No need to worry about crime until Sept. 21. The city will be well-guarded while “Marvel Universe Live!” is around. The live-action extravaganza takes some of the best-known comic book characters (and a few more obscure ones), surrounds them with pyrotechnics and makes them jump off of high things.
“It’s basically an action movie brought to life,” says Juliette Feld, the show’s producer.
Since her company could find neither radioactive spiders nor Super-Soldier Serum, it had to assemble a cast that could make the ka-POWs and the BLAMs believable.
“We have people who specialize in motorcycle stunts who performed at the X Games, we have skilled acrobats and gymnasts,” Feld says.
The stunts are just part of what makes “Marvel Universe Live!” what it is — a kabooming entertainment experience.
“We’re talking about superheroes,” Feld says. “There’s no way to portray these characters in anything less than superpowered.”
Ummm, what is this?
We know what you’re thinking, because we were a bit perplexed by this whole show too. Let’s address your questions one by one:
So it’s like the movie?
“The Avengers,” I guess?
You’ll see a lot of characters familiar to you if you’ve seen 2012’s “The Avengers.” Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow are all there. Also Loki, the bad guy in “The Avengers,” is the main bad guy here, too.
But Spider-Man is there, too? Is he an Avenger now?
Non-Avenger heroes are also well represented. Spider-Man appears; so does Captain Marvel. Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm from the X-Men will also be doing their things.
How about that raccoon from “Guardians of the Galaxy?” Or the tree? That tree was so cute.
No. Batman is DC.
Batman’s not from D.C.! Batman is from Gotham City! This is why women shouldn’t write about comics.
… Next question?
So it’s all the good guys vs. Loki?
There’s a whole bunch of villains — Electro, Black Cat, Red Skull, Green Goblin — but they’re all working for Loki as he attempts to reunite the fragments of a Cosmic Cube that Thor thought it would be a good idea to smash.
Why’d he do that?
To prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
That didn’t seem to work.
Yeah, we’ve seen better plans.
Is this a musical?
No. Though that’s the only thing that could possibly make this better.
Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW; Thu.-Sun., various times, $20-$110.
Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax; Sept. 12-21, various times, $20-$110.
Comic book characters have issues too
It’s tough to live with anyone, much less with a couple dozen Marvel characters who could kill you using their various powers. (You don’t want to see what happens to Bruce Banner if you leave dirty dishes in the sink.)
So it’s inevitable that the heroes and villains of “Marvel Universe Live!” will see a skirmish or two while they’re cooped up for weeks in the D.C. area. Here comes Dr. Andrea Bonior, clinical psychologist and Express’ advice columnist, to the rescue.
One thing the characters will have to contend with is the significant age gaps among them — Wolverine was born in the late 1800s; Captain America came of age in the 1940s; Spider-Man is a teenager.
“There might be fundamental misunderstandings” between the old school and the young kids who walk on their metaphorical lawns, Bonior says. “But if they can enter each interaction thinking ‘What might this person’s experience teach me and how may I grow from that?’ rather than just automatically closing their minds, they could each learn a lot.”
The group is pretty much a sausage fest, with six women to 19 men (we’re counting Lizard and Rhino as men), and with this crowd the Battle of the Sexes can actually end the world.
“It’s going to be more beneficial to them not to create a dichotomy between them; that could breed resentment,” Bonior says. “They need to think not in an ‘us vs. them’ way, but about collectively being a team.”
Jealously could also be a factor, since a number of the companions don’t have superpowers.
“When the [power-deficient group members] find themselves ruminating on what the others have that they don’t, it will be useful to do what we call a ‘gratitude meditation,’ ” Bonior says. “Make a list of things that they are thankful for as they are in their own life, and spend some time a few times per day thinking through it.”
So when Hawkeye is feeling bummed about being a normal guy with a bow and arrow, he can be thankful he’s wearing the cool modern costume and not the old-school purple one. Keeping the peace might be tough, since the characters have rough histories behind them. Among other troubles, brothers Thor and Loki have sibling rivalry issues; the Green Goblin is responsible for the death of Spider-Man’s high school sweetheart; and the Red Skull is an actual Nazi.
“You can choose to forgive, but you don’t have to forget,” Bonior says. “You can take from those past situations some newfound wisdom to make you a stronger and better person. You don’t necessarily have to pretend that it didn’t happen or you’re going to be BFFs, but if you’re going to choose to be with them you’ve got to give yourself permission to press the reset button.”
A reboot — that’s something every comic book character should be familiar with.
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