Heroes and villains run amok at The Marvel Experience, an immersive, hyper reality attraction held at Fair Park through Jan. 31.
The best way to describe the Experience, organized jointly by Marvel and Hero Ventures, is to think of a haunted house, only the monsters and goblins are replaced by Spider-Man and Iron Man.
As visitors first walk through the attraction, housed in seven large domes right next to the Cotton Bowl, they enter into a quick debriefing session held by Nick Fury, Captain America, Wolverine and other heroes. S.H.I.E.L.D., the agency responsible for the protection of the planet from threats, is under attack by the terrorist organization Hydra lead by the Red Skull, and new agents are needed to combat this ominous threat.
Visitors are then quickly whisked into the largest area of the event: a dome that doubles as a playground and a museum paying homage to Marvel lore. There are attractions that vary from interactive video games where users can simulate flying as Iron Man to rock climbing walls painted in the palettes of Spider-Man.
For the more academic enthusiasts, there are displays that house replicas of important artifacts such as Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s signature star-spangled shield.
As the guided attraction continues, visitors walk through a full-size replica of an Avengers Quinjet into an empty dome where they are handed 3-D glasses. Suddenly, the ceiling is transformed into a screen as spectators are wrapped up in what feels like a first-person experience as they watch the Avengers take on Hydra.
Continuing on the adventure, guests are trapped in a room where a door has been jammed by Hydra’s attacks. As the Hulk appears on the screens above to come assist in opening the doors, a giant, animatronic green hand appears on the other side of the door, pulling the door open to the squeals of young and old alike.
The final stop on the tour has visitors sitting in a theater that doubles as a thrill ride as the seats move and sway as the Quinjet flies through a sea of threats and finally takes down Hydra.
It was hard for audience members to conceal their child- like joy as they flew through the imaginary threats that seemed so real. This really applies to the whole experience. The attraction was clearly made with children in mind, but that doesn’t mean the horde of adults who go will be missing out on anything.
One of the only downsides is the price of admission. While tickets for children under the age of 4 are free, general admission starts at $37.50 and VIP packages go all the way up to $99, so you’ll need to save up some comic book money to get in.
Another weak spot was the storyline of the quest that users were sent on, which won’t be getting critical acclaim any time soon. Seeing as this was essentially a theme park ride, and a genuinely fun one at that, the flawed plot wasn’t too big of a concern.
Overall, The Marvel Experience was truly that: an experience.