Following successful runs in Las Vegas, Seoul, Paris and several other major cities since its inception in 2014, Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N finally arrives in London. It’s outdated but a lot of fun.
Small groups enter every ten minutes for a self-guided tour of the major Marvel Cinematic Universe iconography, exhibited through life-size suit replicas and interactive mini-games – particularly those related to the core superhero team. The experience peaks too early with the Iron Man section, wherein the view of the Hulkbuster model and his array of suits are really quite impressive. This is followed by a cool motion-sensing game – albeit one that’s Kinect when it could be Oculus – where audiences play as Tony Stark’s alter-ego and shoot enemies.
Beyond Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Thor, visitors of the ExCeL get a world-first look at displays for Thanos, the Wasp and Black Panther. T’Challa’s showcase is substantial but, disappointingly, the former two are virtually non-existent. Considering these characters were added to reflect the growth of the Avengers, it’s strange that Spider-Man doesn’t have a presence – though we can perhaps forgive the conspicuous lack of Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
This goes back to the fundamental weakness of the show: it’s been travelling for a few years now and consequently, it only goes as far as Age of Ultron. As long as one knows this beforehand, it’s a largely enjoyable trip that’s made better with helpful staff who stay in character as SHIELD representatives. “Careful! I hear that combination is radioactive!”, said one of them as we played with elements on Stark’s particle accelerator.
There are plenty of appealing photo opportunities throughout (posing with Captain America’s shield, the Mjolnir simulator etc.) and the scattered entry gives way for everyone to explore the area with sufficient space and time. There are lots of descriptors about everything from Bruce Banner’s brain to the context of the Battle of New York. The density of these texts is pointless for the geeks and unfriendly for kids, but perfect for parents taking them, who may be less obsessed with this world.
So long as they know not to expect the inclusion of anything from the last couple of years of Marvel’s films, bar Black Panther, fans of all ages can have an awesome experience at the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.