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Marvel Universe Live: A Review

Written by RealMsH

If you would like to see some of your favorite Marvel superheroes in full costume and as always fighting criminal elements, including monsters with lizard tails and others -- then Marvel Universe Live is the show for you.  At Marvel Universe Live you will see a full cast of some of your favorite Marvel characters, some with the added power to perform acrobats and dare-devil riding and stunts while at the same time fighting for justice and the American way.

Norfolk ScopeNorfolk Scope

Marvel Universe Live is a stage show where there are lots of explosions, fireworks, fighting matches and the like to keep your interest.  Some of the fighting can become intense, which can be attributed to the excellent acting chops of the actors and actresses; however, for the very young in attendance, some of the fighting may be a little disconcerting or disturbing -- even if they are accustomed to watching violent cartoons on TV.  My advice during some of the more graphic type fighting scenes is to remind the younger children that no one really gets hurt during the show, and the quick and lightening fighting blows that are levied, never land on the opponents.

In addition to fighting crimes with various theatrical weapons, Marvel superheroes performed knock-down, drag-out fights.  You will see a lot of these types fights in the show. In fact, during some scenes it looked as if nothing but fighting was going on -- so much so that it may be difficult to focus your attention on one fighting area.  This is a plus, in my opinion, because it cemented the professionalism of the actors in doing the fighting, while it heighted the excitement of the audience when so many actions were going on all at once.

Aldrich Killian battles Iron ManAldrich Killian battles Iron Man

Your impression of the show's magnitude would probably depend on what you are used to seeing in a production of this type.  Personally, the last similar show I attended was at the Convention Center in Washington D.C., where the actions took place on a large, round stage surrounded by what looked liked thousands of spectators.  For the show that was held at the Scope in Norfolk, Virginia, there was a seemingly noticeable lack of arena area for the acrobats and stunt driving to take place. The pro of the smaller stage was the audience got a closer view of the superheroes and villains in action while the con was the smaller arena probably gave the show a scaled down type of appearance at first glance. Some of the actions, including the stunt driving probably would have been more spectacular if there were more driving and stunt spaces available at the arena. After a while, one may become used to the arena size.  Also, the actors and actresses seemed to adjust well to the venue's size and structure when acting to the dialogue and performing stunts.  It appeared to have helped that the theatrical props seemed to be adaptable to the size of the arena as well.

Lady Liberty StageLady Liberty Stage

There are also limitations on the type stunts, fights and actions that could take place in the enclosed arena.  Marvel Universe Live took advantage of the space that was available.  For example, in one scene there is large round stage display showing the face of Lady Liberty.  Within this stage display was a winding stairway that provided space for several superheroes to fight against the villains.  Regarding ariel limitations, the air space was used adequately for a villain's airplane to fly high and ultimately get destroyed by explosions while it hovered several feet above the stage area.

Regarding the actors playing the superheroes themselves, some of the actors and actresses appeared sort of smaller in stature including Spiderman, Wolverine, Black Widow and others.  There were exceptions for some of the villains; however, for the most part the superheroes were not as tall as I expected.  Of course, some of the heroes are of the height as depicted in the comic books, and once the show started, which included dare-devil bike stunts and acrobatic moves, it was easy to understand why this was so.  Some of the actors and actresses appeared to be stunt riders first with the capability to maneuver themselves along on their bikes, and were actors and actresses depicting superheroes second.  

There were several crowd-pleasing moments in the show that caused the audience to applaud loudly.  Not to give anything away, these actions included lots of fire in one case and in the other case -- the entrance of one of the larger superheroes in the arena toward the end of the show.  In my opinion, this was the most size, girth and height appropriate superhero who appeared, even though it was obvious an actor was in a large, embellished costume which would probably not be adequate for doing anything more than walking in it much less performing acrobatic stunts. 

Marvel Live Universe is a lot more than stunts and acrobats being done.  There is a storyline that the actors follow during the show. The venue is set up where the audience hears dialogue from the characters who perform actions relative to the booming voices that fill the arena.   For the most part, actions were done in concert with the voice acting.  Once the second half of the show started or maybe even earlier, one may become accustomed to the voice acting and the fact they are watching stunts being done, along with the superheroes moving to the voice actiing -- sort of like "lip-synch acting." In other words, it did not appear as if the characters were actually saying their parts, unless their personal voice acting was recorded earlier.

Hats off to the pyrotechnic professionals who were expert in setting up and executing the firey displays while at the same time keeping the actors and the audience safe.  They managed to do an excellent job of providing just enouigh theatrical fire works to keep the audience happy as well as the actors and actresses unhurt.  

Black WidowBlack Widow

There were an  array of superhero actresses, which included the female Captain America, Black Widow, and a few others.  The female superheroes' presence was not as prevalent as the males in the show which is no fault of Marvel Universe Live but is a reflection of the comic book make-up in general. Their stunts were also not as "jaw-breaking" as some of the males.  For example, some of the stunts performed by the males were jumping using the motorcyles from high altitudes, driving over barrels surrounded by fire, running out on stage engulfed in flames, and other crowd-pleasing feats.  By comparison the most the female characters did including Black Widow was to drive around the stage on motorcycles, being lowered from the ceiling by wires and fighting on a high altitude platform. This mix could possibly change if more female stunt performers auditioned to become a part of Marvel Universe Live.

Marvel Universe Live provided an excellent correlation between the live performance and filmed portions of the story and the scenery.  One may get the impression visually  that the superheroes are actually climbing up the  high, avalance prone mountains as they traversed the ladders staged against the filmed images.

There were also laugh out loud moments in the show, sometimes based upon the dialogue between the superheroes  themselves and sometimes from the narrator to the audience.  Marvel Universe Live demonstrated that even though superheroes have been around for some time, they are able to keep up with the times, including the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter along with hashtags.  Some of the most humorous dialogue included the use of social media references in the show.

SpidermanSpiderman

Marvel Universe Live is a show that is entertainment that will delight all ages.  Whether your favorite superhero is Spiderman, Iron Man, Wolverine, or some of the other Marvel superheroes in the show, you are sure to find some moments that will cause you to applaud, laugh or just  leave you in an overall good mood.  It helps that the show is not overly short or long in duration.  The above being said --  The best way to see if you will truly enjoy the show is to of course  go to one in person and find out for yourself.

If Marvel Universe: Live has not been in your area recently, it should arrive soon.  Just check the Marvel Universe: Live website for schedule and site locations.

Listen to Ms.H's interview with Gilyon Brace Wessel who plays Dr. Aldrich Killian on the show.

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Comments   

0 #2 RealMsH 2015-02-05 18:19
Thanks for your comments. In my opinion, good use was made of the space available, including the use of video scenes to complement the performance of the superheroes.
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0 #1 geo news live 2015-02-04 23:03
:) One may get the impression visually that the superheroes are actually climbing up the high, avalance prone mountains as they traversed the ladders staged against the filmed images. :)
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