Thugs, mob bosses, criminal masterminds — Spider-Man has bested them all before. But the web-slinging superhero might’ve finally met his ultimate match in the theater critics who are slamming the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, now in previews at the Foxwoods Theatre. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Variety are among the news outlets that have weighed in on the high-profile production over the past 24 hours, breaking with Broadway tradition by ignoring the show’s official March 15 opening date. Many of the critics noted that Feb. 7 was Spider-Man‘s scheduled debut before the most recent postponement — just the latest bump in the road for the accident-plagued musical, which also happens to be the most expensive in Broadway history. Check out their thoughts after the jump!
“Spider-Man is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst.” –Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Julie Taymor’s $65-million, accident-prone production, featuring an erratic score by U2’s Bono and The Edge, is a teetering colossus that can’t find its bearings as a circus spectacle or as a rock musical.” — Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times
“[The] story… is sketchy and ill-formed. Some of the dialogue, by Taymor and Glen Berger, seems ad-libbed on the spot and there are a couple of big holes in the story.” — Steven Suskin, Variety
“[A]n underwhelming score is the least of the show’s worries. What really sinks it is the borderline incoherence of its storytelling… For rubberneckers eager to see what the fuss is about, there may be enough noisy spectacle here to convince them they’ve seen something. But when this amount of time and money is tossed at a show, even demanding theatergoers should be awed, not bored.” — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“The 8-year-old boys in the audience might be able to key on the Cirque du Soleil-style stunts on wires and video-game graphic elements, and probably not worry too much that Spider-Man is a tangle of disjointed concepts, scenes and musical sequences that suggests its more appropriate home would be off a highway in Orlando. Come to think of it, the optimal audience might be non-English-speaking.” — Peter Marks, The Washington Post
“The second act, taken all in all, is basically how I’ve always imagined the Björk–Matthew Barney honeymoon: lots of atavistic rock-moaning, lots of 40-story phallic symbols, lots of bees.” — Scott Brown, New York Magazine
UPDATE: For those of us who are more visually inclined (read: lazy), one creative YouTube user has come to the rescue with a video round-up of the zingiest critical barbs intercut with clips and music from the 1967 animated series. Check it out!