Most parents who have young children likely have had their child and friends enact many scenes from various Marvel movies. We, ourselves, have had the opportunity to hear our son yell “HULK SMASH!” quite a number of times and pretend, rather unsuccessfully, to pretend to swing around our house like Spiderman.
As such, when we heard that Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes was coming to Cincinnati, which is just 2.5 hours from our home, we thought it’d be fun to take our 7 year old son and 3 year old daughter to see it. So last Thursday we drove to Cincinnati to see Marvel Universe Live.
Marvel Universe Live is run by the same company that does Disney on Ice and other traveling shows. These shows are typically priced between $40-80 dollars per ticket, and as such when I saw the pricing for Marvel Universe Live, I was shocked at it’s low prices. Tickets ranged from $15-40 dollars for the Thursday 7:00PM show in Cincinnati. For a family of four our total cost for Section 102 Row H via Ticketmaster was only about $150 dollars. Of the $150 only $100 was for the tickets and the extra $50 dollars was facility and service charges. Our seats in Section 102 Row H were only slightly off center and pretty close to the action. Overall, compared to Disney on Ice and other traveling shows, the tickets for this were a little cheaper than expected.
Since we had to drive 2.5 hours to attend Marvel Universe Live, we decided to spend the day in Cincinnati. Prior to going we went to the National Underground Railway Freedom Center. It was a great experience and we highly recommend it. We ate with some friends for dinner and arrived 30 minutes early to the show at U.S. Bank Arena in Downtown Cincinnati.
Parking was very easy, and only 10 dollars right next to the arena. We searched for off street parking, but apparently all the meters are ticketed till 9PM and with a maximum of 2 hours, so we opted to just pay the event parking. We went through security and scanned our tickets. It was pretty painless process, especially compared to airport security.
We found our seats in Section 102 Row H. For $25 I thought the view was pretty good.
My only complaint is that the steel girders that flank the stage could sometime obscure your view, but that was the case for all the seating.
The show started exactly on time with Dr. Strange being the first of the Marvel Characters to make an appearance.
The stage while deceptively simple was actually very well used. They had a projection system which would change the look of the stage at will, and basically use the stage and background as one huge projection screen. This is similar technology as that used in Disney World on Cinderella’s Castle for the nighttime fireworks show. Needless to say, it is a very impressive effect that transported us to across the world from Antarctica to the inside of a volcano. They also used laser effects quite impressively to give a sense of electricity, force fields, and other effects.
I will not spoil the plot line for anyone thinking of seeing the show in the future, but I will say the plot was a little on the thin side. In short, it was about the quest to control the Wand of Atun.
I would say that it is about what you would expect from what is pretty much a glorified stunt show that allows us to see the Marvel Characters in action, just don’t go in expecting to see the next Hamilton and you won’t be disappointed.
The stunts were not exactly on the level of a circus, nor should they be expected to be. The choreography given everything that was going on was actually decent, and they definitely utilized wires whenever appropriate to have Spiderman swinging through a city or Iron Man flying about.
There was also a fair amount of pyrotechnics throughout the show.
There were two segments that were particularly impressive from a choreography standpoint. One of which involved a tribal dance with fire and another involving Chinese Arial acrobatics.
For those not invested in the Marvel Characters, this would likely be the highlight for them as it was beautifully done.
One particularly fun segment was a action set piece that involved the use of motor bikes. While the stage size was very limited, they still managed to pull of a reasonable amount of stunts.
The audio was amply loud with plenty of base. The dialog was also easy to hear and comprehend which can be a problem sometimes in large arenas such as U.S. Bank arena.
Probably the most impressive part of the show was the sheer number of Marvel Characters presented.
The heroes we got to see included:
The villains were also very well represented which included”
Unfortunately, there was no meet and greet opportunity, but it was fun to watch the characters in action. The costumes and make up were very impressive, especially Groot and Hulk.
In my opinion, these two characters truly stole the show when they were on stage. The movements for both were very impressive, and it was just fun to watch them wreak havoc on the various villains we were presented with.
I did find it interesting that they had Wasp instead of Ant-man, and I would have liked to have seen Hawk-Eye. However, the sheer number of heroes was already ample to satisfy almost anyone’s superhero appetite.
The show itself was only 90 minutes long with a 15 minute intermission. So really the total time the characters are on stage is 75 minutes. While this may sounds short, I felt that the show length was very appropriate, and I personally would not have wanted it to be much longer.
In short, I felt the show was a reasonable value. If not for the facility fees and service fees which tacked on an extra $50 dollars onto the initial price of $100 I would have felt it was a GREAT value. The sheer number of Marvel Characters you get to see is pretty impressive.
We definitely felt the plot line was not the most exciting, but if you are going to see Marvel Universe Live you are unlikely going expecting high level performing arts. You are almost assuredly going for the sake of the young super hero fans in your family. The stunts were definitely entertaining enough, but if you are only going for stunts you will be disappointed as the now defunct Circus had more impressive stunts. We definitely felt the production values were top notch. The projection system and stage were impressively used, as were the pyrotechnics and choreography. The costumes looked incredibly accurate from where we were sitting and even Groot and Hulk which would be very tough to emulate in real life were very fun to watch in person.
In all honesty, I enjoyed Disney on Ice more. Most likely that is due to the nostalgia factor when watching Disney on Ice, the familiarity with the characters, and the very catchy music. My wife who is a non Marvel fan but has seen almost all the Marvel movies, gave it 3/5 stars. I am more of a Marvel fan and have seen all the movies gave it 4/5. However, the only opinion that truly matters when it comes to something like this, is our 7 year old son who gave it 5/5 and called it “The best show ever!”
For those interested in seeing the show that live in our area, it is going to be Columbus, Ohio this week from Sept 27-30th. Tickets can be bought here.