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They're back, back, back, back, back again! 

Just watched the first two episode of X-Men '97n on D+ last night. I gotta say - the creators of the show KNOW who they're making this for: If you were a kid who liked this in the 90s, you are going to be well fed. 

My spoiler free review:
There are certainly a few things here and there to adjust to (the animation style is a little less lush/more streamlined & some voices have obviously changed), but the feel of the series... the heart of it feels firmly in tact. There's a LOT that could have gone wrong in trying to cash in on a classic, but the creators seem like they have really tried to stay true to the OG while giving a few modern flourishes.
There are some fun cameos and a LOT of easter eggs for anyone who knows the original series by heart. 

What did y'all think of it?

x-men-97.thumb.webp.abd8820159a2c540c46c52b817bed080.webp

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Many thoughts:

I was initially unimpressed with the idea of reviving the series. I've stood firmly that the initial series is greater than the sum of its parts, so this exercise to reboot the property felt more in line with the cynicism of Hollywood nostalgia-baits than legitimate intent with the characters. 

However, I worked late last night and it was too late to watch a movie, so I settled for the premiere episodes of "X-Men '97" instead. 

 

And I really liked it. 

 

The X-Men are as important to me as they are to anyone else. I was just thrilled to see them treated with respect and dignity again. I was particularly impressed with Cyclops and Magneto. It's a strong belief amongst X-Fans that the FoX-Men films were an utter assassination of Cyclops' character, so to have him portrayed as the stoic, strong willed, brooding and burdened leader I know him as was totally vindicating. As for Magnus, perhaps a twinge of recency bias, but this could very well be the finest portrayal of the man outside of his comic book origins. Not even considering this series as a continuation of an existing one. In a vacuum, this single episode is the best Magneto. 

I was less thrilled with the first episode than I was with the second. It felt less substantial to me, more of a necessity to get the audience back into the world, a lot of plot development to get us to the cruciality of the succeeding show. But, when that second episode hit . . . 

After only two episodes, this show appears to be speed-running the major events of the Uncanny X-Men in the 80s. Aside from what they had already covered thirty years ago (Phoenix, Days of Future Past, Fall of the Mutants, et al). 

 

Spoiler

I really liked how they ran through the Trial of Magneto so effectively. His scripting and dialogue was outstanding and especially prescient. Maybe we could see a follow up appearance from a certain coterie of Earth's Mightiest Heroes . . .


I love that they're choosing to focus on the relationship between Rogue and Magneto. I have always carried a torch for those two. I love the optics of two people who have alienated themselves from the world finding commonality and purpose.


I'm excited to see Storm (presumably) go hang out with Forge in the Southwest and (hopefully) get her punk on, only to return and beat the living piss out of Cyke without her powers.

I'm looking forward to the unfolding of the Jean Grey 'cloning' arc and the INFERNO it will lead to.

Also . . . doesn't Leech negate mutant powers within a certain proximity of him? How was Magneto able to rescue them? Is it a thing he can turn on and off? I guess I need to read that X-Terminators miniseries again . . .

 

I think this is a step up from the original series. That may be due to the initial audience now being thirty years older and capable of more clearly seeing nuance and depth in their Saturday morning programming.

Ideally, I would prefer more original takes on the X-Men that don't rely entirely on the same fifteen year period of comics that most adaptations (and comic runs) have continued to. As this stands, however, I like it and am willing to see more. 

I've always liked the X-Men best when they're fighting extra-terrestrial empires, time-traveling terrorists, and inter-dimensional monsters. There's something so palpable about the metaphor of the only people capable of saving the entirety of life on Earth . . . are those most maligned by it.

I'd like the next X-Men cartoon to be a healthy mixture of "God Loves, Man Kills," "Excalibur," "Exiles," and "The Brood Saga," if you catch my drift ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Episode 3 just dropped. I'm loving the tone, animation style and character design for the most part. My only issue so far has been pacing. Episode 3 felt like it should have been stretched over 2 or 3 episodes. 
I am also VERY much digging the Morph cameos, but I do hope we see those characters actually show up and get some attention in future episodes.

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Bring in Nightcrawler and Colossus and I don’t even need an X-Men movie anymore. This show is nailing it so well that like… they should just make more of this. 

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GUH! 
The little easter eggs in this season are AMAZING! 
A mate online just pointed out this little change in the opening titles. IYKYK.

Spoiler

image.thumb.jpeg.a0f5a6303d9fd926a21566f20a770143.jpeg


 

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I am... not ok after the most recent episode. 
I'll shield this for those who haven't watched it yet. 

Spoiler

Hearing that sassy, brassy voice that I've had in my ears since I was 12 years old... hearing her heart break like that was absolutely devastating. 
I know this was a 30 minute cartoon for kids, but DAMN.

On a more clinical note - the pacing of this episode felt better. Some of the previous episodes felt like they blew through a story that should have taken 2 or 3 episodes. This felt more even and a bit like the jumping off platform for whatever is coming at the end of the season.

And that last 10 minutes... that was viscerally upsetting. It felt so intense. 

If the rest of the season manages to keep going like this, I'll be very impressed. 

 

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On 4/11/2024 at 9:54 PM, Nessex said:

I am... not ok after the most recent episode. 
I'll shield this for those who haven't watched it yet. 

  Reveal hidden contents

Hearing that sassy, brassy voice that I've had in my ears since I was 12 years old... hearing her heart break like that was absolutely devastating. 
I know this was a 30 minute cartoon for kids, but DAMN.

On a more clinical note - the pacing of this episode felt better. Some of the previous episodes felt like they blew through a story that should have taken 2 or 3 episodes. This felt more even and a bit like the jumping off platform for whatever is coming at the end of the season.

And that last 10 minutes... that was viscerally upsetting. It felt so intense. 

If the rest of the season manages to keep going like this, I'll be very impressed. 

 

I watched Remember It on Friday night. I gasped so loudly in the last few minutes of that episode. Then I heard the line “…remember it.” And saw the ending. I handed my wife the controller, and I told her I needed to take a shower, and if she heard any sobbing coming from the bathroom it, most assuredly, was NOT a grown man crying over a cartoon. 

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