Join us aboard the hype train – Avengers: Endgame has arrived, and it’s carving up the competition with a methodical mercilessness worthy of Thanos himself.
OK, so we weren’t expecting Endgame to fly beneath the radar, but its record-breaking $1.2 billion opening weekend in the US must have surpassed the expectations of even the most optimistic marketing executive.
If this three-hour splurge of superhero splendour doesn’t quite meet your Marvel needs, there’s a real-life extended universe that will. Here are five of Marvel’s best real-world attractions that should impress even the most ardent super fan.
1. Marvel Superhero Island, Florida
With Hulk, Spider-man, Doctor Doom and X-Men-themed attractions, this dedicated division of Disney World, Orlando, forms the bedrock of Marvel’s off-screen entertainment.
The island opened in its current guise in 1999, more than a decade before Iron Man sent Marvel Studios into the stratosphere, and still attracts hordes of tourists to its twists, turns and loop-the-loops. Disneyland Paris, Anaheim and Hong Kong are all now opening Marvel sections too.
2. The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N Experience, Cardiff
Coming off acclaimed stints in Seoul, Paris and Las Vegas, the S.T.A.T.I.O.N (Science Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) Experience is part-exhibition, part-arcade. Replica models in glass cases are interspersed with a motion-sensing game shooting enemies as Iron Man, the opportunity to pose on Captain America’s motorbike, and a chance to try (and fail) to lift the hammer of Thor.
After a successful five months in London, the exhibits are now midway through a move to Cardiff.
3. Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil
A tourism behemoth in its own right, the collective cascades at Iguazu Falls make up the largest waterfall system in the world. More importantly, they doubled as Warrior Falls in 2018 smash Black Panther – the perfect trip for Marvel-lovers saddled with less enthusiastic companions.
But why stop there? The world is full of Marvel sets hiding in plain sight. Other options include the Liège-Guillemins railway station in Belgium, which was Xandar Plaza in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Old Royal Naval College in London, which hosted the final battle in Thor 2.
4. Universe of Superheroes Exhibition, Pennsylvania
After spreading some Marvel magic in the Pop Culture Museum in Seattle, this extensive exhibition is now enjoying an east coast debut at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Highlights include hand-drawn images of Marvel mainstays by the artists that first designed them, along with props, costumes, and endless opportunities for selfies.
5. Madame Tussauds, London
Almost the entire Marvel menagerie now stand alongside David Beckham and the Queen at the world’s most famous waxwork museum. The newly unveiled Captain Marvel joins Hawkeye, Spider-man, Nick Fury, Iron Man, Wolverine and more in the designated ‘Marvel Secret Command Centre’.
The flagship photo op comes courtesy of Spidey. His waxwork crouches on the ceiling of an upside down office, so after striking your pose simply turn the photo upside down, and hey presto, you’re defying gravity.