Summary

  • X-Men ’97 is highest-rated X-Men project in 24 years, setting the stage for a successful MCU debut.
  • Fox’s X-Men movies ended on a low note, but Marvel’s reboot has critics thrilled with mature themes.
  • The new X-Men show boasts retro-style animation and offers a promising glimpse into the MCU future.



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X-Men ’97, the first X-Men project since Marvel reacquired the rights for the franchise, has just broken records by becoming the highest-rated in 24 years. As the owner of the movie rights, 20th Century Fox helped launch the modern era of superhero movies with 2000’s X-Men, a movie that was followed by 13 sequels and spinoffs before Marvel took the reins. The franchise started strong with X-Men and X2, but with X-Men: The Last StandFox’s X-Men franchise became much more of a mixed bag before ending on a low note with Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants.


Now under Marvel’s purview, the franchise has hit the ground running. X-Men ’97is currently sitting at a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not only the highest rating for any X-Men project but the highest-rated Marvel property to boot, beating Ms. Marvel‘s score of 98%. This is good news for Marvel, and helps to lay solid groundwork for the X-Men’s MCU debut. While Fox’s X-Men movies never hit such highs during their time, that isn’t to say that some got pretty close.

While
X-Men ’97
was produced by Marvel Studios, it is not an MCU project, meaning
Ms. Marvel
remains the highest-rated MCU property so far at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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27 years after The Animated Series ended, X-Men ’97 takes the original further, adding freshness without betraying anything that made us love it.



The X-Men Franchise’s Highest-Rated Movie & Show Before X-Men ’97

X-Men Movie Or Show

Rotten Tomatoes Score

Audience Score

Logan (2017)

93%

90%

Legion (2017 – 2019)

91%

86%

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

90%

91%

X-Men: First Class (2011)

86%

87%

Deadpool (2016)

85%

90%

X2 (2003)

85%

85%

Deadpool 2 (2018)

84%

85%

X-Men: The Animated Series (1992 – 1997)

83%

93%

X-Men (2000)

82%

83%

The Gifted (2017 – 2019)

79%

68%

The Wolverine (2013)

71%

69%

Wolverine and the X-Men (2009)

67%

91%

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

57%

61%

Once Upon a Deadpool (2018)

56%

56%

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

47%

65%

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

38%

58%

The New Mutants (2020)

36%

56%

Dark Phoenix (2019)

22%

64%


Logan and Legion were the highest-rated movie and TV show of Fox’s X-Men franchise. The disappointment of the franchise’s final movies was at least tempered by the fact that Logan holds up today as one of the best superhero movies ever made. This is largely thanks to its unabashed reconstitution of well-established comic book movie conventions, choosing to sunset the character that propped up the X-Men franchise with an R-rated swansong. It was for its adult themes and heartfelt story that Logan earned critical acclaim.

The same can also be said of Legion. The series adapted one of Marvel Comics’ most intense and outlandish characters, David Haller, whose severe mental illness manifests in a plethora of different powers. Legion ran for three seasons with each one never falling below a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as critics praised its mind-bending visuals and themes. Interestingly, the X-Men franchise’s highest-rated movie and show share mature ratings, which shows an appetite for superhero movies dealing with darker topics.


Why The X-Men ’97 Reviews Are So Positive

X-Men ’97 is part of Marvel Studios Animation, but it, too, does not shy away from more mature themes. This is partly what has landed so well with critics, who praise the show’s success in appealing to the older audiences that grew up with the 1990s animated series. While the show maintains a TV-PG rating, it does not shy away from the darker emotional motifs for which the X-Men are so beloved, standing as a dark reflection of modern society.

X-Men ’97 garners the most praise for its faithful continuation of the original series, with critics showing huge support for the nostalgia on which it has capitalized. The retro-style animation has also landed well, as it maintains the feel of the original animation while appearing fresh at the same time. Another commonly held belief is that X-Men ’97 is a good sign of things to come with regard to the X-Men’s MCU future.


Why X-Men ’97’s RT Score Is A Good Sign For The MCU’s Movie

Gambit wearing a crop top and brandishing tongs in X-Men '97

X-Men ’97 is Marvel’s first attempt at an X-Men release now that the team has returned to the studio. Although it isn’t a part of the MCU, the fact that this first attempt has earned such widespread acclaim shows that Marvel is not only serious when it comes to adapting the iconic team, but it has the skills to back it up. X-Men ’97 is, therefore, an exceptionally promising demonstration of what Marvel can achieve with its IP.

The X-Men have been appearing elsewhere in the MCU since Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness revealed Charles Xavier from another universe. These are cameo roles, however, and are not indicative of what Marvel can do with a full focus on the X-Men in live-action. X-Men ’97 shows that Marvel knows how to approach the team when they are the stars before Deadpool & Wolverine shows how it will handle the characters of Fox’s X-Men franchise.


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