Friday, January 30, 2015

EXCELSIOR!  In part because the theme park rights are a legal mess, Marvel has licensed out its IP for a traveling "experience," which I had comp tickets to.  You begin by signing in as an "agent," and getting a preshow with several heroes in an animated film--most from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but some not--Spider-Man and Wolverine are included.  Distractingly, the voices are all bad copies of the movie counterparts--nope, we don't even spring for Clark Gregg (Coulson doesn't even appear), and there's no real inkling of how/where this would fall into cinematic or comic canon. 

After an "emergency" arises, you're sent into "Training," where you can choose to play a couple of Xbox Kinect-esque games (one themed after Iron Man, and one after Hulk), an "avoid the lasers" maze (themed after Black Widow), a treadmill climbing wall (themed after Spidey), and a shooting gallery (sort of like Disney's Toy Story Midway Mania, except without the moving vehicle, and with 24 people shooting at the same targets).  There's also a picture opportunity with life size hero figures, and some "artifacts" like "Hawkeye's Bow."  It wasn't terribly crowded this evening, and even with that, the laser maze generated huge backups with people taking forever to traverse a 10' x 3' box one at a time.

Once you've finished with training (or just had enough), you enter a domed 360 theatre where there's a short 3D movie in which you're attacked by the forces of HYDRA and rescued by various Marvel heroes.  Credit to them--this includes not just the big guys, but also lesser known names--Iron Fist and She-Hulk play major roles.  Finally, there's a simulator ride (a low rent Star Tours) where you help the Avengers defeat HYDRA's evil plan. 

Of course, the experience ends with a gift shop.  It's mostly standard swag you'd find at any comic store, with one noteworthy exception--you can arrange to be photographed/scanned and they will 3D print (unclear if it was "on demand" or would be shipped to you) a sculpture of you/your loved ones and your choice of heroes from a list. 

As noted, my ticket was comped, and I'm glad I didn't have to pay the $40 that adult tickets run on weekends, but for Marvel-head kids, this could be a lot of fun.  Additional tour dates are TBA, though I think an East Coast swing is unlikely, because of theme park rights issues.

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