On Stage: Marvel Universe Live

Real men take their sons out in to the woods to hunt.

Real men take their sons down to the creek to fish.

Real men take their sons out in the wilderness to camp.

I took my son to “Marvel Universe Live,” a multimedia superhero extravaganza on stage this weekend at Scotttrade Center.


Oh sure, I could’ve made The Wife go with me as penance for all those Shakespeare plays, but the timing didn’t work out. So I figured why not bring The Son along? That way I won’t look so odd, even if he is almost 25 years old.

I decided to take the train, as I am not that familiar with the Scottrade area and neither is Andrew and no one wants to get lost in downtown St. Louis after dark. Plus, Andrew likes the train.

We arrived at the station, got out tickets, and walked up to the platform. Now I remember why I hate mass transit. The waiting. In the cold. The train eventually arrived and we made it to the arena without incident. Well, Andrew’s spontaneous laughing did cause the woman in front of us to move, which caused another woman to move into her seat, which she then abandoned after sitting in front of Andrew’s spontaneous laughing after a few seconds, but nobody got arrested so it wasn’t really an incident.

MUL_20140712_6572-Edit_1Arrived a little early but there were still plenty of junior Captain Americas and Spider-Men waiting in line to get in. Could not find the press table, so thought maybe it was at another location. So we walked around the building. It’s a big building. Did I mention it was cold? Wound up back where we started and still no press table, but Julie was there so we hung out with her until the tickets arrived.

Walked up to the first table of merchandise. The usual stuff — T-shirts, programs, figurines, dolls, light-up swords, boomerangs (I have no idea what boomerangs have to do with this…or swords, for that matter). There was no Hawkeye merch. Oh there was plenty of Black Widow stuff for all you Black Widow whiners who are always going on about how she gets left out. There was a Black Widow doll and she had her own T-shirt as well as being on most of the other shirts. But no Hawkguy. I decided not to buy a $30 T-shirt there as I could get a better one cheaper at Hot Topic. Take that, merchandising geniuses behind “Marvel Universe Live.”

We made a circle around the building as I figured it was a good strategy to wear the boy out before the show. Went to get dinner but the first place we went was taking forever so we moved a couple of stalls down to another vendor who had their act together. Got chicken fingers and fries and ate them while sitting at an abandoned stairwell (Note to Scotttrade: More seating for eating would be nice).

Watched the crowd go by. So many little kids in superhero costumes. There was dad in his Marvel T-shirt, and the kids in their Marvel T-shirts, and mom. To be fair, there were a few moms in Marvel attire. I never knew there were so many different styles of Marvel shirts.

It was now 10 minutes to showtime so we went in and got our seats. They were good seats. Jarvis politely informed us the show would be starting in 3 minutes.

MUL_20140712_3717_2The show opened with Thor (a good sign), who has decided to destroy the tesseract because it is too powerful for anyone to possess.  Loki responds by creating a faux-cosmic cube using the mutant energies of the captured Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine. Oh, who cares about the plot? Suffice it to say, act 1 is all about establishing the threat and gathering the team; act 2 has the heroes and villains going at it. There was some pretty broad fight choreography going on, but Black Widow was fairly convincing.

MUL_20140709_0676_1So, was it entertaining? Yes, no doubt much more so for the young ones. Was it cheesy? Oh, God yes. But again, I’m not the target audience. The little ones around me seemed to really enjoy it. In addition to the actors there was plenty of smoke, laser lights, explosions and scattered images on giant video screens. It’s basically Marvel Stars on Ice but with motorcycles instead of skates. In fact, they should probably rename it “Marvel Universe Live and Motorcycle Stunt Show.” Who knew that riding a motorcycle on one wheel was a superpower? And why is The Falcon riding a motorcycle, anyway?

Spoiler Alert: In the end, good triumphs over evil and wraps it up in under two hours, which I appreciate even if it did have an intermission. We did wind up with a souvenir — a cap that came with a bag of popcorn. The cap’s a little too small for Andrew and me but I’ve probably got a nephew who would like it.

“Marvel Universe Live” runs through Sunday at Scottrade Center. http://www.scottradecenter.com/  




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