Disney+ revives a classic Marvel cartoon in X-Men ’97 

Marvel’s merry band of mutants or, X-men, from a scene in the cartoon found streaming on Disney + 

Saturday mornings meant one thing for me when I was a kid, setting my alarm clock for 8 a.m. so I could tune into new episodes of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh

Like most kids of the pre-streaming era, such moments were sacred; they were times to unwind, eat heavily sugared cereal and, most importantly, not be at school. 

Kids WB was always my jam but if I had ever deviated from my strict schedule and flipped over to Fox Kids I would have no doubt fallen in love with X-Men, the massively popular animated adaptation of Marvel’s classic band of merry mutants. 

The show was such a hit that Disney decided to continue it 27 years later with X-Men ‘97, an enjoyable cheese-fest with cool action, beautiful animation and an intergenerational appeal. 

I tried going back to watch the original run not long before the revival and found myself having a hard time with it. 

Although I am a big X-Men fan in general, the show was clearly not meant for me as an adult with no nostalgic feelings toward it. But as X-Men ‘97 is Disney’s first attempt to bring the team to the screen since its acquisition of Fox back in 2019, I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. 

I am glad that I did. 

It does have that corny ‘90s aura in abundance, from the silly one-liners to the bombastic, overly dramatic voiceover work of both new and returning cast members. 

But the animation has also improved greatly since the show’s previous incarnation, the motion of the characters having the fluidity and grace one expects from a television show made in the 2020s. 

Nowhere is this animation bump more apparent than in the action scenes, which are pretty darn cool. 

Each scene utilizes the cast of mutant’s superpowers in new and creative ways. Supplementing the action is a soundtrack worthy of the original’s iconic theme, a leitmotif that never fails to thrill whenever it returns. 

Though I personally believe that X-Men ‘97 should be an intergenerational hit that both adults and children can enjoy, there is no doubt that not all adults will enjoy it, nor will all children. 

The corniness may be too off-putting for some grown-ups and although I am a firm believer that kids are more than capable of handling heavier themes like prejudice and identity–themes which are so vital to the X-Men brand and should never be cut from any adaptation–I could definitely see some kids getting bored with the non-punchy bits of X-Men ‘97

It lives in an odd no man’s land between adult and kid appeal but I believe it does so quite well, bridging the gap in a way that many other shows would fail at. 

If you do watch X-Men ‘97, learn from my mistakes and watch it in the morning with a bowl of Lucky Charms. There is no other correct way to do so. 

The first five episodes of X-Men ’97 season one are now available on Disney+, with new episodes releasing each Wednesday. 

Article written by TJ Reid

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