X-Men 97 was fantastic! Marvel brought back the merry band of mutants in a style that eclipsed the 20th Century Fox live-action X-Men movies by a mile. I enjoyed X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and Logan (2017). But this Disney+ show was a masterpiece of animation that did things no other X-Men or MCU film/show would ever do: be mature, less focused on connecting stuff to the grander Multiverse plotlines, and have an entertaining story.

(L-R): Beast (voiced by George Buza), Rogue (voiced by Lenore Zann), Morph (voiced by JP Karliak), Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase), Wolverine (voiced by Cal Dodd), Gambit (voiced by AJ LoCascio), and Bishop (voiced by Isaac Robinson-Smith) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

The direct sequel to the 1992 original animated series was dark in tone. The most entertaining episode of the series was “Remember It”, which was surprisingly sensual, and bleak as the climax of Avengers: Infinity War (2018). The second episode that stood out was “Tolerance Is Extinction—Part 2”, with its ominous dark cliffhanger as Magneto wrung Wolverine of his Adamantium blood out of his body, ripped right out of the pages of ‘X-Men: Fatal Attraction’. It solidified that this show did not pull any punches and executed well.

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Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.

Almost every character had their standout moments–from Storm getting her powers back to Nightcrawler being a badass telepathic fighter during the 3-part season finale. It was astonishing to see how the characters were portrayed better than the live-action films, which failed to capture the essence of what made the X-Men timeless. The soap opera plotlines especially kept the show exciting, something the Phase Four and first half of Phase Five MCU movies failed to do.  

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Image via The Movie Database/Disney/Marvel Animation

X-Men 97 was a true sequel that kept what made the original series nostalgic and surpassed it with the story, animations, and condensed X-Men history in satisfying 30-minute episodes. How will the series carry on without showrunner Beau DeMayo due to his alleged Only Fans account? I don’t know, but he did say he had some involvement in season two. If the MCU wanted to bring the X-Men to the big screen again and do it right, this show was a blueprint for them to succeed.

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