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A Return To Greatness – X-Men 97

I don’t even know who pitched a continuation of the old Saturday morning X-Men cartoon to Marvel. I don’t quite believe it’s now a real watchable thing, but I am so glad it exists! 

X-Men 97 is the greatest piece of Marvel Studios content in years. I’m just disappointed that the impact of that is lessened by the perceived decline in MCU’s quality and popularity… Don’t start me on that.

X-Men 97 - Cyclops front and centre with other X-men behind him

The writing in this show does an excellent job of capturing the depth of each character. I’m not just the surface-level mannerisms as some shows like to, but their actual motivations, loves and fears. That nice character-building stuff that seems to get overlooked in other series. These characters can be so real and likeable that you’re going to care what happens to them, so prepare for possible tears.

Unlike certain other Marvel projects, it also refuses to back down on the original messaging. Expect an exploration of oppression, stigma and tolerance among the awesome powers and character moments. There’s no rolling over for the status quo or sudden unexplained murderous rampages once viewers catch onto the fact that the “bad guy” refugees might actually have a point. (How does the MCU keep using that plot device?).

X-Men 97 - X-Man Storm, close-up at night. Power glows in her eyes

The voice-work bringing these characters to life is also top tier being a mix of returning cast and current A-list voice talent. There’s also clearly been a lot of care put into the entire soundscape. Modern production and (probably) budget have given things a boost with powers, laser blasters and explosions having that distinctive 90s Saturday morning sound while being clean, powerful and more intentional. Add to that the remastered opening theme is incredible with background music maintaining the standard.

The whole series really benefits from being just ten well-planned episodes and not 30 episodes produced in a matter of months. Nowhere is that more clear than in the animation. 

X-Men 97 - Gambit holds onto Wolverine as they charge forward. Wolverines claws are charged with purple kinetic energy

There’s an improbable tightrope between improving the animation quality and staying true to the original style of a 1992 show with incredibly inconsistent animation quality, but X-Men ’97 really nails that tightrope – despite the mixed metaphor. We get comic book accuracy, bright colours and additional detail in scenes where it matters.

It all echoes that 90s style without feeling cheap, which feels like something the first season of Amazon’s Invincible struggled with. The action scenes and battles also turn things to eleven, easily surpassing the original series with creative and downright edge-of-your-seat sequences that can stand alongside some of the incredible anime action we’re now used to.

X-Men 97 - The X-men gather round in various casual/sporting clothes

If you remember the original series then X-Men ’97 is a must-watch! It’s a must-watch if you have any familiarity with the X-Men. Just don’t feel like you have to watch the entire original show first. Even with nostalgia on your side, the quality is variable and I don’t want anyone getting burnt out before they can experience the new iteration.

10/10 star rating

Service: Disney+





One response to “A Return To Greatness – X-Men 97”

  1. Scruff avatar

    I just finished the series myself and I was not prepared! This went places the original show only touched on and it’s fantastic!

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