In the no-big-surprise department, the New York Times finally decided enough already with the postponed openings and reviewed "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," even though the costly musical remains officially in previews. I doubt he'll be the only mainstream critic to break the 'rule.'
Also in the no-big-surprise department, Ben Brantley dismissed this ill-fated show as "not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway," but one that "may also rank among the worst."
I can already hear Glenn Beck, an ardent champion of the production, sharpening his claws for use against the elite press. But, really, was it ever possible that a $65 million musical could turn out to be fabulous when it couldn't open remotely on time, when it kept being plagued by accidents, and when the only real buzz it generated was about those two attributes?
Hey, maybe Brantley
is way off base. Maybe other critics will swear that this is a great, noble, hugely entertaining effort. But I've always suspected that "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" was destined to take its place of dishonor on the walls of Joe Allen Restaurant on W. 46th St., where failed Broadway shows are immortalized. I guess my skepticism comes from reading about too many other things that were just too grand for their own good -- unsinkable ships, banks too big to fail.
I also think our obsession with techno gadgetry has gone way overboard. A musical that needs so much visual stuff crammed into it is bound to prove hollow on the inside. As Brantley points out, even the flying stuff isn't so special in "Spider-Man" -- "Aren't they doing that just across the street in 'Mary Poppins'?"
It will be interesting to see what happens next with this unlucky production.