing something..

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...some previous reference, but it sounds as if you're saying that a bomb of a Spider-Man musical is a nail in the dc fanboy coffin, when Spider-Man isn't a DC character. You're not saying that, right?

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Reads like a press release

    by JoeSixPack

    Plants can't fool anyone. And Peter's "grandparents"? WTF?

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 12:01 p.m. CST

    OMG AICN jumps the shark

    by quadrupletree

    I've never accused anyone of being a plant before on here. BUT come on!! You seriously expect us to swallow this story?? This is just sad and pathetic...

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Jay Sherman - "It Stinks"

    by Partyslammer

    What do you get when you produce a laughably bad take on a beloved comic book character that's equal parts PeeWee Herman's playhouse and Lion King Live with a retardedly huge budget and egos to match? Something most people quickly flush down the toilet and light a candle to kill the lingering smell afterwords. <p> As the tinkering, re-writes, revamps and cast injuries drag on as so-called public rehearsals extend from weeks to months, you have to wonder just how spectacular the final crash n' fail will be once this epically bad production will be when it staggers to it's inevitable unpleasant finish. It's gotten to the point that U2's Bono and The Edge have taken time off from trying to finish their now long-delayed follow-up to the worst album of their career (with Danger Mouse producing!) to take a more hands on approach to get the production in some sort of presentable form. <p> Having somewhat of an inside viewpoint on this production, I can confidently say it is every bit as bad as most people who've been slamming it have said. It was a bad idea from the start and every facet of it's execution has been hampered by poor decisions and the belief that "star power" and throwing more and more money at problems will somehow "make it shine." It's now become a Black Hole, sucking in everyone around it because it's "too big to fail." It's Broadway's Vietnam, it's Iraq and Afghanistan. <p> I actually feel a bit sorry for Bono and Edge. Well, not really. Rich people who let people around them suck their money away from them get what they deserve. They got drawn into this production originally thinking they'd contribute some songs and a reasonable investment and that would be the end of it. It's not the first time these two have been suckered out of millions of dollars - just look at the "U2 Tower" that was supposed to be the centerpiece and monument of downtown Dublin (and their egos). <p> Yes, Spiderman is bad. It's not going to get good. You can't polish a turd or mask it's stink. <p> Light a candle for "Spiderman Turn On The Dark."

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Jay Sherman - "It Stinks"

    by Partyslammer

    What do you get when you produce a laughably bad take on a beloved comic book character that's equal parts PeeWee Herman's playhouse and Lion King Live with a retardedly huge budget and egos to match? Something most people quickly flush down the toilet and light a candle to kill the lingering smell afterwords. <p> As the tinkering, re-writes, revamps and cast injuries drag on as so-called public rehearsals extend from weeks to months, you have to wonder just how spectacular the final crash n' fail will be once this epically bad production will be when it staggers to it's inevitable unpleasant finish. It's gotten to the point that U2's Bono and The Edge have taken time off from trying to finish their now long-delayed follow-up to the worst album of their career (with Danger Mouse producing!) to take a more hands on approach to get the production in some sort of presentable form. <p> Having somewhat of an inside viewpoint on this production, I can confidently say it is every bit as bad as most people who've been slamming it have said. It was a bad idea from the start and every facet of it's execution has been hampered by poor decisions and the belief that "star power" and throwing more and more money at problems will somehow "make it shine." It's now become a Black Hole, sucking in everyone around it because it's "too big to fail." It's Broadway's Vietnam, it's Iraq and Afghanistan. <p> I actually feel a bit sorry for Bono and Edge. Well, not really. Rich people who let people around them suck their money away from them get what they deserve. They got drawn into this production originally thinking they'd contribute some songs and a reasonable investment and that would be the end of it. It's not the first time these two have been suckered out of millions of dollars - just look at the "U2 Tower" that was supposed to be the centerpiece and monument of downtown Dublin (and their egos). <p> Yes, Spiderman is bad. It's not going to get good. You can't polish a turd or mask it's stink. <p> Light a candle for "Spiderman Turn On The Dark."

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Jay Sherman - "It Stinks"

    by Partyslammer

    What do you get when you produce a laughably bad take on a beloved comic book character that's equal parts PeeWee Herman's playhouse and Lion King Live with a retardedly huge budget and egos to match? Something most people quickly flush down the toilet and light a candle to kill the lingering smell afterwords. <p> As the tinkering, re-writes, revamps and cast injuries drag on as so-called public rehearsals extend from weeks to months, you have to wonder just how spectacular the final crash n' fail will be once this epically bad production will be when it staggers to it's inevitable unpleasant finish. It's gotten to the point that U2's Bono and The Edge have taken time off from trying to finish their now long-delayed follow-up to the worst album of their career (with Danger Mouse producing!) to take a more hands on approach to get the production in some sort of presentable form. <p> Having somewhat of an inside viewpoint on this production, I can confidently say it is every bit as bad as most people who've been slamming it have said. It was a bad idea from the start and every facet of it's execution has been hampered by poor decisions and the belief that "star power" and throwing more and more money at problems will somehow "make it shine." It's now become a Black Hole, sucking in everyone around it because it's "too big to fail." It's Broadway's Vietnam, it's Iraq and Afghanistan. <p> I actually feel a bit sorry for Bono and Edge. Well, not really. Rich people who let people around them suck their money away from them get what they deserve. They got drawn into this production originally thinking they'd contribute some songs and a reasonable investment and that would be the end of it. It's not the first time these two have been suckered out of millions of dollars - just look at the "U2 Tower" that was supposed to be the centerpiece and monument of downtown Dublin (and their egos). <p> Yes, Spiderman is bad. It's not going to get good. You can't polish a turd or mask it's stink. <p> Light a candle for "Spiderman Turn On The Dark."

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Jay Sherman - "It Stinks"

    by Partyslammer

    What do you get when you produce a laughably bad take on a beloved comic book character that's equal parts PeeWee Herman's playhouse and Lion King Live with a retardedly huge budget and egos to match? Something most people quickly flush down the toilet and light a candle to kill the lingering smell afterwords. <p> As the tinkering, re-writes, revamps and cast injuries drag on as so-called public rehearsals extend from weeks to months, you have to wonder just how spectacular the final crash n' fail will be once this epically bad production will be when it staggers to it's inevitable unpleasant finish. It's gotten to the point that U2's Bono and The Edge have taken time off from trying to finish their now long-delayed follow-up to the worst album of their career (with Danger Mouse producing!) to take a more hands on approach to get the production in some sort of presentable form. <p> Having somewhat of an inside viewpoint on this production, I can confidently say it is every bit as bad as most people who've been slamming it have said. It was a bad idea from the start and every facet of it's execution has been hampered by poor decisions and the belief that "star power" and throwing more and more money at problems will somehow "make it shine." It's now become a Black Hole, sucking in everyone around it because it's "too big to fail." It's Broadway's Vietnam, it's Iraq and Afghanistan. <p> I actually feel a bit sorry for Bono and Edge. Well, not really. Rich people who let people around them suck their money away from them get what they deserve. They got drawn into this production originally thinking they'd contribute some songs and a reasonable investment and that would be the end of it. It's not the first time these two have been suckered out of millions of dollars - just look at the "U2 Tower" that was supposed to be the centerpiece and monument of downtown Dublin (and their egos). <p> Yes, Spiderman is bad. It's not going to get good. You can't polish a turd or mask it's stink. <p> Light a candle for "Spiderman Turn On The Dark."

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 2:27 p.m. CST

    great press release you just ran!

    by DrManhattansTaint

    seriously, "Swiss Miss" is awesome? it looks like something out of 1997's BATMAN AND ROBIN at best. and you didn't mention that all of those villains show up during an "ugly-off" that is basically a fashion show. nor did you mention that Taymor's biggest contribution was the character Arachne, who stops the show in the middle of Act 2 to sing a song about how she loves shoes. i have to admit, when it was announced, i thought it would be a joke. i thought it would be easy to come up with a great script and score, but that there would be no way for them to do the flying cool enough in a broadway house. sadly, they did the opposite...they pulled off the flying but dropped the ball on everything else.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 3:30 p.m. CST

    If you are a geek

    by GhostDad

    you must love having your ballsack used as a speedbag IN THE NAME OF GEEKDOM!

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    I saw it - it was a turd

    by m grady

    First, I love U2. Music was pretty lame. 1.5 memorable songs, one HORRIFIC song. And the story? Man oh man... I'm OK with tweaks to the existing mythology, but this was nuts. Act one was fair, act two was a disaster. At one point I looked at my friend and said "WHAT THE EFF IS HAPPENING??" This is a great and far more accurate review than the fanboy w/ hardon review that Harry posted:

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 9:28 p.m. CST

    kisskissbangbang - yes you missed something

    by Dirk_The_Amoeba

    it was a reference to another tb

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 9:53 p.m. CST

    I hope they have Grandpa Ben's Famous quote:...

    by bbopdude

    "...with power that is cool comes something something". Seriously, this review sounds a little embarrassing.

  • Jan. 8, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Also: am I the only one pissed off by Swiss Miss?

    by bbopdude

    it's not like there's almost 50 years of great super villains to pick from or anything.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Something about this makes me angry...

    by SK229

    I guess it's the idea that people like Taymor are given properties like this to do something great with and then they fuck it up so bad that reviewers are unanimously proclaiming that she had little regard for the source material, indeed seems to actively dislike it and not 'get' why it's appealing to its fans through her 'mouth-piece' female character in the geek chorus, and so she passive-aggressively chooses to shoehorn in her own bullshit and make it what she thinks it should be. For reasons I can't explain, I feel that she didn't 'get' the Beatles music either... something about the way the hippy stuff comingles with these blandly modern actors in a hipster (yeah, it's overused, but it's soooo fuckin' useful to me) love story that's more fitting an episode of an MTV reality show. Congratulations, now you're reaping what you've sewn... there's some correlation here between the 'Tiny Furniture' director getting her own show produced by Apatow and the sensibility brought to this abomination... it's something the majority of well-adjusted adults don't want, can sense right away wreaks of narcissism, and yet the powers that be let it through the gate, spend millions on it, and expect it to find an audience anyway. What the fuck gives? This is like Spider-man as imagined by the worst kind of indie hack director, attempting to deepen the proceedings by saying, "How can you take this stuff seriously to begin with?" and getting meta on that opinion within the show. And I think if any modern rock gods are going to get caught up in Taymor's reputation and fall for this shit without first reading the script or trying to ascertain whether or not it's worth doing, it's U2, and especially Bono. That and the truckloads of cash they probably backed up to his and Edge's door. Just fuck off, Taymor... fuck off mightily.

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 9:10 p.m. CST

    The reviewer is correct

    by Peter David

    The initial review is correct in its assessment. Unlike most people here, I've also seen the musical. And yes, I also write for Marvel Comics. But I have no vested interest in the musical, and I paid for my tickets just like anyone else. You want to call me a plant, go right ahead, but no one has ever questioned my ability to call it as I see it when it comes to films and TV. There's a lot right and a lot wrong with the show. The bottom line is this: Is there enough of what’s right to warrant your time and, at these prices, your money? Oh yeah. Definitely. SM: TOD (the German word for “death,” I might observe) is like a homerun hitter. It doesn’t know how to lay down a bunt or just try to make contact. It swings for the fences consistently. It strikes out more than it should and with big strokes. When it connects, however, it knocks it out of the park. Remember when everyone was badmouthing “Terminator 2” based largely on the fact that the budget was a then-unheard of $100 million? But once people saw the film, the opinion was the same across the board: James Cameron had put every cent of the thing up on the screen. Same deal here. If you’ve ever sat idly around and wondered what $65 million would look like up on a Broadway stage (as opposed to, say, used to feed the homeless or build schools) then this is the show for you. The costumes, the sets, the effects, are simply—damn. There’s no appropriate adjective that hasn’t been used in front of “Spider-Man,” so it’ll sound like I’m making a joke. Okay fine: it’s amazing. Spectacular, even. Gigantic cutouts of the Green Goblin that swing on from the wings to symbolically dwarf our hero. Hydraulic platforms so that Mary Jane (a sincere and yet sexy Jennifer Damiano) can be dangling from a great height or to create forced perspective views of a dizzying fall. Wirework technique which ranges from having Peter Parker (a game for anything Reeve Carney who deftly encompasses Peter’s soulfulness) literally bouncing off the walls of his bedroom, to the Goblin and Spider-Man slugging it out while soaring over the audience’s head (making it the most totally immersive superhero experience I’ve been to since the Spider-Man ride at Universal.) There is a literally haunting sequence in Act 2 (indeed, it’s one of the few things in Act 2 that really works, which I’ll get to later) involving a sleeping Peter being seduced in his dreams by the villainess Arachne that is quite simply one of the most astounding visuals I’ve ever seen on stage, period. These are the things that will blow you away. These are the things that will stay with you. These are the things that will make it worthwhile for you to go. The first act is a sometimes uneasy combination of mythic scope, sincerity, and broad camp. The tonal shifts can leave you, as an audience, trying to find your balance and not always succeeding. After a quick teaser image of Spidey trying, and seemingly failing, to rescue Mary Jane, the show stumbles right out of the gate with the introduction of the Geek Chorus, a group of four fans who provide the narrative structure of the show as they endeavor to produce/create/narrate what they consider to be the definitive Spider-Man story. The distaff member of the quartet happens to be named “Miss Arrow,” which indicates that either Taymor or co-writer Glen Berger read “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” where I created a character by that name so, y’know, thanks for the shout-out, guys. (Also receiving shout-outs are Joe Quesada and Joe Straczynski, whose names are ascribed to unseen characters.) Can such a device—a modern day Greek chorus commenting on or creating a narrative—work? Sure. They did it in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Hell, they did it in an episode of one of the Batman animated series. But it doesn’t work here. At all. There are germs of possibilities in the Geeks. The discussions they have about free will versus determination—was Peter Parker destined to be bitten by the spider as opposed to it being random chance; is Peter an everyman or does his scientific acumen make him special?—are the exact kinds of debates one sees on message boards all the time (which is probably where they got the idea.) But the possibilities are crippled by the execution. The self-conscious dialogue (oftentimes rhyming, suggesting it was from a song that was cut) alternates between stilted and outright painful, the actors don’t quite seem to have their lines down, and if you excised them from the first act, it wouldn’t matter. After the initial stumble, however, the show quickly recovers, introducing elements both new and old and old/new, from a variety of sources: Parker as a picked on teen (Amazing Fantasy #15), while smitten with Mary Jane (more recent comics and the first movie), and Arachne from Greek myth. The theme being established is clear: Spider-Man is part of a mythic architecture that goes back centuries and is as old as mankind’s ability to sit around a campfire and say, “Once upon a time.” One thinks JMS would approve. The show also endeavors to accommodate the expectations of all audience members and thus includes the type of things that will set on edge the teeth of many fans. There are the requisite giant sound effects associated with the Batman TV show, here either displayed on Jumbo-tron sized screens or held up on cut-outs. Norman Osborn is no longer the bullying bastard of the comics or even the snarling nut-job of the film; instead he’s a big, avuncular, happily married genetic researcher (scene-chewingly performed by Patrick Page with a broad Texan accent) who seems like he wandered in from a production of “Li’l Abner,” surrounded by scientists attired in silver labcoats boosted from Devo’s closet. Meanwhile The Daily Bugle is straight out of the 1930s, with reporters running in and out breathlessly shouting headlines to a pin-stripped Jonah Jameson (Michael Mulhern, looking amazingly like David White who played Jonah in the 1977 TV movie) while sob-sisters clack away on manual typewriters. All that’s missing is a shout of “Stop the presses!” Yet somehow, if you’re willing to check all your preconceptions (and a small percentage of your sanity) at the door, it more or less works. Musicals are stylishly unreal anyway; you’re supposed to accept that it’s not strange at all that people express their emotions by bursting into song. And superheroes are likewise stylishly unreal. Plus…hey…Spider-Man’s swinging overhead! Now he's slugging it out with the Goblin five feet above me! Holy crap! So there’s that. Then we roll into the second act, and we’ve got a problem. The Sinister Six is introduced, courtesy of the Geeks, walking a runway like a fashion show. Even those audience members most inclined to take the camp elements in stride were going, “Huh?” (Although I will admit, with a sigh, that Swiss Miss looked fantastic.) For this and other crimes against narrative humanity, the Geeks are subsequently banished from the second act, and not missed one bit. But as the rest of the storyline unfolds—except for a few bright spots here and there (the aforementioned dream seduction, for instance)—the show becomes increasingly labored, like someone who didn’t pace himself properly running a marathon now trying to stagger to the finish line. The narrative becomes tortured, the story nearly incomprehensible, a five minute production number about stolen shoes serves to make Arachne and her minions the one thing they haven’t been thus far—stupid—and the dramatic beats of the ending make no freaking sense no matter how many times my wife and I tried to parse it during the drive home. I haven’t discussed the songs by Bono and The Edge. (As an aside, I have to admit that, generally speaking, I have little patience for an individual who has a definite article in his name. If you go by “the,” then you better be a superhero, a super-villain, a wrestler, or Big Bopper; otherwise you’re just going to annoy the crap out of me.) That said: I miss the days when Broadway shows had half a dozen memorable songs. Nowadays if you get one, you’re lucky. Here, the closest they come is “The Boy Falls From the Sky,” Parker’s climactic power ballad, the main musical sting of which is featured heavily in the commercial. Is that where we've gotten to? Instead of leaving a show humming half a dozen songs, we get half a dozen notes? I admit the actors perform the songs under some impressive circumstances. Arachne’s ‘Think Again” rallying cry to her minions is performed while the actress is literally being flung around the stage thirty feet in the air, and she never misses a note. That alone should get her a Tony nomination. Just to show you how subjective music appreciation is: Kathleen said her problem with it was that the composers attempted too many different styles and thus never found a single voice for the show. That it was a musical stylistically at war with itself. To me, on the other hand, it all just sounded alike, the songs going until they stopped, never building to anything, and none of it particularly memorable. Which is why the recent announcements that the show’s opening being delayed until February so that additional work can be done on the book and songs is both good news and bad. The good news is, thank God, it needs it. The bad news is, Bono and the Edge are coming back to write new songs, while I’m not blown away by the ones they’ve got. Tell me they were bringing in Trey Parker, whose musical work on “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” was praised by no less an authority than Stephen Sondheim, and I’d feel a bit more sanguine about it. I suppose what it comes down to is that, if you’re a big fan of Bono and The Edge, you’ll love it. If not, it certainly won’t inspire you to run out and buy your first U2 album. Oh, and for the record, at the performance I saw, there were a couple of minor technical glitches, but otherwise even the most astounding stunts were pulled off with the flawlessness of a Cirque du Soleil performance. The show started at 8:10 (it took that long to seat the capacity audience) and finished at 10:35, including fifteen-minute intermission, so the inflated running time has been conquered. There has been an undue amount of schadenfreude attached to this show, it seems to me. (Or as Marc Guggenheim would term it, "Showdenfreude"--actively rooting for a show to fail.) People have obsessed about the price tag and reported with seeming glee about the many fits and starts of the production. Even I bitched about Swiss Miss i advance. But I tend to think that when creators feel passionate enough about a project to devote eight years of their lives (and a chunk of their own money when the show runs out of funds) because they believe in it That Much, then that alone deserves consideration, appreciation and respect, and we should be pulling for its success rather than rooting for its failure. And the real bottom line (as opposed to the other bottom line that I put at the top) is this: At curtain call, the audience gave the show a standing ovation because of what the show was—a sheer spectacle, unlike anything that has ever hit Broadway, that was a culmination of nearly a decade of work, and one that, we all hope, will be even better by the time it opens. PAD

  • Jan. 9, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    I still would fuck Julie Taymore

    by cookylamoo

    I'm a sucker for that over he hill, abused wife look.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 2:19 a.m. CST


    by DrManhattansTaint

    I don't see how you can admit that over half the show doesn't work and still recommend that people spend this kind of money to see it. The problem for me is that even with the small shout outs and the winking nods they ignored the fact that Spider-Man is already mythology. There's no need to connect him to centuries old traditions. There's no need to shoehorn in new characters that Taymor came up with in a dream. Nobody cares. ALL SHE HAD TO DO IS TAKE WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE ALREADY DONE OVER THE YEARS. I'll never understand how they could have screwed up the story/book. The reason we love Spider-Man is because he's us. He's the hero we'd all love to be. He's from a real place. He has real problems, girl problems, the weight of the world on his shoulders and he just wants to be a regular guy, sometimes...all of that is interesting enough drama. When you devote a lot of your best songs and your climax to a character that doesn't have anything to do with that, when the whole thing might be a dream, or a hallucination, or some story that some street kids are concocting, you've got a real problem. If it's not real, there's no weight to any of it. You know they say the worst way to review a show is to say what you would have done, but here goes...I could have saved them all the money they're going to lose on this thing. Act 1 - Opening Number, we meet Spider-Man right off the bat, go right to the flying since that's what most people have come to see. Thrilling from the get go. First part of the show, he's busting small time crooks, and cracking jokes. His biggest nemesis, The Green Goblin has been put away, in an asylum, suffering from amnesia. We see Pete with Aunt May...Uncle Ben's dead, but we learn what he means to Peter. We see him with his best friend, Harry. Pete's a little stressed and having trouble balancing the two worlds, but he's feeling like a rock star, and he's even got a great new girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Getting over MJ. Then, the Green Goblin regains his memory, and all about Spiderman and Peter Parker...he busts out of the asylum. Goblin picks up Gwen, Spidey tries to rescue her but kills the Green Goblin and also accidentally kills Gwen. END OF ACT 1. This throws him in crisis for Act 2, wanting to give it up...not knowing where to turn. Harry does some investigating and learns that his dad was the Green Goblin. Peter and MJ turn to each other for comfort over Gwen's death, leading to a reconciliation. Late in the second act, Peter swears off the suit and his great power/great responsibility. Harry discovers it was Pete that accidentally killed his dad, and suits up, takes MJ to draw Peter out. Spidey falls for the bait, not wanting to lose both of his great loves this way, battles within himself and his confidence...what if he does it again? MJ snaps him out of it, because she believes (correctly) that he's the ONLY one who can save her. He rescues MJ, who tells him to "go get him, Tiger", and there's a final aerial battle between Spidey and Harry, where he could let Harry die but instead risks his life to save Harry, too. He redeems himself and is able to forgive himself for both earlier losses. Ending scene, he takes MJ for a swing around the theater. Curtain. Bows. Nobody walks outside going, "what the fuck did I just see?" There, you have something that's familiar because of the movies but adds new elements and some of the most famous plotlines from the comics. It's dramatic, it's emotional, it's fun, it's thrilling. It has real weight, real life and death consequences. It's not about the redemption of some mythical dream spider woman. It's about the guy we love. Some people may say, "Yeah, but everybody already knows THAT story". Right. But, what's going to make it fresh are the songs, and the way the story is told. People knew the movie THE LION KING. They still went to see it. There are great opportunities for songs in my version. There's no need to stop the show for a song about shoes that doesn't move the plot forward in any way. I'm not rooting for the show to fail, but I do think it's a giant missed opportunity and a showcase of self-indulgent nonsense. But, hey...I'm no Tony award winning visionary, just a fan of the guy in the blue and red suit.

  • Jan. 10, 2011, 5:56 a.m. CST

    I can say it's still worth the money

    by Peter David

    Because what does work, works extremely well. The stuff that works stays with and ranges from spectacular to haunting. You think I didn't come up with ways I would have fixed it? Sure I did; plenty of them. I was rewriting the second act in my head as it went along. With any luck, perhaps by opening day they'll have figured out some of the same things, or perhaps even better fixes. The story can actually be repaired with far less involved changes than you would suggest. I think there's a lot more right with it than wrong. I disagree with your assertion that connecting Spider-Man to centuries old mythology seems a natural fit, based on the fact that so many fans are dismissive of the idea out of hand. Basically you've got, on the one hand, Julie Taymor saying Spider-Man is a mythic figure worthy of being linked to stories from two thousand years ago, and on the other hand you've got fans declaring that's the stupidest thing they've ever heard. Why, one wonders, does Julie Taymor think more highly of Spider-Man than the fans? Why NOT concoct a story in which his origins are linked to Arachne? It's not THAT much more absurd than Straczynski's Totem backstory. And in fact one of the more entertainingly meta moments is the Geeks going back and forth over the notion of Peter being some random guy versus being someone "chosen" for this destiny (as Arachne chooses him.) Is he REALLY one of us, as you contend? Or is the fact that he's a scientific genius and possibly destined to be Spider-Man enough to separate him from us? It's literally stuff that could have--perhaps was--lifted from message boards. Some of the very points you brought up mirror things that the Geeks argue over, up to and including the insertion of new characters. You talk about the stuff that we've done over the years? One of the ongoing bits of grief we get from fans is that they resist the creation of new villains for Spider-Man to fight because they'd rather see him slug it out with Doc Ock or the Lizard again...while simultaneously declaring they don't want to see the same old thing. The show nails THAT little dichotomy, I can tell you. The entire business between whether events in the second act were real or not was obviously a commentary on the way news coverage and the Internet impact and transform opinions. In the second act, you've got people reporting to Jameson that events are occurring because they've heard about it, read about it, and seen it described on line. On the other, you've got JJJ repeatedly snarling, "But did you SEE IT YOURSELF?" And of course none of them had. How many times--how MANY now--have we witnessed the media credulously reporting falsehoods as fact, abrogating their responsibility to verify what they've heard and instead just reporting what they've heard other people reporting? Here you are declaring that meant there was no weight to it, whereas I--who, frankly, have had to deal with people declaring that I've said this, that and the other thing and attacking it because that's what they'd heard, when in fact I never said anything remotely like it--was nodding and said, "Yeah; they totally nailed the crap that passes for information dissemination nowadays." Self-indulgent? If, as a creator, you're not going to satisfy your desires for a story first and foremost, what's the point? You produce the story that appeals to you, and if others like it, great, and if others don't, well, that's the way that goes. But ALL creative endeavors are self-indulgent to some degree; indeed, if all you're doing is just recycling what others have done--as you suggest--then you're doing it wrong. PAD

  • Jan. 11, 2011, 5:25 a.m. CST

    i'm not suggesting recycle what other people have done...

    by DrManhattansTaint

    i don't think that's what David Koepp did in his screenplay for the first film, or what Michael Chabon did for the second (which is my favorite superhero movie of all time if i don't count UNBREAKABLE). those guys took a beloved character, mined the decades of his history and came up with something new and exciting for the medium that they were working in. (can't say the same for the third film.) i guess i have a different opinion on the way creators should approach projects like this. i'll freely's coming from a place of ego, which is again to say, "here's how I would do it"...but i believe if you're the director, your vision is there to serve the story, not the other way around. i feel like she brought the character to her, and made it a servant to her impulses and ideas, not the other way around. but, she's Julie Taymor, so that's probably what everyone involved expected her to do, anyway. i understand what you guys go through with hard core fans, i know how rabid people got over organic webshooters. and, i'm not saying she shouldn't have had some creative license to tinker with the engine a bit. because, in the end, if you tell a good story, fans will forgive anything. you brought up might have been one of his Amazing Spider-Man issues after 9/11...there was an issue with a young black kid and at the end of it, Spidey shows up and takes his mask off and reveals himself as a black guy. when i read that, i didn't think, "THAT'S BULLSHIT! SPIDER-MAN IS WHITE!" i was moved and engaged by the story, and that reveal was a moment of genius. what Taymor and Co. came up with after years and years of working on the script just doesn't work as a whole. i guess what i find fascinating is that nobody ever figured that out that the story wasn't clear in a rehearsal room at 890 broadway in some workshop. nobody at a reading was like, "i'm sorry, but what the hell is this shoes thing?" i also don't want to give you the impression that i think i came up with anything groundbreaking or original in my example. it was just an example of something with a dramatic structure that would have worked for a musical, with a beginning, middle and end, that even someone with a basic knowledge of the character could come up with. bottom line is, it needs help. you said you were rewriting in your head as the show went along, maybe you should shoot someone an email with your ideas, haha. best of luck to you!

  • Jan. 16, 2011, 11:25 p.m. CST

    I really wanted to like this (but it was awful).

    by MaliceHighload

    People are going to be praising this to be contrary. And I really, really wanted to like this thing. I'm not the type to trash something out of some sense of schadenfreude. But honestly, people: it's a bad show.