Marvel Universe Live – Review – Sheffield Arena
Marvel Universe Live – Review
Sheffield Arena, January 2017
by Richard Jones
For years, my two girls, Isla and Evelyn have dragged their parents to see Disney on Ice. Now, thanks to the folks at Feld Entertainment, there is a live arena show for the boys.
While Disney on Ice is all about princesses, romance, ice skating, pretty dresses and magic, Marvel Universe Live has superheroes, fighting, motorbikes, explosions and special powers. But is there also something for little girls to enjoy? Despite the fact they were likely to be outnumbered by the boys.
I take my eldest daughter, nine-year-old Isla, and her friend Isobel along to the touring show at Sheffield Arena. The spectacular has been ‘Saving the world one city at a time’ for a few years now.
As expected, there are legions upon legions of pre-teen boys dressing up as their favourite Marvel superhero or villain. The atmosphere is one of fun and excitement. Although the classic comic-book story is somewhat irrelevant, the plot does act as a clever vehicle to get all the superheroes and villains, of which there are about 25, on to the stage.
Thor, the mighty Asgardian thunder god, destroys the Tesseract or Cosmic Cube. This is a relic at the centre of the 2013 movie Thor: The Dark World. Using his famous hammer, he splits it into three parts. Iron Man discovers that Loki, Thor’s conniving younger brother who is defeated in the Avengers Assemble movie, has created a Cosmic Cube of his own using the mutant energy of his prisoners – X-Men’s Wolverine, Storm and Cyclops.
So Iron Man enlists the help of Spider-Man and the other Avengers – the Hulk, Hawkeye, Falcon, Black Widow and Captain America – to retrieve the three parts of the cube from various other Marvel villains, put it back together, rescue the mutants and save the world from the evil Loki.
Although Isla and Isobel weren’t Marvel experts before the show, by the end they know all the characters and are now intrigued by their back stories and powers. However, I think what really impresses them is the jaw-dropping spectacle of the show which took over two years to develop.
The brightly coloured costumes are brilliant – they are modelled more on the comic books and cartoon series rather than the big budget Hollywood film franchise. There is an ever-transforming huge video wall while heroes fly acrobatically on to the stage on wires and off scaffolding.
But, best of all, are the death-defying motorcycle tricks, pyrotechnics and a few well-timed explosions that make everyone jump out of their seats. This includes the parents who dare to sit texting on their mobile phones.
The second act is by far the strongest and features four large battle set-pieces between our heroes and a series of villains. Of course, the show is cheesy and adults seeing it shouldn’t bother even attempting to suspend their disbelief. Nevertheless, I admit I thought it was awesome seeing Spider-Man hang in mid-air, Black Widow kicking seven bells out of Loki’s thugs and Captain America doing a somersault on his motorcycle.
And the kids thought it was Marvel-ous too. Yes, even the girls.