There is something for everyone in Age of Heroes, the latest instalment of Marvel Universe Live! which packs no fewer than 20 Marvel super heroes and villains in an action-filled show that bursts with filmic special effects.
The stage extends to fill the floor of the arena with the back wall becoming a huge projection screen, transporting us from a spaceship to the Antarctic, China to the Amazon rain forest and many more mythical places in between.
It is a huge performance space and every inch is used to full effect. This gives an immersive feel, particularly in the fight scenes where there is so much going on, with super heroes packing a powerful punch, flying through the air, shooting webs, disappearing through laser portals and somersaulting motorbikes, with stunt work worthy of any film set. Computer graphics are used to create an enormous flying dragon, but the fire it breathes is very real as flames shoot across the stage towards our heroes.
We meet Marvel favourite Spider Man, who falls from the rafters and shoots his web to swing beyond the stage and over the heads of the crowd. He’s joined by Doctor Strange; The Avengers (a team combining the super-human forces of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk, Wasp and Black Widow), and the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax.
What villain could face such combined super powers you might well wonder. The downfall of the villains is that they just can’t work together. But individually their evil gives our crusaders of good a run for their money in a thrilling race against time. Here the object of desire is the Wand of Watoomb – an ancient artifact which holds immeasurable mystical power. Nebula has it and now Loki wants it to achieve his eternal quest to crown himself ruler of Asgard and Earth.
Adding to the age-old fight of good against evil, sister is pitted against sister and brother against brother as Gamora tries to get her sister Nebula to see sense and Thor pleads unsuccessfully with his megalomaniac brother, Loki. If it sounds confusing – don’t worry, you don’t need to be a die-hard Marvel fan to understand the characters and relationships. The story is clearly told and for Marvel newbies it’s a great introduction to all the popular comic book favourites.
Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes is a couple of hours of pure escapism that brings sci-fi spectacularly to life.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes is at Manchester Arena from 28 November to 1 December 2019. See website for full tour details.