Marvel Universe Live! Superheroes Assemble, Manchester Arena
It’s almost impossible not to find parallels between Marvel Universe Live! and our totally far-fetched new world order.
Superheroes serving as emblems of all that is right and proper about the “good ole U, S of A” do battle with tyrannical figures from anywhere else that isn’t.
Thor boasts of a million followers on Twitter, Spider-Man declares that he’s going to tweet news of his battle success.
When all seems lost, a bolshy green fella called the Hulk – and looking just a little bit like the latest American president – comes along to save the day. He bashes and smashes everything in his way, order is restored, the world once again spins on a stable axis, draped in the stars and stripes.
In reality, I don’t think MUL set out to achieve such a deep and dramatic political statement. The somewhat confusing narrative loosely revolves around the battle for some all-powerful Cosmic Cube (the kids seem to know what’s going on), yet even that story is really an excuse to stage an epic playground battle. It’s the stuff pre-teen boys dream of.
So what to expect? All manner of Marvel superheroes play fighting across an epic stage set, rolling, ducking, socking, biffing and POW-ing, falling and flailing.
There’s 25 of them in total (the president might argue that there are more) and I don’t know them all, but they include Spider-Man, Captain America and Thor, who does a convincing job of wielding a hammer so heavy that only he can lift it. Hulk is my favourite and not because he reminds me of Donald Trump.
Motorcycles fly this way and that, Spider-Man does backflips and scales the walls, the Green Goblin surfs the skies on a jet-propelled platform. It’s energetic and slick, yet slow at the same time, which is hardly surprising given that this is all about live action actors attempting to replicate comic book heroes we know best these days from blockbuster movies.
There are cool pyrotechnics, stunning acrobatics and a seriously impressive array of video tricks and laser lights.
Feld Entertainment are the same people who have staged Disney On Ice for years, and this is clearly their bid to do something for the boys. It’s not a cheap night out but it is original and the closest think you’re likely to get to seeing your favourite superheroes showing off their powers in the flesh.
The kids will love it for what it is. Meanwhile, you can sit back and savour two hours of Americana which feels almost believable in comparison to the real thing.
At Manchester Arena until Sunday, January 29. Tickets are priced between £27.50 and £55. For further details and to book, go to https://www.marveluniverselive.com/uk/.