Worst Reviews Ever? Spider-Man Musical Gets Slammed

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Seriously, mainstream media: why don’t you let us know what you really think?

The reviews are in for the hitherto cursed Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, and they ain’t pretty. The $65 million musical — thought to be the most expensive in history — is being directed by Julie Taymor and has music by U2’s Bono and The Edge. But despite the heavyweight backing, it’s infamously suffered from one bad thing after another in the build up to its March 15 opening.

(More on TIME.com: See the top 10 plays and musicals of 2010)

And the injuries suffered on stage can now be matched by the vicious words penned by some of the country’s most notable critics, who could wait no longer to make their feelings felt. Teeing off was the New York Times‘s Ben Brantley and, frankly, where do we begin? “Only when things go wrong in this production does it feel remotely right,” he noted, along with other pleasantries such as, “sheer ineptitude,” “it may also rank among the worst (musical),” and, “is so grievously broken in every respect that it is beyond repair.”

But that’s merely the tip of this particular iceberg (and how apt that word is). The Washington Post (“a shrill, insipid mess”), the Los Angeles Times (“an artistic form of megalomania”), the Chicago Tribune (“incoherent”), Variety (“sketchy and ill-formed”) and New York magazine (“underbaked, terrifying, confusing”) have all weighed in, which in turn has led to a different debate.

There is a school of thought that suggests that, no matter how horrific Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark seems to be, these publications have broken an ethical code in reviewing it before its official opening date. “This pile-on by the critics is a huge disappointment,” said Rick Miramontez, spokesman for the show. “Changes are still being made and any review that runs before the show is frozen is totally invalid.”

(More on TIME.com: See more on the Spider-Man musical and its problems)

Those in favor of breaking the unofficial rule maintain that because the notorious incidents that have befallen the show have become a news story in their own right, the early reviews can be justified. And it’s also believed that the show’s record-breaking preview period and the cost of tickets (a single seat can be in the ballpark of $300) has frustrated a media keen to make their opinions heard.

But then again, how seriously should we take the Washington Post‘s write-up when you consider that they watched an understudy play the part of Peter Parker instead of the main actor Reeve Carney? Former Bloomberg critic John Simon has argued that acting in this fashion is akin to, “grabbing a dish from a restaurant kitchen before it is fully cooked.”

But whether there’s anyone left who wishes to taste this particular piece of popular culture must now be in serious doubt. (via AP)