Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a high-octane, thrilling adventure through New York City’s darkest hour. While definitely not perfect, Spidey has a lot of things going for it. It’s brilliantly creative use of the stage and fantastic directing by Julie Taymor make it a worthwhile experience despite some major plot holes and a forgettable soundtrack. Is this the web-slinging adventure we paid for or are our Spidey senses malfunctioning? Let’s find out!
As stated earlier,Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is a visual treat. Spidey glides from one side of the stage to the other and the aerial fight scenes look absolutely amazing. The critics weren’t kidding when they said that it takes your breath away. The last battle involving a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin took place on the Chrysler Building, and Taymor’s ability to stage the fight certainly deserves applause.
However, there are many aspects of Spidey’s Broadway debut that take away from it being all it could be; the most noticeable of which is Taymor’s addition of unnecessary characters. Arachne, Emily Oswald, and the entire Sinister Six could have been taken out of the script completely since they were all thin, irrelevant, and in some cases, annoying.
The biggest let-down for me was the soundtrack. I have been thoroughly surprised with Broadway music recently from How to Succeed in Business’ 50’s jazz to the nostalgic roar of The Lion King. I can agree that writing music for a superhero is challenging but the score, written by Bono and the Edge, felt like a giant U2 commercial. Take a listen to “Bouncing Off The Walls” and you can see how heavily U2 focused on incorporating its own distinctive style rather than contributing to the story of the musical. Green Goblin’s ringtone was “Beautiful Day”, the dance music at the nightclub was “Vertigo”, and there were tons of homages to the band’s members as well.
Another pet peeve I had with the play was Peter Parker himself. He is just unlikeable. One of the most unique aspects of the Spider-Man franchise is how down to earth Peter Parker is. He’s not a hotshot billionaire or a dashingly handsome mutant. He’s an admirable college kid with a true passion for helping those in need. The Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark dressed like a total hipster, avoided every charming aspect of Maguire’s Parker, and overeacted to the point where you want to root for the enemy. However, as for the other characters, the casting is spot on. Patrick Page steals the show as The Green Goblin while incorporating aspects of other famous super-villains like Lex Luthor and the Joker.
If you are forced to pay full price to see Spidey, I would recommend checking something else out. However, if you can snag cheap tickets, I highly recommend going just to be delighted by the musical’s visuals. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark clearly believes in bringing the play directly to the audience, meaning Spidey and the Goblin will be going at it just inches away from you!
To find out more, visit Spidey’s official site at