This past weekend, we took a trip to Earth-37206 as Marvel Universe Live came to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. We knew going in that MUL was geared toward younger Marvel zombies, but that wasn’t going to stop us old geeks from checking it out. Luckily, there was plenty of action and humor to satisfy even the most staunch fans of our heroes.
As the show begins, Thor is in possession of the Cosmic Cube. He shatters it and distributes the “fractals” to the corners of the earth. Loki however gathers up enough cube dust left behind from the smash to clone his own cube and powers it by stealing energy from the x-gene of Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine. When Nick Fury gets into trouble trying to stop Loki himself, Iron Man calls in the greatest heroes of the Marvel Universe to find the pieces of the Cosmic Cube in order to join them again to meet Loki on even terms.
Story takes second place to spectacle at MUL, and I’d say the storytelling level is aimed somewhere above Marvel Superhero Squad but not too much higher (not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s exactly the demographic they are shooting for.) The MUL universe takes elements from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the comics (616 and Ultimate), and some of the cartoons and mashes them all up.
To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of logic involved in the story, but who cares? Why can’t Wolverine and Bruce Banner work out their differences by proving who is the best motocross biker? Who says Red Skull never used a motorcycle to escape Captain America? Maybe Doc Ock’s face really wouldn’t explode into a red mist when hit by Thor’s hammer. It’s just a lot of fun!
The characters don’t have a ton of personality except for some taken from the movies and pre-existing expectations. Tony is a pompous smart-ass, Spidey is a wise-cracking teen, Captain America is a boy scout. Wolverine is angry. Everyone else is pretty much interchangeable from Falcon to Hawkeye to Captain Marvel. Yes! Captain Marvel! Must say, I love the push she’s getting, ramping up for her upcoming film debut!
If you’re wondering if your kids will have a good time, don’t worry. There are so many stunts and effects going on at any one time that your little one won’t have time to even ask you to buy them an overpriced cotton candy much less get bored. And you grown-ups who are still kids at heart (and have a soft spot for theme-park style entertainment shows) will have a blast as well.
Check the Marvel Universe Live website for tour dates and make your reservations now. Excelsior!