Well I couldn't hold back. After going to Spider-man on 1/1/11, I had to return for Spider-Man 2.0 to see what changes they have done. And actually...WOW! Unlike other blogs and some news sources that have given every nuance of the show away (and were cleverly blasted in the new version), I won't go into detail. But I will say the book has been greatly altered by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (who has written for Marvel comics) to give it more play and fun as well as more...well, a story. We actually are shown action instead of a "geek chorus" telling us what happened (as those 4 students were cut). Gone are the issues I originally had with feeling as if the true story of Peter Parker was non existent. The family dynamics have been enhanced with the aunt & uncle gaining many new scenes (as well as his relationship with Mary Jane) and the Green Goblin has become the villain that he should have been all along.
I have to say how pleasantly shocked I was how much I enjoyed it this time. (Yes....the neigh-sayers read that correctly. I liked it!) It proves that story is important and director Philip Wm McKinley has much to do with those new changes from his pacing to moving scenes around and eliminating much of the Julie Taymor character that confused so many: the spider woman. While many were quick to attack Ms. Taymor, I still believe she has a mind like no other. The visuals she created (much that have stayed) are stunning to look at. It was unfortunate that she couldn't get out of her own way to let this story live and grow. Too much time was spent on a mythical character that obviously she was drawn to, but now in the new incarnation - makes much more sense than in version 1. The score (for me) is still not a musical theatre score - however, on a second listen, I was able to remember some of the songs from the first time around and there are several good tunes in the show that make sense in the new order and with a new lead in.
Because Chris Tierney became the face of the show after his accident, it was great seeing him on stage again. In the ensemble, your eyes go to him because we recognize those long locks. And as Spidey, you can sense he is having the time of his life flying around. I was fortunate to get to see the alternate Peter Parker (since Reeve Carney is in LA to sing on American Idol tomorrow). I love Matthew James Thomas. For me, he is Peter Parker. He is quirky, yet adorable and has a wonderful voice. I'm so glad I got to catch him because I honestly feel he added more of the spark I was feeling from this performance. Act II is pretty much completely new and is now such a fun spectacle that I actually left this time on a high that I did not experience the first time. This show will entertain tourists either in NYC or when it goes on the road - and at last it is a spectacle that includes a story that the audience can recognize and root for.