NY1 Theater Review: "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark"
After 183 previews, multiple injuries and an ousted director, "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" officially opened on Broadway on Tuesday night, and NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
When I saw "Spider-Man" in March, it was horrendous. Now it's much improved. Gone is the pretentious mythologizing and jumbled story; even the music sounds better. Despite all that, "Spider-Man" is still no great shakes as theater. But as commercial spectacle, I can honestly say now it flies.
A tip of the hat to the new creative team who hit the ground running after original creator Julie Taymor's forced exit three months ago. They fixed the biggest problems, jettisoning much of Taymor's conceptual tinkering and returned the focus back to the comic book story. So, happily, the narrating geek chorus is out and Taymor's ego-inspired character Arachne is reduced to featured player.
Given just three weeks to rehearse, new writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, along with co-writer Glen Berger and director Philip McKinley, had to work around existing design elements. The costumes, sets, and stunts are pretty much unchanged.
Dazzling as it all is, we get a mishmash of styles with a connect-the-dots feel that tends to undercut any real emotional investment in the characters. And yet there is a beating heart, thanks mostly to the fine-tuning of Peter Parker and Mary Jane's romance.
Bono and the Edge's score, so unimpressive before, has been beefed up with a huge assist from music producer Paul Bogaev. A few of the ballads are quite haunting.
The performances have deepened. Reeve Carney, cast for his looks and voice, has gained some acting chops. The gorgeously talented Jennifer Damiano has a lot more to do and that's a good thing. And as the Green Goblin, the bulletproof Patrick Page gets to camp it up with some timely humor.
The great problem still plaguing "Spider-Man" is that it can't decide what it is -- a theme park attraction, a Broadway musical or a circus. Then again, undiscerning audiences don't seem to care. For them, it all adds up to more bang for their bucks.