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Dangling Men

‘Spider-Man’ as spectacle and lesson for Broadway.

May 9, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 32 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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Still, there is no question that the actors (including understudies Matthew James Thomas as Spider-Man and Kristen Martin as Mary Jane Watson) pour their hearts out during performances. There are also a few (but not many) memorable ballads, such as “The Boy Falls From the Sky” and “Rise Above.” Bono and the Edge are also writing two more songs. (It’s a shame they can’t somehow plug in a hit like “With or Without You” the way Green Day has incorporated its repertoire in the rock opera American Idiot. Then again, the show wouldn’t be called Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, but rather Spider-Man: Rattle and Hum.)

There is one glimmer of hope: the reaction inside the theater. At the end of the show, the crowd applauded loudly as if in defiance of the critics, and delivered a partial standing ovation. The fact that much of the plot made no sense didn’t seem to bother anyone. Lynn, the woman on my right, wonders if she enjoyed it so much because her expectations were so low. That is not the case, however, with Javian Moronta, from Queens, who says he loved every minute of it and had not a single complaint: “My favorite part was when Spider-Man beat up the Green Goblin,” he tells me.

Granted, Javian is only four years old, but a ticket is a ticket.

Victorino Matus is a senior editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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