Before Hugh Jackman was Wolverine, there was X-Men: The Animated Series!!! I remember watching this as a kid and thinking it was the most amazing show ever, and 20 years later I still feel the same way. Here's why X-Men: The Animated Series (still) rocks the house:
1.) The ladies kick butt.
Oh my Jeebus. Within the first five minutes of episode one, Storm and Rogue are fighting a robot the size of a building while saving Jubilee's life. No Prince Charming needed here, the ladies have it covered. Throughout the two episodes (and the series), the women continue kicking major bootay. In the first two episodes, although teenaged Jubilee is still getting used to her powers, she uses them whenever necessary. The ladies of the X-Men (X-women?) do not take things lying down! And, they are gosh-darned pretty to boot! Extra bonus: in the X-Men universe, a woman is president!
2.) A diverse cast.
Only Marvel could put together a group of folks from all over the world and still somehow make the X-Men story feel natural and believeable. There's wealthy Charles Xavier, eternal drifter from everywhere-and-nowhere Wolverine, the fairly vanilla Cyclops, the African Queen Storm, the Southern Belle Rogue, Gambit the Cajun, intellectual-turned-blue-monster Beast, and Chinese-American foster child Jubilee. Despite their different backgrounds, the characters feel authentic, not forced or "written in" for diversity's sake.
3.) The action!
I don't normally like watching violent television shows, but I get excited when the X-Men beat up the bad guys!!!! You're going down, gigantic, evil robot!
4.) The smart, fast-paced writing.
In the first three minutes of episode one, there's so much going on. First there's Jubilee's foster parents' anxiety over her being a mutant, Jubilee's hurt and sadness over being given up to the Mutant Control Agency, and then, in the third minute, a touch of snark:
Jubilee is playing video games in an effort to forget her sorrow. She inevitably ends up breaking the arcade game with her firecracker power. The owner is upset, naturally. He approaches Jubilee.
Arcade Guy: Do you know how much this thing costs???
Jubilee: (nonchalantly drinking her soda and putting her sunglasses back on) Yeah. A quarter.
And later in the Danger Room, when Wolverine and Gambit are training:
Wolverine: Had enough, Cajun? Just say, "oncle."
I'd forgotten just how much fun cartoons could be. As a mom, I try to pick wholesome cartoons that have a moral. I'm not certain X-Men would be considered wholesome, but there are certainly lessons to be learned from watching X-Men as well. Tolerance, not being greedy, and learning to control your temper are just a few (yeah, I'm looking at you, Wolverine!). But morals aren't the reason I want to watch X-Men. I like watching X-Men because it's just plain FUN!
X-Men: The Animated Series, recommended for ages 9+ for cartoon violence and scary situations. (My rating, not an official one ;-) )
The photo of the clashing mutants above was taken from here.