Josh Wilding Reviews: SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK

That's right, I travelled all the way to New York to see it so that you don't have to! However, is Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark really as bad as we've all so often heard and assumed? Well, hit the jump to read my in-depth verdict!

Follow Josh:
By Josh Wilding - 4/3/2013

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark was a disaster from the start, but here we are three years later and it finally seems to all be up and running without a hitch on Broadway. However, while there may no longer be any technical issues or nasty injuries to speak of, it is still a complete and utter mess. Despite hiring comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to help improve the musical, it's impossible to escape the fact that this was clearly put together by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the comic books that the Marvel character was created in and simply wanted to tell a love story which we've seen countless times in the past. Anything and everything Spider-Man related is lazily just copied and pasted - and not very successfully - from the first two Sam Raimi movies.

Perhaps the biggest change is the nonsensical inclusion of Arachne; I'm not sure what she's supposed to signify, but there's absolutely no reason for her presence in this musical other than to warble the equally baffling titular song. Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark also offers up a very different take on Norman Osborn, which DOES work in some ways, but ultimately leaves us with a silly pantomime villain whose motivations are as ridiculous as the Sinister Six he creates. While his creating them does help remove the need for any complicated backstories, they have zero personality and are simply dispatched by Spidey with a bit of webbing. I know this is a musical, but it far too often stretches believability and that ultimately cheapens the impact of almost the entire thing.

The first act of Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is actually quite good, and although it seems to promise an action-packed second half, that ends up mostly consisting of just a bunch of repetitive songs that all sound the same. There are still a fair few catchy ones to be fair ("Bouncing off the Walls", "Pull The Trigger" and "A Freak Like Me Needs Company" for example) and the cast clearly have a lot of fun. At my performance, Jamison Scott was standing in for Reeve Carney and he made for a great Peter Parker. Robert Cuccioli was also fantastic as (a Southern!) Norman Osborn, while Rebecca Faulkenberry delivered a suitably spunky and convincing take on Mary Jane Watson. Vocally, this trio took on the majority of songs and were all very good.

Perhaps the biggest draw of this musical is the fact that Spidey actually swings across the stage and audience. There's nowhere near enough of these moments, but when they do come, they're brilliantly handled and great fun for the audience (it's particularly cool to see one of the stuntmen dressed in the costume high fiving and fist bumping the kids in the front row of the upper tier before taking off). However, some clever choreography, a handful of catchy songs and some pretty costumes and sets can't help Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark when the story is such a mess. There's simply not enough Spider-Man and recycling a clichéd love story as well as ripping off far too many elements from the movies just end up making it feel utterly boring in places. Oh, and we get it already - enough with the U2 jokes!

It should hardly come as a surprise to learn that Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark is yet another botched retelling of the origin story of this beloved character and a thoroughly underwhelming example of a musical.




DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE.
0
LIKE!
45 Comments
1 2
blvdnoise - 4/3/2013, 2:00 PM
Ouch..
jerryblake - 4/3/2013, 2:05 PM
finally someone shed some light for me on this matter.
I heard about Arachne before, and the whole "focus on love story thing", but never knew Sinister Six is in it as well.

Good that they fix up some things too. It was about time.
Little late to rewrite the screenplay though.
Anyway, good review.
RidiculousFanBoyDemands - 4/3/2013, 2:05 PM
Should have gone to see the Book of Mormon instead Mr. Wilding.
jerryblake - 4/3/2013, 2:09 PM
p.s. i guess this is what you get when you hire a person who is unknown to the source material. Or (maybe) don't give a shit about source material at all (just sayin)
Lindsey35 - 4/3/2013, 2:13 PM
Thank God for TASM!
DrDoom - 4/3/2013, 2:16 PM
@Lindsey

No
DrDoom - 4/3/2013, 2:16 PM
But thanks for the review Josh
Kingdork - 4/3/2013, 2:16 PM
That blond-haired woman behind Spidey seems to be having the time of her life.
Xandera - 4/3/2013, 2:16 PM
No surprises here...
Darantino - 4/3/2013, 2:17 PM
Snap, I spotted the Green Goblin on the right of Spideys head! :D
sephiroth211 - 4/3/2013, 2:19 PM
I thought this show would never see the light of day what with all the accidents and crap.

DrDoom - 4/3/2013, 2:20 PM
@Darantino

OMGLOL thanks for pointing that out.
Her face is priceless
DrDoom - 4/3/2013, 2:21 PM
You didn't know that Levi?
MrMartinMarvel - 4/3/2013, 2:21 PM
Still beter than TASM.
valeriesghost - 4/3/2013, 2:24 PM
damn. I hope the tickets didn't cost all that much.
113 - 4/3/2013, 2:26 PM
That musical is still around?
Asterisk - 4/3/2013, 2:26 PM
As RFBD said, should've seen Book of Mormon.

DrDoom - 4/3/2013, 2:26 PM
It probably isn't, Levi.
Nemeres - 4/3/2013, 2:28 PM
"It's yet another botched retelling of the origin story of this beloved character and a thoroughly underwhelming example..."



LordOfTheZegaRealm - 4/3/2013, 2:43 PM
I thought this got cancelled.
ComicFan1134 - 4/3/2013, 2:48 PM
Nomis Has A Badass Avatar, I Remember That Show,LOL!
Pending - 4/3/2013, 2:54 PM
Story is a mess, cliched love story, ripping off elements from other movies, Hmm sounds just like TASM.
pro346 - 4/3/2013, 2:57 PM
Actually last time I heard this was doing big business ....raking In the cash$$$
Sosa4693 - 4/3/2013, 3:09 PM
I actually went to see this show. It truly is your run of the mill Broadway love story. Th music was crap, characters were crap, story was complete crap. The only redeeming quality for the show was the acrobatics. This show is equivalent to Batman and Robin in suckiness.
RetroFit - 4/3/2013, 3:10 PM
Is that Breaking Bad in the brown jacket behind Spidey? Awesome! And yeah, that blonde lady appears to be having THE time of her life! hahaha
StrangerX - 4/3/2013, 4:05 PM
*smh* I can't believe you flew all the way to the states to see that.
TheGreenNinja - 4/3/2013, 4:13 PM
I saw this in NY , I didn't like that "other" stuff. But after some drinks and gonna go to a show, why not spider man. Its like pizza even when its bad its OK.
dicktrickle - 4/3/2013, 5:11 PM
Spiderman the musical! Hahaha! I thought it was a play. A goddamn musical! Who's the guy with the Spiderman avatar that keeps saying "dc is for fags"? I guess musicals are for marvel. \m/
REDSTORM - 4/3/2013, 5:43 PM
Sad thing is I'd still pay to see it. It can't be any worse than Jesus Christ: Superstar.
CalebH92 - 4/3/2013, 6:01 PM
@valeriesghost yes, tickets are expensive. I saw the first preview version in March 2011. Bought TWO seats for $300 bucks in the coveted "Flying Circle." Two years later, those same seats go for $300 A PIECE!

The show, while it may seem terrible to us, is raking in the dough because little kids want to see it. They don't care about the story or the songs, all they care about is Spider-Man flying off of the stage and around the house. So, I don't see Spider-Man closing any time soon.
Shadowelfz - 4/3/2013, 6:02 PM
What's Walt 'Heisenberg' Whitman doing behind Spiderman?
TheRaven20 - 4/3/2013, 6:13 PM
Did they have the villain "Swiss Miss"? I heard a rumour there was some made up villain named "Swiss Miss' and that she was ridiculously stupid. Or is that Arachne?
sethasa - 4/3/2013, 6:30 PM
Spider-Man allows Broadway to present a modern take on the the some of the magical production elements of Broadway's Peter Pan from 30 years ago. Spider-Man also has NYC roots, which gives the idea a concrete home on Broadway.

There are a few wonderful Broadway shows, even straight-up theme park type spectacles, that truly deserve accolade. Peter and the Starcatcher, Billy Elliot, Once, The Lion King, etc. But Turn Off The Dark seems to only move on money and kind of hurts me inside both as a theatre artist and as a sci-fi comic book dork. I really wanted it to work and it really didn't for me.

But to each his own. I know other people who really enjoyed it. Either way, kudos to the cast and crew who work this complex production.
beane2099 - 4/3/2013, 6:52 PM
I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it. I was flabbergasted when I found out it wasn't. But what's more surprising is that this is still ongoing. What the hell? Also, is that Brian Cranston in the sudience?
flames809 - 4/3/2013, 7:24 PM
I wanted to walk out when I saw it.. Thank god for the amazing Spider-Man... But some song were good
RexDartEskimoSpy - 4/3/2013, 8:23 PM
You came here to NY and didn't stop by and visit? I'd buy you a pint!
DioFoRio - 4/3/2013, 8:43 PM
You came to NY just to see SpiderMan-TotD(thats what us cool kids call it)?; ) Hope the rest of your stay was better duder!
DioFoRio - 4/3/2013, 8:44 PM
they should scrap the musical part and just do an action show.
Robert - 4/3/2013, 10:25 PM
I live near this Spider-Man play and I wouldn't dare see that crap.
superbatspiderman - 4/3/2013, 10:32 PM
Why is Walter White (Breaking Bad) behind Spider-Man in the image at the top of the article?
1 2

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.