Kids aren't the only ones who are going to get a kick out of "Marvel Universe LIVE!" They do make up a huge portion of the attendees, but their parents, older siblings and other adult comic fans have plenty to look forward to if they've snagged tickets to the sold-out show, which only runs through Aug. 17 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
First of all, this is probably the only place you're going to see the Avengers playing nicely with Spider-Man and the X-Men, not to mention some other stray cross-over superhero friends, like Captain Marvel (whoever she is). It's every comic lover's hypothetical fantasy fulfilled. Similarly, the cast of 50 extremely talented stuntmen (and women) is rounded out by a selection of villains from all of these varying storylines, ranging from Red Skull to the Green Goblin (all overseen, of course, by fan favorite Loki of Asgard).
You have to appreciate the diversity of the tricks that make up the two-hour show. There's plenty of pyrotechnics, screen projections, aerial tricks, acrobats and other cool special effects. (One guy actually catches on fire! And just wait until everyone's favorite giant green mutant with anger management issues finally shows up.) Our favorite showmanship series involved Captain America, Bruce Banner (aka The Hulk) and Wolverine (among others) dueling it out on motorcycles. The cast members behind the costumes rev their rides into extreme wheelies, leap off ramps and even drive their bikes almost vertical up a wall.
All of the acting comes through overblown gestures and postures that are large enough to speak to the entire 18,000-seat capacity stadium at once, with their familiar superhero voices — those cadences that have become canon through the move franchise, not to mention catchphrases — booming over the loudspeakers. It's cheesy, but then again, it's exactly like a comic book come to life.
You'll groan with laughter; you'll roll your eyes. You'll thunderously applaud when it's over and (spoiler?) the good guys win the day. "Marvel Universe LIVE!" is sheer fun. You don't need any knowledge of the Marvel universe to enjoy yourself, and you don't need to be a child —but you may need a giant popcorn to kick back and take in a show that's pure, unadulterated entertainment.
The plot of 'Marvel Universe LIVE!'
After Thor smashes the Cosmic Cube, the deadliest weapon known to the nine kingdoms, his trickster brother Loki begins to reassemble the pieces. But he discovers a workaround that will let him harness the power of the Cosmic Cube even if he never has all of the pieces: He can use mutant powers to boost the fragments he has in his possession. This is why he's kidnapped Storm, Cyclops and Wolverine and is draining them of all power — and potentially all life, too. The great thing about this plot is that instead of just going to fight Loki, the superheroes have to first break into groups and try to find missing fragments of the Cosmic Cube, which have fallen into the hands of various baddies. They think that if they have more power thank Loki, they can save the X-Men — and save the world.
For more reviews, follow T. Michelle Murphy on Twitter: @TMichelleMurphy.