"Marvel Universe Live!" is an arena-based spectacular action show starring Marvel's most famous heroes. Spider-Man plays a leading role, along with Hulk, the Avengers, and some of the best-known X-Men. On the side of the villains are Loki, Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Electro, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus wielding the power of a reformed Cosmic Cube.
The show premièred in August 2014, and is now on a tour through 85 cities in the U.S.A.
The producers of this new show clearly have a more focused vision and a tighter grasp of budget than the creators of the ill-fated Broadway spectacular "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark". Feld Entertainment group have already proven themselves with their well-known and successful "Disney on Ice" shows. They also own The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. That's a distinguished pedigree right there.
This new Marvel show features bright costumes, acrobatic and fight-scenes, motorbike and car stunts, with plenty of fireworks. Nobody here is looking for an Oscar nomination. All these guys want to do is fill stadiums with happy working-class families, and sell them a bunch of merchandise before they leave.
Ain't nothing more American than that! THWIPP!!!
This item looks like the official programme.
It's huge and glossy (11" x 15", 32 pages) and it includes a massive 22" x 30" fold-out poster. Inside you'll find character profiles for all the show's super-stars – with enough info to give you a head-start in the unlikely event that you don't know who these guys are. There's a description of the Cosmic Cube as well, and a handy time-line for the show's set pieces, just in case you lose track during the hectic journey that is about to unfold before your eyes.
Tucked away at the back of the books are the credits for the creative team. There's no credits for the on-stage cast. I suspect that the cast might change from show-to-show (and probably wasn't even entirely settled at the time the programme was printed). I would expect an insert to be provided at the gate to let you know who was on the stage for that day.
With its hefty size and thick glossy paper, this is a hugely attractive programme. I suspect it comes with an equally impressive price tag. Certainly my copy set me back a fair few bucks on eBay.
Of course the content is very basic. There's quick profiles of all the classic characters and their powers. The "plot" (such as it is, being really nothing more than a series of running battles) is explained in advance. Loki builds a cube, Thor smashes it into three bits. Spider-Man introduces his "Lectro Link" that might come in handy one day. The heroes split into three groups and fight separately. The final battle looms, but Loki turns Thor against his friends. Spider-Man saves the day... using his "Lectro Link". Did you catch that earlier reference?
I haven't seen the show myself. It sounds like a pointless mess of silly fun, and I'm jealous I don't live in the U.S.A. so I can't take my kids to go see it. The reviews online seem to be enthusiastically positive.
Pure escapist entertainment, with a "bigger is better" glossy programme.