X-Men ’97 Review: A Nostalgic Revival with Fresh Storytelling

X-Men ’97 Review : For millennials who grew up in the 90s, the arrival of Disney+‘s “X-Men ’97” is a nostalgic trip back to the glory days of Saturday morning cartoons. This animated series, a direct continuation of the beloved “X-Men: The Animated Series,” strikes a perfect balance between honouring its roots and delivering fresh, engaging storytelling.

From the moment the iconic theme song kicks in, viewers are transported back to a time when they would eagerly gather around the TV, sugary cereal in hand, to follow the adventures of Marvel‘s mutant heroes. But “X-Men ’97” is more than just a trip down memory lane; it’s a testament to the enduring appeal of these characters and their complex, socially relevant narratives.

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X-Men ’97 Review

X-Men ‘97 Review
X-Men ‘97 Review

The series picks up where its predecessor left off, with the X-Men reeling from the loss of their mentor, Professor X. Cyclops, Xavier‘s protégé, reluctantly takes the reins, leading the team through familiar challenges while grappling with personal struggles and impending parenthood with his wife, Jean Grey.

One of the most significant twists comes in the form of Magneto, Xavier’s lifelong friend and rival, who assumes leadership of the X-Men per the professor’s dying wish. This move not only adds an intriguing dynamic to the team’s dynamics but also sets the stage for exploring the complex relationship between Magneto and his former adversaries.

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While paying homage to the original series with its retro animation style and the return of beloved voice actors like Cal Dodd as Wolverine and Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, “X-Men ’97” doesn’t shy away from embracing modern storytelling techniques. The pacing is brisk, with each episode packing multiple storylines and plot twists that would easily span an entire feature film.

From battling Sentinel robots to fending off psychic attacks and unravelling cloning conspiracies, the X-Men face a gauntlet of challenges that keep the action intense and the stakes high. Yet, amid the epic battles and world-saving missions, the series never loses sight of the characters’ emotional journeys and interpersonal relationships.

Cyclops and Jean Grey‘s impending parenthood, Rogue’s rekindled romance with Magneto, and Storm’s loss of powers are just a few of the personal storylines that add depth and heart to the series. And let’s not forget the delightful banter and quips that punctuate the action sequences, reminding us of the franchise’s signature wit and charm.

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While “X-Men ’97” may be a nostalgia trip for many, it also serves as an excellent introduction to the X-Men universe for newcomers. The series deftly weaves in expository elements without feeling bogged down by excessive backstory, allowing both longtime fans and fresh viewers to immerse themselves in the mutant world.

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe prepares to integrate the X-Men into its ever-expanding tapestry, “X-Men ’97” stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of these iconic characters. By honouring the source material while embracing modern storytelling sensibilities, the series has created a worthy successor to the beloved animated series, ensuring that the X-Men’s legacy will continue to captivate audiences for generations to come.

The first two episodes of “X-Men ‘97” are now streaming on Disney+, with the remaining episodes airing weekly on Wednesdays.