So… Our First Good Look at SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK

Yesterday on Good Morning America, Reeve Carney performed a rock song as Spider-Man from the Broadway musical by Bono and the Edge after being introduced by George Stephanopoulos. Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher did not later come out and perform an aria dressed as the Vulture, but if he had, it would not have been any weirder to me than the last sentence I typed. The song, "Boy Falls From the Sky," can be heard below if YouTube leaves it up and at if they don't.


In addition to debuting the song, GMA talked to the songwriters and stars while also showing off the costumes for two characters, the Green Goblin and a new villain called "Swiss Miss," presumably because she is like a Swiss army knife rather than for any marshmallow-related power set.


Spider-Man: Turn Off the Light So I Can't See These Costumes



I am not one of those people who rants about how much a movie is going to suck at the first sign of a behind-the-scenes photo. You can't judge Captain America from a long shot of his stunt cycle. You can't dismiss Iron Man 2 based on a Whiplash publicity still. You don't have any context, you don't know how it's going to be lit… I am a chance-giver and a wait-and-seer.

If I were the sort of person to bash something before it came out, I would very likely be doing it right now. Maybe I just have an overwhelming resistance to seeing Peter Parker earnestly belt out a rock opera, but my spider-sense is tingling hard enough to numb my head right now.

Granted, this looks like nothing more than director Julie Taymor Taymoring around some more. She's done here exactly what people pay her to do. I'm also not someone who demands that everything look exactly like John Romita drew it during the Johnson administration… but what is going on with Norman up there? That outfit could be improved with careful lighting, but by "lighting" in this case I mean "setting it on fire with a torch." I never dreamed I would have Willem Dafoe nostalgia. I'm not prepared to deal with Swiss Miss this afternoon. These could just as easily be costumes from a Joel Schumacher Batman musical.

Am I making too much of this? Does this look better than I think it does? Am I overreacting if seeing Disney's Good Morning America talk about how big and great and exciting Disney's Spider-Man is leaves a yucky, slimy taste in my mouth? What do you make of all this?


  1. I have no frame of reference for Broadway shows, and costumes like those are probably why

  2. I remember seeing those pics of the villains for the first time and thinking:

    This is gonna be better then a movie…..Why?

  3. I was so hopeful for this when I first heard about it sometime around the turn of the century…but listening to that song makes me wonder how I ever imagined Bono and the Edge were going to be writing music that sounded like anything other than…U2 songs.

    That is just *not* a Broadway musical number.  It sounds exactly like the next throwaway hit from U2, which is not a bad thing for a pop album but is very bad for a Broadway show. 

    And the costumes…ugh, so glitzy and over-the-top and not at all like the source material in look or feel.  But I could look past that…if the song were good.

    I still want this to be good, but my hope has waned.

  4. The problem, I think, is that there’s nothing inherently operatic about Spider-Man’s story, and these are very operatic costumes. 

    Also, my major suspension of disbelief issue with 2008’s Liam Neeson thriller TAKEN, was that we were expected to believe an American teenager wanted to follow U2 on their European tour. No one I can think of wants to go *towards* U2. 

  5. Hahahahahahahahahaha!

  6. So many thoughts my head is spinning.

  7. When I first heard that Spider-Man was being adapted for a Broadway musical I almost lost my cookies. But if the avant garde art types of Broadway want a musical, let them have it. The costumes and the set are … well … interesting. With an $850,000 per WEEK operating budget, I can’t imagine what tickets will cost … but with the hype this show is getting, I bet it will be a smash hit.

    Why would anyone not expect the music from a rock opera written by U2 to sound like U2? Why would you expect the music of "Tommy" to not sound like The Who?

    I just want to know if ConAgra is going to sue for trademark infringement. This is bound to have a deleterious effect on the brand name of their hot chocolate.

  8. @PaulMontgomery: Just my opinion, but there is certainly quite a bit operatic in Spidey’s origin story … his Uncle Ben died after he let a crook go. And if Gwen Stacey is Peter Parker’s main love interest, her death at the hands of the Green Goblin would be operatic as well. Think Madame Butterfly …

  9. Fuck it, I’ll go see it.

  10. I, uh…well…it’s really….christ, just hand me the gun.


  11. and Spidey merchandise sales everywhere plummeted today…. thats the first thing that rolls through my head.

  12. I doubt we’re the target audience…

  13. @JumpingJupiter: We absolutely are not the target audience.

  14. @Conor: Please write a review. I’ll be genuinely curious to know what you think of it.

  15. Is it just me or is that some terrible lip synching?

  16. *syncing

  17. It’s like somebody put Spider-man in the blender with the production of Cats and added the B-sides from some U2 albums.  Can’t wait to read the reviews of this show (on iFanboy and in the mainstream press).

  18. At times U2 make me ashamed to be Irish

  19. @Conor- I agree, but who is?

  20. At first I was like, "I’m not even gonna watch that video, I’ve got better things to do," then I was like, "Who are you kidding?"

  21. I would expect if you’re bothering to write a musical that you attempt to stretch your style and to work within the medium.  My favorite musical of all time, Chess, was written by the guys from Abba…the music from Chess sounds nothing at all like the music of Abba.  This song doesn’t feel like a moment from a play…it feels like a concert video from a U2 cover band. 

  22. @ABirdseyeView: People who go see Broadway shows.

  23. That is just god awful.

  24. I know Broadway shows.  You, Mr. "Turn Off the Dark" are no Broadway Show.  I say leave this kind of stuff down in the parks in Florida and free up the stage for something intelligent.

  25. @conor – I go see Broadway shows…

  26. @PaulMontgomery: So do I. "We" = The General Comics Community

  27. @Conor – As someone who goes to see Broadway shows, we are also not the rarer audience. This is so not right from EITHER perspective.

  28. @EbonPinion: I suspect we’ll ind out once tickets go on sale. I will be very curious to see how this goes.

  29. I do enjoy broadway and spidey, but what I see of this makes me really nervous.

  30. Families on vacation might go for it. Parents will want to check out a broadway show while in town. Give the choice, kids will either want to see Wicked or Shrek (is that still running?) or Spider-Man. Or, if they’re cool kids…Avenue Q. 

  31. That Green Goblin costume, and the introduction of Swiss Miss, horrifies me.

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if this somehow manages to bring Broadway show fans into comics.  But I’d be happier if Bono & The Edge stuck to their bloated rock shows, and left Broadway to playwrites who can come up with better lyrics than that trite "fly into the sun" bullshit.   If the world needed a silver-agey musical based on Spider-Man, they should have let Stan Lee script it.

  32. I consider myself a Broadway person.

    This show has been in the works and postponed for years. At one point there were some big broadway stars attached, but they’ve bailed out. Bono has never done a Broadway show before and the last thing Julie Taymor did was a big ‘ol flop. She had one hit with the Lion King.

    If you bring kids to Broadway go see Wicked, Mary Poppins, the Lion King, or Elf. Shrek is closed, but I think it’s touring the country….Addams Family might be good, but I haven’t seen that one.

    Right now they’re just trying to sell advance tickets in order to have some money come in. I’m sure the producers are done shelling out the cash. I’ll go see it, but it’s not an automatic guaranteed hit. They still need a good story, good music, and quality performers if they want to actually make any money on Broadway.

  33. Well, it’s a marketable tune.

  34. Her version of Shakespeare’s Titus is in my top ten movies of all time.

    I am excited for her version of The Tempest as well.

    She has an amazing talent for appealing and provocative visuals as well.

    I ain’t fucking with no Spider-Man opera though . . .

  35. I haven’t listened to the music yet, and despite my passionate love of both musical theater and Marvel comics, I do not have high hopes for this.  But I’m willing to give it a chance.

    However, that Green Goblin costume — did anyone here read the Animorphs books growing up?  Because that is basically my mental image of a Hork-Bajir.

  36. So…. is this in continuity? Thats all that really matters isnt it.



    This is so stupid. Fuck Bono and fuck U2. I havent liked anything since Joshua Tree and this isnt changing anything. And for the guy who said this sounds exactly like another throwaway single from U2, that was dead on. This guy even uses the same inflections and breaks as Bono.


    I just… I just dont see the point… 

  37. It’s still going to be better than Spider-Man 3.

  38. And that Green Goblin costume looks as good as the one from the first Spider-Man movie.

  39. I will go see this, preferably fucked up out of my mind, and enjoy the fuck out of it in a surreal sense.


    I personally would have liked a Ghost Rider musical. It’d be like Grease but with, uhm flaming skulls.

  40. U2 cover band? I resemble that remark! No really. I do.

    I play drums in a U2 tribute band, and I’ve been a lifelong fan. I also read comics. (And I play a doctor on TV?) And man… I just wish I could rub my eyes and make all this go away. I hope I’m wrong, but I think this might be the Sgt Pepper of U2’s career.

    And  by Sgt Pepper, I mean the movie from the 70’s. Starring Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees. Yeah. That.


  41. Spider-Man, I think, has a lot of potential to make for a good musical/rock opera–the actual sheet music from the video sounds very good, which is probably because of The Edge’s involvement, and their Peter does have both the look for the character and the voice for a show like this. 

    What I’m not a fan of is the lyrics and the set design. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t been to Broadway, but, putting aside that one of them’s supposed to be Green Goblin, those costumes look too over the top to possibly exist.

    And the lyrics…someone said it best when the whole thing sounds like a track from U2’s latest album. Even the most inconsequential song in a musical, out of those that I’ve seen, progress the plot in some way, shape or form, or establishing a character’s mood. I think it’s safe to say that it’s not the former, so this is Peter singing about his general mood–and if in his general mood he’s making ham-fisted references to Icarus…

    Yeah, this isn’t looking too well right now. 

  42. I want this to be good because I have my fingers crossed for a "coming of Galactus" musical. 🙂

  43. I have more problems with the music then the costumes.


    Still, kind of agree with Paul, not sure what a broadway musical storytelling could bring to Spider-Man. Kind of wish it was based around a different character. Imagine an Opera based on the Hulk. That could be great, think of the Arias!

  44. Ths was not goinig to be for me from the start:

    1. Not a U2 fan at all – probably one of the most overrated bands of the last 40 years.

    2. Musicals are not my thing.

    3. Did I mention the U2 thing?

    4. If I’m going to NY to see a show, it’s Letterman, the Daily Show, or some film being shot on the streets.

    5. I hate fun.

  45. I’m reserving judgement. Everything is outside of the context it will be seen in. Stage lighting and sets really will change the look of the costumes and the song/music will be performed very differently as a musical. If this does actually open (I’m still very skeptical of that happening for financial reasons) I will go see it.

    Anybody else think that kid looks like pre-haircut Ultimate Peter Parker?

  46. Ok, I listened to the song now, and… wow.  This… this does not fill me with confidence.

    Songs for musical theater live and die by the lyrics.  If the lyrics don’t push the story along, the songs don’t serve the purpose they should.  They need to be more straightforward than other music, well-enunciated and clear.  When musicians write songs for Broadway, they NEED a lyricist who’s used to working in the musical form (like Elton John with Tim Rice); when they don’t get that, this is the disaster that results.

  47. And Robin said " Holy Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman. And wtf"

  48. The edge should give up.

  49. Not down with the anti-U2 comments.

    I don’t think they are the best band in the world, but they have defnitely released essential material after Joshua Tree.

  50. I thought the same thing about the lyrics: "This is a musical. Shouldn’t this song be telling me at least part of a story? Or have clear lyrics?" That, at least, may all make sense in context.

    I don’t agree that it just sounds like a U2 track from their latest album. It sounds like a U2 track from 1995. And there are more than a couple U2 albums in the Ski family compound. No recent ones, mind.

  51. I’m a playwright and a director of theatre and musical theatre for some 15 years now.  In a musical, a song must accomplish something dramatically, which often means moving the plot along.  But they can also serve as character moments, revelatory moments, revealing some truth about the character in questions.  In this way they are very much like soliloquies from a classical piece of drama, ie Shakespeare.  Speaking as a director, I can COMPLETELY see how this song serves dramatic purpose; that’s not even a question to me.  Also, as a lifelong die-hard Spidey fan, I really like the musical riff (or leitmotif; what you will) that has served in the pre-promotional stuff so far and is present in this song that IDENTIFIES Spider-Man in a very accurate way, IMO.  I think the performer reads appropriately for Peter Parker, and I realize, when dealing with theatre (and particularly when dealing with Julie Taymor’s theatre) you can’t judge costuming outside of the arena of light and sound that will accompany it.  She’s already on record as saying that Pete will sing as Pete, but NEVER as Spider-Man; that addresses my big practical concern with the show, which is… how is he supposed to sing in that mask?  ALSO, I hated the subtitle of "Turn Off the Dark" until I heard her describe how she selected it because she thinks that’s Spider-Man’s role in the world, to bring light into the darkness and, essentially, "turn off" the dark.  I kind of dig that.

    Do I think this will work?  I can’t just say "yes" or "no".  I think it’s a gamble and a risk, but kudos to any artist willing to take that gamble or risk.  I think no matter what, "Turn Off the Dark" is not going to be trite, it’s not going to be shallow, and it’s not going to be empty.  It’s going to be art, but it’s likely going to be unlike any Spider-Man story you’ve ever seen.  Whether the core (comics) audience (who they are CLEARLY hoping to snag) accepts that remains to be seen, because as I was just discussing with a fellow fanboy friend tonight: comics fans always want "major changes" in their stories… until those changes happen and they cry for everything to go back to the way it was.

    At the very least, "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will be artfully executed and throughly and meticulously produced.  That doesn’t mean you have to like it… but why pass judgement before you see it?

    @PaulMontgomery – Some people do still follow U2:

    Also, here’s a recent take on "Spider-Man" from a Broadway pro:

    And, here’s an interview with the lead producer behind "Spider-Man" from the NY Times:

    And as for the marriage of comics and theatre… well, (plug plug) I’ve got my own play running right now in NY (last weekend coming up) that’s attempting to do just that:

    I’ll certainly line up to see this.

  52. I just hope this becomes a smash hit, which might lead the way to my ‘Watchmen’ rock opera dreams coming true.

  53. Besides, from that above-quoted NY Times article… I think this here sounds pretty sweet:

    "That spare-no-expense attitude has allowed Ms. Taymor, a Tony Award winner for “The Lion King,” to pursue her vision of expansive aerial battles between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, swinging at 40 miles an hour to landing spots on the mezzanine and balcony levels. The show will have about 150 pieces of moving scenery and a three-dimensional set that looks like a pop-up New York." 

  54. What’s sad about this is that I’ve heard Carney and I kind of like them?  I’m sure Reeve could do a lead in a musical.  But this sounds like a U2 cover band with that overproduced background sound — I love U2 from ‘back in the day’ but even then they were never about telling a story with lyrics.  Hmmph.

    (I’m serious about ‘Watchmen’, though.  Also, ‘Chimes at Midnight’). 


  55. There’s ya problem, it has U2 doing the music. One of the most overhyped bands of all time. Listen to those lyrics, then listen to the lyrics of their music today. Absolutely atrocious.

    Seriously if I was a kid and this thing was my first exposure to Spider-Man……I probably wouldn’t be reading comics right now. 

  56. I really admire U2 but I do worry that this project, like the recent World Cup theme, shows the boys may have lost the magic touch last heard on "It’s a beautiful day"…if edge isn’t the most influential rock guitarist of the last 20 years I’d like to know who is.  U2 is in the rock pantheon at the same level as The Who, the Eagles, AC/DC, a half step behind Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, and of course they all look up to the Beatles.  Dats da fact Jack and history will bear me out.

  57. man…those costumes.  taken out of context, most of her costuming/puppetry for the lion king looks pretty crazy, too.  i’m clinging to that. 

  58. I listen to something off ‘Rattle & Hum’ almost every day.  That doesn’t make this song any better.

  59. Not for me thanks, not that there is ever any chance this will show in the UK.

    Also. U2 are not on the same level as The Who or AC/DC, they aren’t even in the same league. 

  60. As an artist myself, and being a huge fan of ALL of Julie Taymor’s work, I think this looks exactly like what I expected. If this was, everyone would have been harping on her unique vision of the Bard’s plays decades ago in much the same manner as I’m hearing here and now about this.

    Obviously, this show is not going to be for the average comic book reader, but more for the crossover audience of people who know what Spider-Man is and people who enjoy grand, avant garde theater. This is just Julie Taymor doing exactly what she is known for doing, and honestly, I think it’s somewhat representative of a comic book property entering the cultural annals inhabited by Shakespeare and other important crafters of staged art and entertainment.

    It’s also pretty impressive to hear about the mid air battles that she plans on staging, and having seen what she is capable of, it should be pretty cool.

  61. I am sort of terrified of the idea of iShakespearefanboy (but would be all over that).

    I don’t think, though, that saying Julie Taymor is an innovative Shakespearean director automatically means that this is awesome and anybody who doesn’t get it is a philistine.  And cynically, I’m not sure that ‘avant-garde’ is what they’re going for so much as ‘the Lion King made a lot of money and people still go to U2 concerts, for some reason.’

  62. I’m not saying THIS is avant-garde, it certainly isn’t for Taymor at least, just that that’s the audience they’re targeting. Also, at no point did I say this is awesome, just that I’m a fan of her work, and this looks like typical Julie Taymor so far. Bono was cool in her film Across the Universe, so that too seems to add up to something good, but then again, I used to say that about Russel Crow in Ridley Scott movies. Then I saw Body of Lies.

  63. Well, I don’t think anyone’s saying this is going to be automatically awesome.  Just that, by the same regard, it’s not going to be automatically awful.  It’s art.  Art is subjective.  Some people think U2 is amazing.  Some people think U2 are terrible.  Neither opinion is right, or wrong.  Sadly, though, we are a fanbase that is far too often prone to snap judgments, even as we decry the snap judgments others make about comic books.

  64. Oh, and not that I love U2, but:

    "U2 have released 12 studio albums and are among the most critically and commercially successful groups in popular music. They have won 22 Grammy Awards,[3] more than any other band,[4] and they have sold more than 150 million records.[5] In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine ranked U2 at number 22 in its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".[6] "

    We should all be such miserable failures.  Clearly, like them or not (and a lot or people seem to like them) they’ve left their very large mark on the musical landscape.  You don’t sell 150 million records and have a 34-year long career on hype alone. 

  65. Opinions are not equal. People are wrong sometimes.

    I’m not a fan of a lot of artists and bands, but I’m also a student of music and history; therefore, I can respect an album or artist while not liking it because I understand the historical importance and influence.

    So when cats get on here saying U2 is a terrible band, I know they are wrong.

    Their songwriting is probably some of the best rock/pop songwriting in the history of music.

    They have one of the stronger catelogues in music.

    On the other hand, I can recognize that some of their music can be boring (even a bit cheesy in a couple cases) and Edge’s playing can be canabilistic.

  66. @ScorpionMasada: I agree with you.  And the point that you can respect something because of its place in a branch of art history even if it’s not to your personal taste is a good one.

    The phrase "U2 is a terrible band" is not a defensible statement; the history of rock and roll tells us otherwise, and anyway to say "U2 is a terrible band is to attempt to pass off a subjective opinion as a fact, which is an inappropriate thing to do.  

    However, the phrase "I think U2 is a terrible band" is a statement of fact that cannot be taken away from the opinion holder, because they are simply declaring what there own definite opinion on the subject is.

    Also, as you point out, this is not a case of "sucks" or "doesn’t suck".  Art is not judged in black and white, but in shades of all colors.  Good post.

  67. Me no like.

  68. Me no like (And I’ll like most things Spider-Man)

    I’ve seen a better Spider-Man play I think at Six Flags sometime after the first movie.  It had swinging over the live audience, fighting, Mary Jane, singins, bad guys, explosions.  It was good.  And low budget, just talent.

    This song on youtube was bad: FACT.  The 1970s Spider-Man album is better, and that was cheesy, yet musically impressive. 

    I’ve seen Julie Taymor’s play "Lion King" on Broadway in NYC.  I fell asleep, no lie.  Though it was visually spectacular, nearly indescribable as far as visuals go, BUT…the animated movie was better: FACT.

    Just like the Spider-Man movie will always be better, or the best incarnation of the Spider-Man mythos. (Until the "Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon)

    I’ll watch this play and enjoy it, what’s not to enjoy about some fun stuff?  It just won’t be worthy of "Spider-Man" as a concept.  Nor will casual male fans like it.  In fact they may hate it/mock it.

  69. SPIDER-MAN, Turn ON the dark….Because I don’t want to see you in this way.

  70. @ScorpionMasada – To say that the claim that U2 are a terrible band is wrong, is itself wrong. That is the subjective part. If someone were to say that U2 were terrible AT BEING a band, then they would be wrong. In every way that a band’s success can be measured, they have excelled. I personally think they used to be good, but are now bad, however, their skill at producing music for a living has objectively improved.

  71. If South Park has taught us anything, it’s that Bono is the largest turd to exist on Earth.

  72. @KickAss – "The song on YouTube was bad: FACT… I’ve seen Julie Taymor’s play "Lion King" on Broadway… the animated movie was better:FACT."

    Just because you said it in ALL CAPS doesn’t make those subjective opinions factual statements.

    @ActualButt – Scorpion said: "So when cats get on here saying U2 is a terrible band, I know they are wrong."  That is indeed an incorrect statement.  Not because U2 is so good, but because it’s an opinion posing as fact which is incorrect.  Scorpion than offered evidence as to why he believes U2 is NOT a terrible band.  That’s all you can do when supporting an opinion.

    I think I’ll stop having this argument now… I feel like a dog chasing my tail.  I just find it ironic that we as a fanbase always want people to take comics "seriously" and we want people to see that there’s more to comics than they think there is, but then we go ahead and summarily dismiss something as "awful" before we’ve really seen any of it.  Costumes propped up parade in front of blue screens are not the same as costumes being worn by actors performing in a play with stage lights and atmosphere and rehearsal and training.

  73. Costumes suck, song doesn’t sound very B-way, this thing will tank.

    But, to rebut an earlier point, Spider-man is an operatic story. If you’ve seen may operas, just go over Spidey’s origin in your mind, you’ll totally see it! 

  74. Of course, you are all wrong. Objectively wrong.

    Music: Yes. Theatre: Yes. Musical Theatre?! Nooooooo!

    Just because a band has all the hall marks of success does not give them artistic merit. Just because a band has guitars and drums and bass and a jerky frontman, does not make them a rock band.

    These are all facts. Not as I see them, but as they are. You are all simply deluded by the mass media into thinking that their chosen forms of expression are valid when they are not.

    When my people rise up and destroy the twin evils of U2 and Musical Theatre you will all be released from your mass delusion! You may mock me now, but soon you will all be praising me! 

  75. i debated the wisdom of that last post and then thought, "y’know what? Fuck it. Its the internet, whats the worst that can happen?"