Review: Marvel Live: Age of Heroes
PUBLISHED: 15:27 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 October 2019
Avengers of all ages assembled at London's O2 for an all-action arena show featuring heroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe battling it out before their eyes.
The auditorium was packed with miniature versions of Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk, competing against those adults who couldn't resist indulging in some cosplay for the occasion.
The scene is set by a levitating Doctor Strange, who explains how the Guardians of the Galaxy and Earth's mightiest heroes must recover the all-powerful Wand of Watoomb before the evil Loki uses it to become master of everything…
And then it's straight into a series of set-piece battles which pit different teams of goodies against assorted bad guys in locations ranging from deep space and the lost city of K'un-Lun to New York and Asgard.
The special effects are impressive enough, with some decent pyrotechnics and big-screen animation, but it's the acrobatic abilities of the cast that really blow your mind. To see someone web-slinging across the arena before flipping into action as the Amazing Spider-Man was enough to produce gasps of glee from the young members of the audience, and even the more jaded adults were suitably impressed.
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Other highlights included Cap and Black Widow's motorcycle stunt-riding, Spider-Man's battle with the Sinister Six, and the staggering transformation of Bruce Banner into his gamma-fuelled alter ego, the Incredible Hulk.
Without doubt, this is a show pitched firmly in the direction of the kids, who will be entranced by the sight of their favourite comic characters come to life before their eyes, but parents might struggle with the repetitive nature of the (seemingly) endless fight scenes, overly-dramatic dialogue and unnecessarily complicated plot.
A word of warning though, sitting too close to the action does take away some of the magic, as not only can you see all of the wires and cables used to create the illusions of flying super-heroes, but it's hard to follow everything that's going on when some of the cast are elsewhere across the arena.
Unlike the Marvel movies on which this is firmly based, the tone of this production is completely straight, with little laugh-out-loud humour and a tendency to take everything VERY SERIOUSLY! As a result the opportunity to produce a real all-ages family show is unfortunately missed, and mums and dads will probably be twitching in their seats by the end of the 145 minute run-time.
That said, it's obviously been put together with a fanatical love for the source material, and is the sort of show which will be forever etched into the memories of those youngsters lucky enough to watch it.