Creator's Pet: Arachne, to the point where Taymor compared cutting any of her songs or scenes to a mastectomy. Needless to say, after Taymor was fired Arachne's part was gutted, turning her into The Artifact.
The Goblin trying to leave a message on the Daily Bugle's answering machine. The message itself is an over the top threat to Spider-Man. What helps it is when Goblin is put on hold and a U2 song plays- cue an Aside Glance.
The paper boy repeating said threat in the exact same way the Goblin said it.
The Goblin attaches a note for Jameson on a pumpkin and leaves it in his office:
Dancing Bear: A lot of people admittedly went to see this because of the fact that it's a musical based on a superhero. Earlier on in the play's production, people went to see it because of the negative reception the play was getting.
Ear Worm: If you're looking for a night out on the town/you just found me...
Growing the Beard: The play is considered to have improved significantly after it was overhauled, cutting out elements that were widely hated and adding more content to the things that people liked. The biggest change would be from switching the Big Bad from Arachne (a Creator's Pet) to The Green Goblin (an Ensemble Darkhorse).
Harsher in Hindsight: One of the songs is called "The Boy Falls From The Sky". Given the accidents going on during production...
Even harsher when you realize the infamous 30 foot fall that happened during previews occurred in the scene right after this song.
Loophole Abuse: The long, long, preview run led some to speculate that the producers were deliberately avoiding ever debuting the show, in order to exploit a tradition that theater critics won't issue reviews until after opening night. This eventually failed them, as the critics decided that was what they were doing and reviewed the previews.
So Bad, It's Good: The original version's previews all sold out very quickly based solely on this principle. A widely-panned 65 million dollar avant-garde trainwreck is worth seeing, to say the least. The epitome of this in the original version of the play was a sequence where Arachne has a musical number based around shopping.
So Okay, It's Average: This seems to be the general consensus among critics, at least in regards to the final version. Some critics have warmed up to it, though.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In theory, comparing Spider-Man to the myth of Arachne isn't a bad idea. Both characters are related to spiders, and both characters are undone by their own hubris. Arachne was punished for believing herself greater then the gods, and Spider-Man lost his uncle because his pride kept him from stopping an easily preventable tragedy. Except here, Uncle Ben isn't killed by the burglar: he's killed by a random car accident that Spidey had nothing to do with. Because of that, the deeper meaning of their connection is lost. The second version corrected this, at least; Uncle Ben is killed by a carjacker, not a random accident, and the carjacker is (of course) the criminal Spider-Man could have stopped.
What Could Have Been: The original plot didn't have Arachne function as Peter's Spirit Advisor, but the actual Arachne from the Greek legend as the Big Bad rather than Green Goblin, with Gobby getting killed off at the end of the first act. Arachne was also the leading lady. She had a song about trying on shoes and a very blatantly Foe Yay-laden scene where she sneaks into Peter's room and sings Turn Off the Dark. She also had two master plans, either of which she would have been perfectly fine with: either have Peter fall in love with her, or have him kill her. Either way, she's freed from her curse.