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‘X-Men’ 97′ – Review

‘X-Men’ 97′ – Review


It was particularly fun to be a 1990s kid, and one of the coolest parts of growing up in that era was watching X-Men: The Animated Series. This now seminal cartoon series captured the true essence of the 1990s Marvel-era X-Men, which was our first port of call for the Marvel Universe for many of us. Now, thirty-two years later, it’s time to return to the daring, action-packed awesomeness of the 1990s with X-Men ’97. And the result is awesome!

Picking up one year after the events of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992–1997), the X-Men face dangerous new challenges following the loss of their leader Professor Charles Xavier, who had been taken away by Lilandra Neramani to heal from psychic injuries inflicted by Henry Peter Gyrich.

X-Men: The Animated Series is a seminal cartoon series that introduced a whole generation to the world of Marvel Comics and the fight of the X-Men to protect both mutants and humankind from all kinds of dangerous threats. It was a series that created a legion of fans thanks to its action-packed narrative, fast-paced animated style, and, let’s not forget, its thumping theme music. Now, thirty-two years later, the X-Men of the 1990s are back in X-Men ’97, and the action kicks off with a blast in this moment of pure nostalgia resurrected right before our eyes. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, Beast and new team members Morph and Bishop are back to fight against injustice, prejudice and hate and encounter new threats in a bold new series that wraps its audience up in an intense and pulsating energy.

X-Men ’97 keeps its narrative moving fast, and it picks up straight away from the end of the original X-Men: The Animated Series, following the death of Charles Xavier and the revelation that Xavier has left his estate, team and legacy in the hands of his former friend turned enemy Magneto. But while this might be a shock for all, Magneto quickly steps up to honour his friend’s legacy, and together, this new team of X-Men must battle the remnants of the Sentinal program, along with having to contend with the threat of the terrifying Mister Sinister. Fans of the comic books will be pleased to see the presence of the Madelyne Pryor saga explored, and there’s plenty of drama to keep fans hooked. Plus, whether you’re a veteran of the original and are looking for that nostalgic bit of pleasure, or you are new to the world of X-Men: The Animated Series, you’ll easily pick this series up, and the action will quickly pull you in.

While the original series drew heavily upon the classic X-Men designs of the Jim Lee Marvel era, X-Men ’97 works to keep this style and the atmosphere of the mid-1990s, the animation takes a step forward, allowing the creatives to push the envelope. With the power of modern animation pushing its design to new limits, the action takes a big step forward, and the result is a dynamic and energised show that takes this classic series and allows it to reach its full potential. While we might be looking at 2D cell-shaded images, the energy and power of the animation gives it the same power and dynamism that one would expect from the X-Men film series (and of which this series helped propel forward) and makes for an utterly fun watch.

X-Men ’97 is a series created by fans for fans. Those who are seeking to relive the nostalgia of the original series will find it in this show. It’s a thrilling ride from start to finish, with captivating action sequences, engaging narration, well-crafted characters, stunning animation, and great music. All of these elements come together to create a show that embodies the intensity, energy, and coolness of a classic series reborn. It’s truly exciting to go back to the 1990s with this show.

X-Men ’97 is currently streaming on Disney+

Image: Walt Disney Pictures