Avengers... and a lot of other randos... ASSEMBLE!
"Avengers... and a lot of other randos... ASSEMBLE!" Courtesy Marvel Universe Live!

I'll admit that before last year's Marvel Universe Live! show at the Moda Center, my expectations were verrrrrry looooooow. After all, it's from the same company that produces the "Disney on Ice" shows that kids love, but make parents want to claw their eyes out. So yes, I was SHOCKED when I totally loved the debut of Marvel Universe Live!—a cobbled together plot about Marvel superheroes teaming up to fight bad guys with acrobatics, explosions, and dirt bikes. Read that review here.

So how did my expectations hold up for the second installment of this show, called Marvel Universe Live!: Age of Heroes (which played all weekend at the Moda)? Well, this time my expectations before the show were about here (holds hand about six inches above head), but what I got was WAY UP HERE! (Holds hand like about two feet above head!)

In short, the producers of Age of Heroes took everything that was lacking in last year's show, fixed it, and added a lot more of the stuff I loved. The story—while entertainingly ridiculous/hilarious—was a lot more cohesive, and eschewed the boring exposition that bogged down the first go-around. Some legit and funny jokes have been added (largely given to the Guardians of the Galaxy characters), and while there are significantly fewer dirt bikes involved (WHAT), the motorcycle tricks were far more impressive—including a sick dirt bike backflip performed by Spider-Man. (A sentence never before typed in the history of humankind.)

And not to disparage Cirque du Soleil... well, I guess I'm disparaging them, because Age of Heroes had a lot of the same impressive acrobatic verve, but none of the pretentiousness. In fact, among all the explosions, villain fights, special effects, and towering, 10-foot-tall bickering Hulks and Groots, there were some sweet moments and acrobatic displays that were nothing short of beautiful.

In all, Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes is silly, totally entertaining fun for kids and dorks of all ages (me). And, at least thus far, is only getting better with age.

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Courtesy Marvel Universe Live!