X-Men '97 First Impressions — Nostalgia bomb of the highest caliber

You just got home. You rush to your TV, snacks in hand, to catch the latest episode of your favorite show, X-Men. The familiar theme song hits. The uncanny X-Men fly across your screen. You smile. It's 2024.

But it feels like you're back in 1997.

The first two episodes of X-Men '97 just dropped on Disney+. As a life-long X-Men fan, I was a little apprehensive. This new series is a continuation of the X-Men cartoon, literally starting where the previous episode — and the show itself — ended way back in 1997. Will they be able to satisfy both new viewers and the people who grew up with it?

That's a resounding yes.

Let's not kid ourselves, though. The old X-Men cartoon was memorable, but it wasn't all that good. Despite doing all the classic X-Men storylines, it was limited by the animation technology of its time. The very last season in particular was a slashed-budget nightmare. But X-Men '97 brushes off the cobwebs, cauterizes the warts, and gives the old cartoon not just a new coat of paint but also injects a new energy that makes it must-watch TV.

X-Men '97 is doing a lot of things right. It still uses traditional animation. It brought back most of the original cast (with Ray Chase taking over from the late great Norm Spencer as Cyclops). It's still cheesy as the 2020's would allow. But the writing is leagues better, and the action scenes are given the big budget the X-Men deserves.

This isn't the X-Men I grew up watching, and right now that's a good thing.

For a crash course on the X-Men cartoon and the team in general, the first two episodes are a great starting point. Watching Cyclops use his optic blast to make the most epic superhero landing I've ever seen, followed by the spine-chilling call, 'To me, my X-Men!", got me smiling ear-to-ear, giddy as the schoolboy who sat in front of the TV 30 years ago.

If this is the sort of quality I'll be getting in the next 8 episodes, then bring it on!

X-Men '97 is now streaming on Disney+.

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