Marvel Universe Live kicks off tour bringing action-packed new superhero show to arenas nationwide

in Disney, Events, Marvel

Since “Iron Man” rocketed into theaters in 2008, Marvel has been more popular than ever, prompting an entire cinematic universe with a huge following of fans. Now Feld Entertainment – the company behind Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney On Ice – is bringing that universe to cities across the United States in a new touring show called Marvel Universe Live.

Its official debut will take place tonight in Tampa, Florida, but a recent preview performance revealed its action-packed scenes for the first time.


Video: Marvel Universe Live touring show preview in Tampa


Billed as featuring more Marvel characters than any other live show in history, Marvel Universe Live features favorite heroes including Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, and Black Widow alongside villains Loki, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull and more. The list even stretches into lesser-knowns like Captain Marvel, Black Cat, The Lizard, and Madame Hydra.

Twenty-five trucks will transport the show around the country along with 53 performers and 46 crew members.

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Characters are portrayed by stunt men and women capable of performing flips, simulated fights, motorcycle aerobatics, and plenty of high-flying wire-rigged moments. They’re not exactly actors, so all voices are pre-recorded and lip synched during the show. Fortunately, some of the voices closely match how the more familiar characters sound in the recent Marvel films. Loki vaguely sounds like Tom Hiddleston, Captain America like Chris Evans, etc.

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

But don’t expect the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play a big part in the inspiration of Marvel Universe Live. Costumes and scenes more closely resemble comic books or a cartoon series than live-action films. Plenty of brightly colored spandex clothes these characters. Though The Hulk is a feat unto itself, standing 8’5″ high – the result of more than 1,500 hours of development and building work including 4 prototypes.

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

The story follows the heroes as they attempt to prevent Loki from reuniting pieces of the Tesseract (glowing cube as seen in “The Avengers”), which have been scattered across the Earth. But it takes quite a long time to get to the action as the first hour of the show feels like a whole lot of setup. Fortunately after a 15-minute intermission, Iron Man’s Jarvis recaps the story until that point, making some sense of it all for those who couldn’t follow along, and setting the stage for the entertainment that remains.

While audiences get plenty of character introductions in the first half, with just a bit of action, the second half really packs a punch with an almost non-stop onslaught of pyrotechnics, stunts, projections, and endless soundtrack of punch and kick sound effects.

The show has many stand-out moments, like Captain America throwing his shield to take down an airplane and Spider-Man web swinging across the arena to battle a floating Green Goblin.

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

But fight scenes become repetitive quickly, leaving the 2-hour show to feel even longer. Moreover, after the fourth or fifth motorcycle lap between Wolverine and Bruce Banner the audience is left wondering what exactly is going on and – more importantly – why these superheroes are wearing bulky helmets. (Yes, the performers need to be safe but… they’re supposed to be superheroes!)

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Likewise, the wire rigging is far too visible, entirely taking away from the superhero aspect of any of the characters in flight. Iron Man looks like he’s dangling like a high school “Peter Pan” play instead of a big budget touring arena show.

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Children will definitely enjoy this show more than adults. It’s perfect for young Marvel fans around age 10-12. Any younger and the long runtime might leave kids squirming.

Despite all that, Marvel Universe Live is entertaining and the character action is fun to watch. It’s also great to see all the Marvel characters play nice together, even across movie studio lines. With a bit of trimming, say half an hour shorter, the show could really be something good. But as is, it ends up being just a bit tedious, especially with tickets being way, way too expensive at $45-100 each.

And parents beware: On the way out, there is an abundance of brightly colored, low quality Marvel-themed merchandise being sold at extremely high prices. As one mother said to her son looking at the cheap toys, “How about we go to Walmart and buy something better for less money?” An assortment of plushes and light-up spinning toys fills the many merchandise stands. The only worthwhile unique item seems to be the “Lectro Link” wristband, which ties into Iron Man’s story in the show – a decent souvenir (though not worth the hefty $25 price).

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

Marvel Universe Live touring arena show

More information, a list of cities, and tickets can be found at MarvelUniverseLive.com.

More photos from Marvel Universe Live:

7 Comments

  1. star-w

    when is the marvel experience coming? i have been waiting months pepole!

  2. William

    I guess I was just being naive, but I was hoping for something better looking than this. This looks absolutely terrible considering the cost. I know I’m an adult and this isn’t aimed at me but the kids aren’t the ones shelling out a ton of money. For the show here where I live, lower bowl seats start at $75. Thats over $300 for a family of 4! I could pay for 16 people to watch Marvel’s latest film at my local IMAX for $300 ($18.25 a ticket). That Iron Man suit is atrocious looking. I’ve seen cosplay outfits at comic conventions that look better. I guess if they had an abridged version of this show at one of the parks I don’t think it would be a big deal but based on this clip and the 15 min clip Attractions Magazine posted, I can’t justify paying to see this.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I’m with ya. My admission to preview night was free, but I left thinking I wouldn’t have been happy paying more than $25-30 for this show. When I looked up the prices afterward, I was stunned. It’s at least double what it should be.

      1. Barry

        The Feld business model is based on its circus and ice shows…relatively cheap tickets (from $10 in some markets) offset by a 100% take of the concessions and the greater majority of the building’s parking revenue. The Feld shows are so important to the venue’s bottom line that they will bend over and take the terms of the contract even though everyone hates them. Part of Kenneth Feld’s genius is his ability to make buildings essentially pay through the nose for the privilege of hosting one of his productions. A great deal of the revenue for the Marvel show will still come from $15 cotton candy and overpriced plastic blinky toys…but ticket sales are going to be limited due to the setup of the rig. If seats in the upper bowl of an arena can be sold at all there will only be a few rows since you can’t see through the rig from those seats and in most buildings that can be over half of the available seating (it’s the same reason the show is using wireless tracking of moving lights rather than follow spots). Limited capacity means the law of supply and demand will take over. I’ve noticed they are not offering discount tickets of any kind on this tour which is a regular practice with their other shows. Personally, while the show is technically impressive, I wouldn’t pay $50 bucks to see it, either. But you can bet there are enough parents out there who will pay that and more ($200 to sit in the front row…$100 to sit in the second) to make their little darlings happy. They’re selling tickets 6 months ahead of the engagement (and well from what I hear) which is unheard of with shows of any kind, much less family shows. I don’t think it will take long for him to recoup his $10 million investment especially since his circuses, ice and monster truck shows rake it 1 to 2 million each at every stop.

  3. I’m not certain the place you are getting your info, but great topic.
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  4. Helper

    How long is the show?

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