Fighting my aging body there's an ungrown child who still wishes for magic of fairytales and superheroes. Although I've admittedly never been a comic book fan - I fell into the realism camp of childhood fantasies, with the likes of Nancy Drew/Encyclopedia Brown or Choose Your own Adventure books - I can still appreciate the nerdy enthusiasm for Spidey and Captain America. Which is why I found myself leading a motley crew of adult men into the Marvel Experience Wednesday night. There were five of us, so we assigned characters -- as the only girl, I was Black Widow, obviously. And we picked superpowers. My friends were excited on the point of giddy, although admittedly they had no idea what to expect. One of them even asked if this was the same thing as Marvel Universe Live! , which he saw a commercial for on tv. (It is not.)
No, the Marvel Experience is a small, traveling theme park that contains an array of video games, 3-d videos, one virtual shooting game, a laser maze, a climbing wall, and a simulator (a movie during which the chairs move a little bit). There is also a small food court, complete with hotdogs and Bud Lights, for the adults. The Bud Lights are the only things there for adults. Because the Marvel Experience is very much for children.
I am not telling you this because we didn't have a good time. We would've played the virtual shooting game for hours, and some of the 3-d videos were on point. But when the tickets are $40, it seems important to make it clear. This is not an adult comic book lover's Disney world. There is no cosplay or challenging games. It's a way to bring new fans into the fold. Not only do many of the games require grown men to hunch over (although a six foot guy on the Spidey climbing wall was pretty funny), the videos are telling the origin stories of the characters -- stories new to me, but stale to the lifetime nerds to my right and left. On the way home, one of my friends spent a few minutes trying to explain why one of the stories wasn't even right - I think he was saying something about Hydra and Red Skull.
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Maybe it should've been obvious, but it came as a surprise to me that this hyped-up Marvel Experience was really just for kids. And really probably kids around 11 and younger. Or maybe I've grown into the crusty fun-hating adult I feared I'd become.