For a Marvel-ous time

Published: Sep 20, 2019, 07:00 IST | Shunashir Sen |

Lower Parel is hosting a new interactive exhibition that does a spanking job of bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to life

Students take part in a quiz in the first room at the exhibition, which is dedicated to Ironman. Pics/Ashish Raje
Students take part in a quiz in the first room at the exhibition, which is dedicated to Ironman. Pics/Ashish Raje

Let's start with a disclaimer. I am not a huge fan of The Avengers. Mock me if you must, but I haven't even seen Endgame yet (yes, yes, I'm aware that it's the highest-grossing film ever). Sure, I do know that Bruce Banner suffered some sort of radiation mishap to turn into The Hulk. I also know that glad-eyed tycoon Tony Stark dons a pretty cool suit to become Ironman. The character of Thor is adapted from the Norse god of the same name who comes from the mythical land of Asgar. But ask me who Wanda Maximoff is and I'll give you the same blank stare that the Prime Minister gave the media during his first ever "press conference" earlier this year.

And yet, even I can't help but feel a tinge of excitement while walking in for an interactive exhibition titled Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N, which brings the comic book's universe to life in a Lower Parel mall before travelling to Bangalore in November. But my own excitement is nothing compared to that of a gaggle of middle-school kids who literally scream in joy when we all enter the briefing room first. There, agent Maria Hill informs us from behind a video screen that we are here for the serious business of being recruited as members of Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate, or S.H.I.E.L.D. "Wooooah," the students exclaim, as a door opens that leads to our training ground for the next one hour.

Guide
Chitauri, an alien

The first room in this space is dedicated to Ironman. A statue of the suit and another one of Hulkbuster, a different persona of the superhero, greet me with lifeless stares as staff members ask the children to settle down and be seated for a briefing, followed by a quiz. The six people who get the answers right will be considered higher powers qualified enough to try out a virtual-reality game where they can embody the superhero character. This game involves standing before a screen and watching yourself don Ironman's costume before you combat baddies by hurling fireballs at them with a flick of your hand. It's the closest anyone can hope to actually feel what it's like to be Tony Stark inside that suit, and going by the fighting skills I display, let's just say that the world is in safer hands with Stark in charge.

Guide
Children try out an interactive activity

The next room is dedicated to The Hulk. The children are again asked to be seated (it's clearly the only way to control them) and briefed about the character as I read about the model science lab that explains how Bruce Banner came to be the angry green monster (apparently the physicist was trying out a gamma radiation experiment to replicate a World War II-era super soldier before the dung hit the fan). It's all quite fascinating, really, for someone as clueless about Marvel comics as certain people are about lifting the economy up.

Guide
The room where agent Maria Hill briefs potential 'recruits'

And thus I learn more about the origin stories of Black Widow, Thor, Loki, Falcon and all the other characters who I only had vague knowledge about so far. The kids and I also try out a few other interactive activities, such as a lever you have to press to test your strength and another game where you team up with your friends and enact the roles of the different superheroes. The room that simulates Asgard deserves special mention, though a stationary hammer called Mjolnir that you're asked to lift seems a bit gimmicky since everyone knows that it's Thor who's meant to pick that weapon up.

But otherwise, this exhibition is worth attending for fans who have only experienced these characters in the comic books or on screen. There are even original props from the movies on display, such as the Harley Davidson bike that Captain America rides (why was there no exhibit on Spiderman, we wonder). The equipment, shipped from South Korea, is also top-notch. And at the end of it all, we leave with enough knowledge to gather that Wanda Maximoff is actually Scarlet Witch, a super villain with mutant powers. How about that?

Till October 13, 12 pm
AT High Street Phoenix, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel.
Log on to bookmyshow.com
Cost Rs 600

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