So I have still not seen Spider-man. I have tickets to go sometime in mid-July, and this time I plan to actually go, rather than postpone it again. So I can't yet tell you whether Cirque Du Soleil's new Zarkana is ripping off Spider-man, or if it just happens to have a dude who flies across the theater along with a giant spider-villainess. I can't tell whether or not if the red-caped man (magician?), angrily strutting around and singing Frank-Wildhorn-esque songs, has a much much better score to go off of than Bono and The Edge's. I can't tell you whether it's way, way, way better than Spider-man yet, because I plainly have no idea.
I can say that this is the third Cirque du Soleil show I've attended, and it's the only one I can recommend.
I'd also love to tell you which other ones I've attended, but because these shows all have ridiculous names my attempts at internet researching may be incorrect, like many people find especially if they are distracted by playing Partypoker.fr or chatting to friends on a social networking site. The first one may have been "Corteo", which set up a tent on Randall's Island, and the second one may have been a tour of "Saltimbanco" passing through an arena in Trenton, NJ. Neither of the two were memorable, and I assumed at the time that I'd likely be more impressed by the non-touring higher-end "sit-down" Vegas-style productions because of how they can meld the sets and the acts to the specific space.
And in exactly that way, Zarkana pleases. The acrobatics, death-defying stunts, contortionists, even the clowns (for the most part) easily beat out the combined best of the other two shows. There's also a storyline of course... something about a dude singing in anguish for some woman he loves while being musically tortured by a snake woman and a spider woman. It doesn't matter--Radio City Music Hall has been transformed into a pretty awesome circus full of gorgeous sets, costumes, a feast for the eyes. You're not just watching some crazy and amazing acrobatics, you're watching some crazy and amazing acrobatics while people sing angrily and the stage fills with additional performers doing random movements to add flavor. And those projections--I mean, yes, sometimes you're wondering why the hell there are suddenly eyeballs everywhere, but the additional scenery the projections provide bring such gothic feeling and character to the stage. And also characters--at various points, you have to concentrate to figure out which onstage people are real and which are projected, which eventually leads to infinity of circus performers before your very eyes. It works. It's the same circus stuff you've seen your whole life, but these people are the best of the best, and with so much endless stuff going on up there, you couldn't possibly be bored.
Except for the woman who climbs into a globe and turns into a 4-armed baby. I have no idea what the hell that was. That's what happens when you let Cirque du Soleil run amuck: it's all really interesting and entertaining and moody, but lord help you if you try to make sense of any of it.