Marvel Just Released The Best Thing They’ve Done Since Avengers: Endgame

By Joshua Tyler | Updated

The X-Men animated series of the 1990s has long been remembered as a high-watermark in animated entertainment for that era. In resurrecting it as X-Men 97′, Marvel could have been content simply to match that past work. Instead, they’ve not only exceeded its predecessor but also everything else the company has produced in the years since Avengers: Endgame.

X-Men 97’s finale, titled “Tolerance is Extinction – Part 3”, cements its status as one of the greatest animation achievements of all time. It operates on a storytelling level rarely seen in animated form, outside the world of anime

X-Men powers

Throughout the ten-episode run of its first season, X-Men 97’ is consistently brilliant. Often heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, but nearly pitch-perfect in every frame. Then with a double length finale everything it did and indeed everything the entire 90s animated series had done, comes crashing down in a perfectly articulated symphony of action, love, and pain.

The finale ends with the X-Men forced to face off against the future, a future born out of tolerance giving birth to extinction. Their values are challenged as much as their powers. The best of them is broken. Professor Xavier destroys his best friend to save the brother inside him.

X-Men 97' finale review with Jubilee

Nothing Marvel has done in years can touch this. It doesn’t matter whether it’s animated or live-action, when the storytelling is this good. 

The show’s first episode began with perfection and built on it. Everything amped up consistently throughout the course of its run. That includes the animation level, which seemed to grow in eye-popping complexity as the team behind it grew in confidence. 

By the time we reached the X-Men 97’ season finale, the show was delivering the kind of super-powered action sequences that live-action directors can only dream of in their CGI/stunt limited environments. All the things you’ve always wanted to see the X-Men do, all the powers you’ve always wanted to see them use, they did them and they used them here. It was every bit as good as X-Men fans have always imagined. 

Cyclops at maximum gif

Unfortunately, the show’s ratings haven’t matched the level of its on-screen achievement. It hasn’t performed up to the level of Marvel’s inferior live-action shows. Perhaps that was too much to hope for from a traditionally animated series, regardless of its incredible quality. 

Luckily animated shows like this are, compared to terrible live-action products like Echo or Ms. Marvel, incredibly cheap to produce. X-Men 97’ doesn’t need a WandaVision-sized audience to justify its existence. 

Rogue animated

The show is already renewed for more seasons and the finale ends with a wild setup for what comes next. It’s hard to imagine topping what they’ve done already, but if you love the X-Men or if you just love good storytelling, you’ll be there watching every second until the end. 

If we’re lucky, maybe Scott and Jean will get the family they’ve always wanted, while Xavier and Magneto become the family they’ve always been. If we’re really lucky, Marvel will use X-Men 97′ as the template to make their superhero company’s future as good as its past.


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