#NativeNerd review: ‘X-Men ‘97’ is a nostalgic gift from Marvel

“X-Men ’97” is a lot of fun, and I sincerely appreciate the effort that went into creating the series, though some things might be a smidge over-dramatic. Still, I had fun, and wow, Cyclops is finally cool!

While fans of Marvel have been waiting for the X-Men to show themselves on the big screen properly, Disney+ has just released “X-Men’97,” much to the nostalgic delight of those who enjoyed the show when it originally came out years ago.

In full disclosure, I was an 80s X-Men fan. I collected the Marvel comics versions when Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Phoenix and Cyclops were all working under the watchful psychic mind of Charles Xavier.

In this animated series, Cyclops finally comes across as cool.

Cyclops (voiced by Ray Chase) in Marvel Animation’s X-MEN ’97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2024 MARVEL.

I loved those days of my youth so much, and X-Men was my number one favorite comic. These issues were far from simplistic. All of the heroes faced achingly difficult internal struggles. As a young man, I appreciated how Marvel explained that if you were given the powers of a mutant, life did not suddenly become rosy. So that is how I came into this newest show on Disney+. 

Here is the synopsis of the series:

Marvel Animation’s “X-Men’97” revisits the iconic era of the 1990s as The X-Men, a band of mutants who use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them, are challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future. 

The all-new series features 10 episodes. The voice cast includes Ray Chase as Cyclops, Jennifer Hale as Jean Grey, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm, Cal Dodd as Wolverine, JP Karliak as Morph, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, AJ LoCascio as Gambit, Holly Chou as Jubilee, Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, Matthew Waterson as Magneto, and Adrian Hough as Nightcrawler. Beau DeMayo serves as head writer; episodes are directed by Jake Castorena, Chase Conley and Emi Yonemura, and the series is executive produced by Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and DeMayo. Featuring music by the Newton Brothers, Marvel Animation’s “X-Men ’97” begins streaming on Disney+ with a 2-episode premiere on March 20, 2024.

Here is the trailer:

My SNEWP-method score (S2 N1.8 E1.8 W1 P1.5)


For further reading on my scoring system, I call it ‘The SNEWP Method.’ My Rotten Tomatoes film critic scoring technique

Ok, “X-Men ’97” is a lot of fun, and I sincerely appreciate the effort that went into creating the series. I also offer a sincere nod to keeping things similar to the original series. 

One thing I will admit is that this timeline is a little further along than I would have liked because I feel there was a stronger connection with the characters of the ’80s X-Men rather than the ‘97 version of the X-Men.  I am going to chalk this up a bit to personal preference.

In terms of the story (S) in my Snewps score, I can say this is where the series excels. The story is full of intrigue and creativity, and the group of characters involved in the first three episodes is a genuine treat.

What I like the best about X-Men ’97

It is easy to express what I like best about this series. I truly enjoy the action sequences that demonstrate a vast range of superpowers and mutant abilities unhindered by the production costs of computer-animated graphics.

This is the beauty of a cartoon; it costs the same to draw a character eating dinner as it does to show them fighting a villain. Here is a great example of how cool Cyclops is in the animated series as opposed to how he appeared in the X-Men movies previously.

(Please note that the f-word is in this tweet by @ScreenRogue, but the video is on point.)

In terms of nostalgia, there is plenty, but not so much for the X-Men in general, but more toward honoring the original animated series. This is fine, but I would have liked a bit more toward the original team; for example, I loved the original costumes shown here and there as a nod to “This is who we used to be.’

In terms of critique, I felt the voices at times were a bit overdramatic, which took me a bit out of the moment. Yes, I understand there are villains and heroes, and there are those characters with anti-social attitudes and more, but you don’t have to beat us over the noggin with too many “I hate the world, if you don’t like it, eat my shorts” stereotypes. 

X-MEN ’97, exclusively on Disney+. © 2024 MARVEL.

I really enjoyed this, but I do hope some of the over-dramatization cools down a little bit moving forward.

And hey, Marvel forces that be, please bring back Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler. 

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2 thoughts on “#NativeNerd review: ‘X-Men ‘97’ is a nostalgic gift from Marvel

  1. I Read X-MEN since the late 70’s, I was a kid, then read the original ones created in 1963, and continued reading what was called “The New X-MEN” then in France and later “The Uncanny X-MEN”. From the get go Cyclops was my favorite one.
    I did bitterly regret and still do that they killed Thunderbird even though in his short lived appearance he was quite stereotyped.
    Nevertheless, he had a great potential and could have evolved to be less stereotyped and to become a major character, to the point of having his own spin off solo comic series like Wolverine did.
    On a side note, I thought he had a great costume (I’m aware it ain’t the opinion of part of the Amerindian readers) and to me he could have become the Amerindian Captain America, no less, actually the real symbol of America. That was my dream.

    And Niá:wen, thank you Mr Schilling for your good article about the X-MEN’97 animated series.

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