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Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Review

July 15, 2017 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Marvel Universe Live

In 2014, Marvel Entertainment and Feld Entertainment for a live, theatrical touring show based on the Marvel Universe called Marvel Universe LIVE, featuring live stunts and performers. Another live-action, stunt spectacular has debuted this summer in the Los Angeles area. This one is called Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, and I was invited to see one of the live performances during the show’s recent run at the Staples Center.

To be clear, Marvel Universe LIVE! is really a show aimed at younger viewers. However, there’s still enough thrills and action that adults will enjoy the spectacle with their kids, especially if they are Marvel fans themselves. It’s a live show in two acts featuring your favorite Marvel heroes all coming together against the forces of evil. It’s similar to stunt shows you might find at a theme park or cut from a similar cloth as Disney on Ice. Back in the 1990s, there were live touring stunt shows for properties such as Power Rangers and Mortal Kombat. This is a similar concept. The show is two acts, and you’ll out in under two hours.

As a live event designed for families, this is a great way to usher in kids and give them a starting point for the Marvel Universe. The show’s not really dark or edgy; though Rocket Raccoon is allowed to tote and fire all of his guns. However, it really shouldn’t be in this case. It’s a light and fun adventure, so kids and their families can enjoy watching their favorite Marvel heroes in action and interacting with one another.

The basic plot has Doctor Strange opening the show and explaining the dangers of the Wand of Watoomb. Loki of Asgard is looking to steal it. First, it’s been stolen by the interstellar mercenary, Yondu of the Ravagers, but then Nebula looks steal it as well. The Guardians of the Galaxy are unsuccessful in their attempt to recover the wand before Nebula swipes the artifact and starts warping through space. Doctor Strange then warns Spider-Man and the Avengers of this development, and the team has to travel across the world in order to find Nebula and retrieve the Wand of Watoomb before Loki can get his hands on it. The show features appearances from characters and locations from all across the Marvel Universe, including the Savage Land.

While the last Marvel Universe LIVE show featured some non-MCU characters such as Spider-Man (at the time) and even the X-Men, Age of Heroes instead opts to focus on Marvel’s more fully owned characters who also have popular MCU counterparts, apart from Spider-Man, who’s film rights still reside at Sony Pictures while the character can still be a part of the MCU. However, the benefit is that new characters for the show include the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, some of Spider-Man’s rogues, Doctor Strange, and even The Wasp. Iron Fist is probably the only odd hero out, but he has his own TV show that launched a few months back on Netflix. So, thinks characters who have been in a successful MCU movie or are about to be in one. All the characters have their voices dubbed over the speakers, as the stunt performers are lip-synching or acting out the disembodied vocals. Most adult fans will likely recognize the voices as the actors who portray the characters on current or recent Marvel animated programs such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers Assemble. For example, Will Friedle is clearly the voice of Star-Lord. Troy Baker is voicing Loki. Fred Tatasciore is obviously The Hulk, and so on.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, especially Rocket, really get to steal most of the show. Their segments are basically the ones driving the story, and they get to have some of the more memorable lines. The live costumes for Rocket and Groot are pretty impressive, considering stunt performers actually have to wear, walk around and perform stunts in them. Obviously, since Groot is performed live, the stunt performers are clearly limited with what they can do with such a big costume, where they are basically walking on giant stilts and swinging beams for their arms. However, the audience in attendance were totally into the illusion.

In terms of the stunts at play, there are some big leaps off of motorcycles, Spider-Man gets to swing around the arena to pantomime his webslinging, and there are some light amounts of pyrotechnics. I wouldn’t really call this a death-defying stunt show like say Cirque du Soleil’s KA, but that’s fine. This is not the type of show where the performers should be risking life and limb for their craft, especially with so many children in the audience. It seems the show also has a competent stage crew in the event of any potential mishaps. The best segment was probably the New York fight, featuring Green Goblin on his glider, along with Rhino, Electro, Spider-Man, The Lizard, Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther, and The Wasp.

If I had one major criticism, I would’ve enjoyed a bit more banter or even potential conflict with the Guardians and the Avengers team meeting up. Rocket does get to have a few moments in that regard, and Star-Lord’s response to Captain America saying “Avengers Assemble” was quite amusing. I would’ve enjoyed to see a little more of this. This is a show aimed at a younger crowd, but I even liked the way Loki tried to take Bruce Banner/The Hulk off the game board. That’s a smart move on Loki’s part.

The show’s two acts run about 40-45 minutes each, with a 15-minute intermission in between. That leaves guests time to get refreshments or souvenirs. It looks like there are some various activities families can take part in at the event, including face painting and photo booths. I’m not sure if the Staples Center was recently renovated, but the venue was very clean and the seats were comfortable. The whole show seemed to run smoothly without any noticeable issues.

Marvel fans, assemble for Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, the live, action-packed, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. Spider-Man, the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy join forces with Doctor Strange, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands. This ancient artifact would allow Loki to achieve his eternal quest to crown himself ruler of the universe. This all-new show unites some of Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk and Black Widow against some of the most threatening villains. Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial stunts and video projection in this incredible adventure.

Marvel Universe LIVE! is a great show to take your kids to if they love or are just starting to get into the Marvel Universe. If you love the Marvel Universe, this is a great way to enjoy it together. The show’s not overly long, and it features all your favorite heroes coming together for the greater good. At the end of the day, isn’t that what superhero stories should be?

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes is set to tour throughout the L.A. Area until July 23. More details on the show and tour are available at MarvelUniverseLive.com

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