The Wax Conspiracy

Marvel Universe Live!

There is so much cheese here your back passage is going to be plugged up for the month. It's three main chunks of the Marvel Universe banding together to create a show that has another Loki juicy centre. Corny too, even though you didn't have any for lunch.

The show jams in the likes of Spider-Man, the Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Thor and Captain America to spew unseen exhaust in an arena for a shattered Tesseract while the villain/rogue counterparts (Hydra, AIM, Sinister Six) of the various franchises either team up or scatter as necessary across the globe. Story-wise it gets the job done of pooling them together. It puts all these characters into the same room with as much time as you can fit their character back stories in slivers.

Some heroes are shorthanded, others less so. Those with an already identifiable profile outside, in the movies, cartoons and ongoing comicbook series, once again are the mouthiest. You'll recognise their costumes are mostly fitting, and then there's Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers dons a head guard that's not yet part of any costume iteration, so we'll see if it's a jump into the future feature film to follow.

Captain America throws his shield via guidewires
Captain America aims for the Red Skull's aircraft

Captain America's shield gets stuck in the middle of a guided throw (a sly comment on stalled negotiations between action and diplomacy) but apart from that the wirework and swing line action comes through well oiled. Iron Man once again takes centre stage, helming the narrative and leading the Avengers as he is wont to do in every incarnation in recent years. (Shell corporations have long since taken over things.) That repulsor charge is going to ring in your ears for a few with how many times he sets it off blasting away whatever Chitauri or Extremis henches comes his way.

And there on the floor is how they manage to make that repulsor charge come to life. Technically what they're able to express and dazzle with the pyrotechnics and lasers light show gets this world of Marvel as real to actuality as an arena spectacle can make them.

Motorbike and buggy stunts are smooth with more than a few scenes of chaos but in the end still a tight choreography of mountain goating motorbikes. Though why you would want to take dirtbikes to hike through snowy mountains is something that can't be explained.

Motorbike takes a pirouette
Quiet bikes are totally en pointe

The better angle is to sit down in front of the action. If you're off on the side there are a few things, as the spotlights shed some take downs, but the main attention still rings the centre.

Some of the costumes look janky with their muscle padding. Spider-Man doesn't really need it, he could go lithe, but it's there bulging in all the wrong places along his arms. Not as much as Wolverine's though. Perhaps that's to account for the extra lines of hair they need to suggest. At first you'd think they managed to bring in a Skrull (who have a history against/about the Chitauri (not unlike those cultures/religions who want to distance themselves from those you mistake for them)), but no, that's actually what they have the Green Goblin look like.

Incidentally, a fireball 30 metres away is something you can feel warm your face and dry your eyeballs.

Avengers stand around disappointed Thor brought the hammer down
Heroes and a halved table

In adding Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and Black Cat, Marvel Universe Live! shows again that superheroes for the most part are a sausage fest, balls deep in the men and male teenagers taking up the spandex to fight the punch-and-kick.

Marvel Universe Live! is a fun romp, and wholly lip synched. Much broad hand gestures and head movements to signal the current talker. If Super Sentai and Power Rangers is your kind of spectacle, you'll love it. If not, you'll still get a kick out of it if you're not dead inside and want to see superheroes come to stage life.

Running on fireballs for about 90 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. From the leg touring through Rupp Arena in Lexington on the evening session of 25 October 2014.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Wax Conspiracy




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