The Craptacular Spider-Man: Turn Off The Pain Part 4

Turn it off… TURN IT OFF!

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark posterPreviously in The Craptacular Spider-Man: U2 pimped itself at the deadly foes of Spider-Man fashion show. Peter and company whined a lot.

Arachne is PISSED. She calls her furies, uh-huh that’s right, you heard me, her furies. “FURIES TO MY SIDE!” She is mad at Peter for hanging up his tights, ignoring his destiny and for proposing to MJ…at least I think that is what she is mad about. She mostly just sings about being pissed in “Think Again,” but she isn’t too specific. I am speculating that her motives are based on the floaty erotic scene from earlier. I should say that Natalie Mendoza has a lovely voice and really can act. She had the hardest and most complicated part. The lead part, as it was! It isn’t her fault that it makes no frigging sense. Well done Natalie, truly. Meanwhile, Peter has yet another dream, nay nightmare that on his wedding day it is Arachne under the veil. This is coupled with some truly disturbing glittery spiders in church pews on people’s heads…I can’t describe it much better than that. I’m sorry.

At some point the furies (hot women with 8 legs – ya know, Alice Cooper would be interested to know this since his last album hinged on the concept of a serial killer called Spider butchering women to create one 8 legged woman…Wait, sorry, was that anecdote more interesting than the $65 Million Dollar Sham? Stop reading this and look up Along Came a Spider instead, it’s a better investment). Anyway these 8-Legged Freaks basically tell the Greek Twilight Chorus to take a hike, literally pushing them off of the stage into the audience. THEY (furies) are in control now. Well I’m glad someone is!

Now what the hell is going on?

Arachne wants Peter to act but the Bugle is printing disparaging things about Spidey, which makes Emo-Peter sad. To fix this, she goes to the office and ties up J.J. in black satin, the kind of thing you can get in the Village. Unfortunately, her persuasive spider pheromone perfume has no effect on J.J. so she writes her own copy and one of the swing-era lackeys prints it immediately. This prompts Spidey to return to the hero trade.

Spidey steals his costume back from J.J., who had acquired it, but he doesn’t really put it on. There is a video montage of a digital Spidey fighting The Six…oh, wait, I forgot one…The Seven. Peter is driven to action because Goblin has kidnapped MJ, again. He defeats The Seven. FUN FACT: At one point in the video montage, Kraven is smashing up Broadway and he crashes through, you guessed it: the billboard for that hit musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark! Hubris. Did I mention Hubris?

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark - Swiss Miss

BEST EVER RIGHT HERE. We go back to the furies and Arachne, our star, who by the way is responsible for the black out. The furies, now all red and black and leathery, proceed to step and fetch when Arachne calls for…wait for it…for her shoes!!! Yes remember, the shoe robberies? Well apparently our little Dream Weaver has a bit of a Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik fetish. All of the ladies don stilettos on their many legs and proceed to dance around, still singing about how furious they are. No, really the song is called “Deeply Furious.” Now. I love shoes. I love red and black spidery things. I am THE audience for a song about red and black spider women wearing stolen designer shoes, but not even proximity to NYC icons Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick seated right behind us (Carrie!) could make me warm to this shoe number…because Spider-Man needed…more…shoes! What? (Incidentally, my boyfriend wanted to turn around and say to Matthew, “So, Springtime…for Hitler?” every few minutes, but he didn’t want to drag him into our misery).

Then there are several more unspectacular songs including “The Boy Falls From the Sky,” and we have our…climax? Apparently, Arachne has kidnapped MJ, who is in a silk sac. Arachne has been hinting all along that nothing is real and it is all a dream…or maybe it is all her creation…or it is Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark CostumePeter’s reality…some meta crap. Who the hells knows. All I know is that it was my, and my Spider-Man-devoted boyfriend’s, nightmare. That much was concrete. We briefly thought it might be some sort of Mysterio reference, but no such luck…that would be too much like a Spider-Man reference. Oh, and if you though that Arachne had a Madam Web thing going on, think again. Oh yeah and then there was the equivalent of a Spidey kick-line, only Spidey style. Lots of “Thwip hands” in place of jazz hands. No joke. A line of dancing Spideys (again credit to these stunt guys…not their fault)

Anyway, Peter and Arachne argue, “Love Me or Kill Me,” and she seems to demand he drop the Peter part of himself and embrace only the spider part and be with her. He promises to do so if she frees MJ. She agrees and frees MJ, but then says that Peter will never love her. He kisses her forehead and she…like…ascends…or something. I don’t know. It breaks the “curse” maybe? Honestly, it wasn’t really clear. Suddenly it’s Beauty and the Beast. It was so damn confusing. I need to note that he did not wear the Spider-Man costume for the ENTIRE second act. He wore a Spider-Man logo sweatshirt and t-shirt. Not joking. Apparently Spidey buys his own merch. In addition there was no final battle with anyone…just this sort of heated discussion culminating with a chaste kiss. Wow. LAAAAAAAME. Cirque de so lame…damn, there I go again. Our final scene is of Peter and MJ, together, though we don’t really care at this point, police sirens are in the distance and MJ prompts him, “Go get ‘em ,tiger.” Curtain falls. It’s funny that she prompts him at all, since he never wears the costume in front of her. Does she actually realize he’s Spider-Man? Maybe it was made clear, but I couldn’t understand through the garbled marble mouth delivery of the lines. “Go get’em tiger…you have a logo sweatshirt…you must be Spider-Man!”  If licensed apparel is all you need to be a super hero and fight crime then hell, I am ready to rumble when I am making eggs in the morning!

So…the whole story is about hubris and Arachne’s redemption…like Darth Vader? Yeah. OK. Or maybe it is about Julie Taymor’s and U2’s hubris. Well, it’s about hubris, that much was clear. And where there is hubris there is tragedy.  Travesty. Disaster. It makes the ill fated X-Men “You know what happens to a toad…” line look like Shakespeare. One woman towards the end actually yelled “This is WORSE than a dress rehearsal!” Some booed, but many remained quiet, showing solidarity in their steely silence. As Mr. Kurtz said, “The horror, the horror.” I’m not sure who this was written for (was it written at all or did someone just vomit on a page?). Comic book fans should take up arms and everyone else just won’t get it or give a rat’s ass. I found myself desperately craving the company of my favorite media companions, Mike and the Bots of MST3K fame, who said it best at the end of Time Chasers. I quote:

Crow: …who do they think this would appeal to, anyway? Elderly squirrels?

Mike:  People without heads?

Crow: Toadstools?

Tom Servo:  Clumps of dirt, maybe?

Mike: Barber poles?

Crow: Coffee tables perhaps?

Tom Servo: Little bits of material that break off plastic trays?

Mike: Used napkins?

Crow: Italians, maybe?

Well, as far as the Italians go, I can tell you there were at least two who were not amused.

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  • http://www.beeteedee.com/ Bee Tee Dee

    So Alice Cooper essentially came up with Human Centipede?

  • CromsFury

    The CURSE continues. . .

    From Playbill.com

    "Natalie Mendoza, who plays the role of Arachne in the new Broadway musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, missed the Dec. 2 performance due to a concussion.

    A spokesperson for the $65 million production was currently unable to confirm how the injury was sustained or when Mendoza will return to the new musical at the Foxwoods Theatre."

    :-(

    Spidey has defeated many villains in his long career as a crime-fighter, who knew that two musicians and a director would give him so much trouble?

  • John McGuire

    So basically Spider-Man is a secondary character in a play about Spider-Man? Looks like Existentialism fails again!

  • eri-chan

    (long-time reader, first time commenter here)

    Well, there's one reason why this show cost the big bucks… that dress that Arachne's wearing looks like a Marchesa original. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v449/wendylady1

  • Peter Lang

    the more i read this review the more pretentious the show sounds. i would not be surprised if taymor really though she could inject a viable meta-narrative into the show and get away with it.

  • Carmen

    @CromsFury

    It is upsetting…as much as her part was dumb, she, as a performer, was wonderful!

    The show shouldn't have happened…obviously it just wasn't safe yet. I feel vey bad for her.

    I think Spider-Man is going to take on the role as the new "Macbeth theatre curse" or in films it would be The Exorcist, wouldn't it?

  • Carmen

    @Bee Tee Dee
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK8QZrJTpoY

    it's a cool concept album. Not quite Human Centipede…but in the liner notes it talks about creating a multi-legged woman. neat.

  • Carmen

    @John McGuire

    Yes. and yes. I was kind-a sitting with my mouth open by the end….

  • Carmen

    @Peter Lang

    It was pretentious in a way James Lipton could only aspire to…

  • Carmen

    @eri-chan

    yeah, except those costumes weren't actually in the production…

  • Kevin J. Raineri

    bravo my dear cousin. (remind me to not have you review any shows i may do in the future)

  • Carmen

    @Kev

    SO long as nothing you do has Kraven "sache,chante"-ing down a runway or a scene that looks like Steve Madden had a clearance sale I think you're ok. :)

  • Dale

    Thank you for actually giving details of the musical within your cynical tirade. You are the first blog on the internet to actually back up your hatred of the musical with sound evidence. For that, I applaud you!

  • dave trainer

    So a spider man show not about spider man, a villain fashion show, and U2…how could they go wrong!?

  • Carmen

    @Dale

    I felt it was essential. I also noticed a lot of other people saying "it sucked!" but not saying why….and the "why" is sooooo funny I can't imagine not sharing it. Thanks very much for the compliment…

  • Carmen

    @dave trainer

    exactly.

  • matthew strife

    WOW…I have been a spidey fan for over 75% of my life, own at least 5,000 web head comic books, and am a hardcore marvel fanatic, I also happen to be an international honor thespian and stage director who has done some off broadway musical theatre in NY but I currently reside in st.louis…being the biggest theatre/spider-man geek there is, I have been counting down the days since I heard about this project. Dreams of an amazing, sensational, spectacular spidey show filled my head for over a year, I couldn't wait to hop on a plane with my gf and see the show….after reading your reveiw (and i'm so thankful that you, a spider-man fan, wrote a detailed and very well written reveiw of the preveiw, I was looking everywhere for a reveiw from an actual comic fan) I have decided not to even waste my time or money to go see somthing that would just tear apart and shit on a hybrid of my two favriote things…sigh…I had a feeling it was going to be bad when Swarm was annonced as one of the bad guy's (and now I hear "proto-goblin", you know the character who's only been in one spider-man comic, is confirmed as one of the bad guys in the new spidey movie reboot)..sigh….this is truely depressing.

    P.S. I noticed Hammer head in the adds for the show, and yet you didn't mention him…were there any othe villians besides the ones you mentioned? Also, just curious, after seeing the preveiw, do you feel compeled as a spidey fan to see it again when it opens and all the technical problems are ironed out?

    P.s.s. You thought it could be a plot by Mystero…lmao

  • Carmen

    No Hammer Head that I saw…but god knows…by opening night there could be any number of changes!
    Ya know while the tech issues were annoying they were NOT my main issue at all. Like I said, some of the wire work was cool, definitely a little buggy, but cool none-the-less. No my issue was with the utter lack of repect towards the source material and the utter crap decisions made. To answer your question if I would see it again…..as a fan HELL NO!…..but as a person who likes "process" and development….NO! Lol
    Honestly if MAJOR MAJOR changes were made I would be interested to see them…but SO much would have to be changed to make it approach being OK, that I doubt it could be done (yes yes I know a lot can happen in previews), and I could not sit through it in the incarnation again.
    Thank you for the warm compliments!

  • Carmen

    Last post was @matthew strife
    And it was supposed to read "in THIS incarnation" not "the"….damn mobile keyboard…..

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