Picoreview: X-Men ’97


Ok, just to get this out of the way:

  1. this post will contain spoilers, so if you don’t want spoilers, look away now

  2. I loved it almost unconditionally, so I’m going to talk about the things I think they did wrong more than the ones they did right :D

Okay? Beyond this point, spoilers are on you. Although I’m going to start by talking about the Chris Pine Star Trek movies, so you have some space to look away in. :) (There are, mind you, also spoilers for the second of those movies. :))

A friend of mine is not a Trekkie (I know, how can it be?!?), and found the entire emotional plotline of Star Trek: Into Darkness to be completely baffling, because she had no context to recognize the reversal of Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan in Into Darkness. From her perspective, she’d spent about four hours with these characters and for two and a half of them, Kirk and Spock hadn’t seemed to like each other much at all, so why was Spock suddenly so freaked out over Kirk’s impending death?

“It’s like fan fic!” she roared indignantly. “It doesn’t work if you don’t know the original context!”

She was absolutely right. I, who knew the original movies/context, was in bits (even if the storyline was hopelessly contrived and should have been done…differently), but without that, indeed, even with it, it was absolutely fic.

And herein lies the problem with X-Men ’97.

Broadly speaking, I LOVED how fast and loose they played with bringing in so many epic storylines of the 80s and 90s. That was amazing. But. But. The fast and looseness really made a hash of some of the emotional beats, and even I, who had every bit of necessary context, kept going, “Really? REALLY? Just like that?”

The Forge/Storm/powers storyline was the worst, for me, but the Scott/Jean story was a hell of a Hot Mess, too. There wasn’t nearly enough sense of time passing; we snapped from “o no storm lost her powers and is in the desert with forge” to “ororo i WUV U” with absolutely no justification, and we jumped from “scott just found out his wife is a clone and lost his child” to “jean is real mad scott’s not over losing his clone wife and child and is spying on him mentally” (which, sorry, that just didn’t work nearly as well with Maddie as it did with Emma for SO MANY REASONS, including, MADDIE WAS HIS WIFE AND THE MOTHER OF HIS CHILD, FOR GOD’S SAKE, YOU REDHEADED PSYCHO! AND YES! I KNOW YOU ARE ALSO HIS WIFE! IT’S VERY COMPLICATED! BUT STILL! WHAT THE HELL!).

I think both of those storylines could have really worked, but they both needed to be spread out OVER THE SEASON because they made absofuckinglutely no sense shoved into an episode and a half. I didn’t expect Storm to get her powers back for YEARS. I had no interest in seeing Jean and Scott a suddenly United Front again when there was SO MUCH DOOM to unpack there!

(And let’s not talk about Scott stopping Xavier from stopping Magneto specifically to save Jean, which I do not believe Jean would have supported as an action, because we’ll be here all day.)

And this is with me knowing all the stories they were drawing from. I have at least one friend who was watching with her husband, who is not an X-Geek, and he was getting whiplash over the nonsensically rushed Forge/Storm storyline because it just made no sense without the comic book history backing it up.

So I loved it, I loved it, I LOVED it, but my GOD I feel like there were at least two complete episodes left on the cutting room floor. It’s animation, so there’s probably not really two complete episodes lying around, but if there were I would pay good money for them. It was SO GREAT that where it missed, it missed hard, and that is such a shame.

…however, Remember It didn’t miss one single goddamn beat. Holy shit. My ever-loving God. I genuinely spent the next two days in slack-jawed shock and the rest of the week processing. Like, seriously. Holy shit. That was perfect, up to and including (again, totally invisible if you don’t know the original comics) Gambit’s reversal of role in the Mutant Massacre*.

Everything. Everything about it was incredible. That DANCE, holy sweet SHIT. I ship Romy but don’t mind Rogneto, and that was HOT.

NIGHTCRAWLER. He was SO PERFECT. My goddamn HEART. KURT. MY LOVE. KURT. Not just in Remember It, but the following episodes! SO GREAT!

And HANK, putting Trish in her place. Hot damn. And VAL COOPER, I LOVED VAL COOPER BACK IN THE DAY, I’m SO GLAD she’s had a real role in ’97! Nobody remembers her, but I loved her!

And, I’m sorry, but literally everybody being all shocked over Rogue dropping Trask, like my dudes, you had a telekinetic, a teleporter, and Morph who apparently isn’t just able to look like people in this version of X-Men, he can actually FLY, so like, get over your own shocked selves, AT LEAST three of you could have saved him, but Wolvie called it: she did what they were all thinking. HNF.

AUGH. IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. Except the bits that weren’t, dammit. :)

*I never really bought his role in that, anyway. They’d been intimating for ages that he had a Dark Secret and I feel like at some point they went “well, shit, we have to give him a Dark Secret, let’s retcon his involvement with the Mutant Massacre into place,” and pffff.

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