Turn it off… TURN IT OFF!
Previously 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?
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 Peter’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?
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.