written by David Skale
I got the call to arms last week, when Richard and Sarah Woloski of Skywalking Through Neverland Podcast asked me to be their eyes and ears for reviewing MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE! I jumped at the chance, as I’m always up for some good super-hero fun! I invited my niece, Sarah Barukh (age 17) to join me, and together, we prepared for our adventure.
The lobby area was decked out! They were selling everything superhero you could imagine. T-shirts, toys, action figures, show prequel comic books, more t-shirts. They had Captain America shields. They had Green Goblin Masks. They had cups shaped like Spiderman’s head which opened to reveal a snow cone (it looked like you were eating Spidey’s brain… not sure what they were thinking with this one).
We made our way to our seats. We were fifth row back in the center of the arena. AWESOME SEATS!! I noticed that the average age of others who came to the show looked to be between 6 and 10 years old. Many were dressed in costume. Some had their faces painted. We should fit right in!
MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE! had a full house – there were very few empty seats. Even the nose-bleed seats were full. Richard, Sarah and I had seen BATMAN LIVE a few years before. The arena for that show was almost completely empty. Once again, Marvel has managed to squash DC!
The entire arena floor was used for the performance, and the back of the arena had a huge wall that was used to project images. There was some sort of stage in the middle of the floor. The lights dimmed, and the narrator explained the back story.
Plot Synopsis: Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and The Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) plus menacing Villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza debuting in Southern California for the first time ever – playing The Forum/Inglewood May 1-3.
Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel icons together on one awesome quest. The Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe.
Feel the energy and excitement with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and stunning video projections that completely immerse the audience into the epic action and story. Nearly two years in the making, Marvel Universe LIVE! is being hailed as the most technically advanced and innovative live touring shows ever (in the more than 40 year history of Feld Entertainment). Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance…the fate of the Universe depends on it!
Our hero team is made up of Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Falcon, Spiderman, Black Widow, Bruce Banner / Hulk, and Wolverine. Our villains are: Loki, Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Oc, The Lizard, Red Skull, Madam Hydra, Killian, Electro, Black Cat, and some other fun bad guys.
There were some amazing stunt fights with heroes flying through the air on wires. My favorite part was when Dr. Killian walks out completely engulfed in flames (that’s right… REAL FIRE) to battle the heroes!
The second battle was between Thor and Spiderman against the Green Goblin, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, the Lizard, as well as Black Cat and Electro. This scene was set inside of the Statue of Liberty. A combination of special effects and wire work (allowing the action to take place in the air) made this a lot of fun.
The final confrontation was between Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon against Red Skull and madam Hydra. Most of the characters rode motorcycles, with the battle sporting some amazing stunt work on the bikes. MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE! didn’t hold back! It builds and builds until a certain green Superhero makes an appearance!
As for my take- I thought they did a great job bringing the comic book world to life. For such a large ensemble cast, I felt like I got my fill of the main characters. The effects were great, and the fight scenes were amazing.
MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE! did a good job explaining who was who. My niece, Sarah, has only a basic knowledge of the characters. Whenever I started to explain to her what was up, the show managed to explain these key points.
As for things that might have been different- I have mixed feelings about combining the Avengers with the X-Men. It was fun to see the worlds combine, but at the same time, they should each get their own world.
I also wanted to see Storm and Cyclops demonstrate their powers, but Storm’s powers barely got a nod and Cyclops wasn’t used at all.
It appeared that show was presented with a pre-recorded track with the actors lip syncing. And while they did an excellent job with their timing, the entire show had a rather rehearsed and choreographed feel to it (rather than the more organic feel you get with live dialogue). The reveal at the end was impressive, but when Hulk started to actually move or fight, it lacked a lot of the natural movement you would expect from the Hulk.
Of course, these are rather ticky-tack observations, and easy for me to critique from the comfort of my awesome seat in the audience. Overall, I had a great time. If you are a super-hero fan and want to experience being a part of an Avengers adventure, you won’t be disappointed!
MARVEL UNIVERSE LIVE! returns to the L.A. area on May 1st-3rd at The Forum in Inglewood. Grab your tickets, and look up other dates, right here!
Hear more of my review, along with my 17-year-old niece Sarah, in this interview on Skywalking Through Neverland – scrub ahead to 1:51:33.