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Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete Series
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 30, 2011
Depending on where you begin counting, Wolverine and the X-Men is the fourth or fifth time Marvel's flagship superhero group have come to small-screen animated life. It gets ugly because the X-gang has made countless guest appearances in other Marvel properties but the important thing to remember is that it would end up being the final X-Men animated series produced by the late Boyd Kirkland.

Further complicating the show's identity is its closeness to the X-Men franchise that preceded it; X-Men: Evolution (which was actually done by the same creative team). Evolution took the X-Men to a decidedly high-school slant in effort to compete with some of the other teen-targeted superhero programs of the era; Teen Titans and Batman Beyond to mention a few. Evolution ran from 2000-2003, spanning four seasons in the process and Wolverine and the X-Men came on the scene five years later (beginning in September of 2008 and running until November of 2009).

The premise of Wolverine and the X-Men works off the adult-versions of the beloved characters and centers on a sudden explosion at the Xavier Institute. Initially perceived among the X-Men to be an attack by an unknown assailant, targeted at telepaths, (particularly Professor Charles Xavier and Jean Grey) who consequently go missing in the immediate aftermath. The resulting trauma causes the X-Men to disband and go their separate ways.

A year after the incident, an organization known as the Mutant Response Division (MRD) is formed for detainment and registration of mutants and begins capturing mutants around the nation. This course of action spurs Wolverine and Beast to rally and attempt to bring the defunct X-Men team back together once more to fight for mutant-freedoms. Hence the title of the series is justified and our dear socially withdrawn Logan finds himself dropped into a leadership position.

Perhaps most unique to this series is the idea that the comatose Xavier in the present is able to make psychic connection to his own self some 20-years in the future. Essentially creating parallel story threads, the X-Men would be totally lost if not for the older Xavier's guidance. When hope of using Cerebro to locate the missing mutants seems lost, the ever-charming Emma Frost arrives to offer her telepathic assistance to make the arduous task of tracking down the scattered members a bit more manageable.

In all merely 26-episodes (comprising) one season were made of the show despite receiving impressive viewer numbers and critical acclaim. Some argued that the story thread itself couldn't possibly endure for too long as it relied upon a serial format heavily driven by a need for resolve. However, the true cancellation of the property is credited to financial difficulties behind the scenes.

In my opinion, the show is pretty strong, especially considering that it was only given a single season to accomplish some pretty lofty ambitions. The characters are at least portrayed accurately enough to really make the viewer wonder what could have been done if, like Evolution, they had four seasons to work with.

The voice work is pretty darn spectacular, especially if you're fan of the movie trilogy's cast (Tom Kane's rendition of Magneto could have Ian McKellen wondering if he recorded for the show himself).

Sadly, it's unlikely this particular telling the storied franchise's many incarnations will stand out over the years as the definitive animated series, it can't be faulted for its casuals (which are quite crisp and true to form) or the science fiction style story thread which, quite frankly, is more impressive than any of the live action movie plots to date.

The biggest complaint by far will be the singular storyline, which feels like it should have been a multi-parter story arc amidst a larger series rather than the entire series itself. However, since the show belongs to Lionsgate rather than Buena Vista like some of the other Marvel releases, a full series box set has been released for an MSRP not much higher than individual volume releases. Keeping that in mind, diving into Wolverine and the X-Men is certainly worth the price of admission and quite a solid piece of storytelling to boot.
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101 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2010
This is the BEST X-Men animated show EVER. I wish this show would've been on network television, because I think it'd have reached a more broad audience. Even though the show premiered with over 4 million viewers in the US alone, behind the scenes the show got into some financial problems, and this show has been prematurely cancelled after its first and only season. The season finale promised a second season full of Age of Apocalypse, one of the most popular X-Men storylines ever. If you're like me, and you love this show, let's get this show back! Family Guy was brought back due to high ratings on Adult Swim, and DVD sales. Why not do the same thing with Wolverine and the X-Men. Please purchase this copy, and help get this show back on the air where it belongs!

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2011
Wolverine and the X-Men was a fantastic adaptation of the X-Men for this generation. The episodes were seriously well-written and sometimes it felt like watching a Bryan Singer X-Men movie in animated form. Not only was it great action for the TV-Y7 rating, but the plotting was very mature and felt like a Toonami-style drama with some honestly heart-wrenching and exhilarating moments and it made this series awesome. It may be the best Marvel cartoon ever made. It's disappointing that this show didn't get a second season, hence the name "The Complete Series" instead of "The Complete 1st Season" like it should've been. I just hope that in the future, we'll get to know what happens past the series finale cliffhanger.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
This series is great. It was short lived (26 episodes) becasue it's too smart for the current generation of kids, this show should have bean marketed for adults. It uses Deep stories, plot twists and rich narratives, rather than bad jokes and mindless action. The animation quality is phenominal the sound and picture will blow your mind. I realy hope they make a movie to finish it up, that cliff hanger is brutal. Definatly a must have for any X-Men fan.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2013
Who knows what goes through the minds of producers. This show got cancelled, Justice got cancelled, and Transformers Prime almost got cancelled. But shows like Honey Boo Boo stay on. Ugh!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2013
The title says it all. Wolverine is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel universe. I like Wolverine but the earlier episodes are way too Wolverine-centric. Only in the last 4 episodes do they focus a little more on Cyclops. Another criticism of the series is that Wolverine is supposed to be an emotionally disturbed, anti-hero. In this series, however, he's almost like Bruce Wayne. He's a flawless hero, which is inconsistent with almost every incarnation of his character.

The irony of the situation is that in this series, Cyclops acts like...Wolverine (read the spoiler below to find out why). I didn't like Cyclops's new uniform since it made him look like a bum. Rogue was useless in this series. I miss the sexy Rogue with Ms. Marvel's powers from the 1990's series. Storm and Beast didn't do much either. The only secondary character who was useful was Nightcrawler. (SPOILER) I liked the subplot with him and Scarlet Witch.

Despite the many flaws of this series, it's still X-Men and it's still very interesting. It's the usual premise of the mutants being persecuted by the humans and Magneto wanting to prove that mutants are superior to humans.

SPOILER

There was an explosion at the mansion caused by Phoenix (though at the time no one knew it was caused by Phoenix). Xavier and Jean Grey went missing. Cyclops went into a state of depression. After the MRD (Mutant Response Division) started rounding up mutants, the X-Men reunited. Cyclops was obsessed with finding Jean. He wasn't much of a team player (sounds familiar)?

I'm sure everyone knows about how Magneto established Genosha as a sanctuary for mutants. Of course, he wasn't content with that. Quicksilver always sought his father's approval but never received it. Scarlet Witch was a daddy's little girl, but had a special place in her heart for Nightcrawler. There was another relatively new mutant who I thought was interesting-Domino.

I wish there was a little more Sabretooth in this series. This series also featured another iconic X-Men villain, Mr. Sinister ("Sinister knows what your future holds"). Anyone who has watched the Justice League series recognized his voice.

The X-Men were supposed to fight Apocalypse in season 2, but for some asinine reason, they cancelled this series. This was the last great comic book cartoon. It has gone full circle from the first X-Men cartoon to Spider-Man on Fox, Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, X-Men Evolution, Justice League, even Static Shock, and now this.
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25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2010
The x-men have been lucky in cartoons, having two of the best animated shows ever made. The huge array of core and supporting characters goes a long way towards helping too. The storylines here have been given the same respect of mature treatment as with the 90's series. It might be a matter of opinion but I think this series only just manages to have the edge which is saying something as the original series is still one of the best cartoons out there. If you liked that as well as shows like Justice League Unlimited then this is for you. I can't say enough about the sound quality, it's completely awesome, like nothing i've ever heard for a U.S. television cartoon series. I might even say theatre quality with its wide open feel and surround effects. and the animation is some of today's best. Many characters make an appearance - it was great to see the Blob in there, and again the storylines are respectibly handled, not kiddies stuff, though they will definitely enjoy it and there's nothing in there they shouldn't watch. It's a shame the best series to come out since Justice League has been cancelled. With any luck fan support might bring it back.
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46 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2011
PLOT IN A NUTSHELL: When a mysterious explosion destroys half the Institute and results in the disappearances of both Professor Charles Xavier and Jean Grey, the X-Men disband. Logan, AKA: Wolverine, he of the short temper to match his short stature & adamantium claws, then takes it upon himself to reunite the X-Men and resume fighting for Xavier's dream. Throw in mystery guest Emma Frost, a bad future, & the Phoenix, and you have season 1 of Wolvie & the X-Men.

Calling the series terrible wouldn't be fair, but it is built on a flimsy premise - Wolverine becoming the leader of the X-Men. Let's be honest, Wolverine as the X-Men's leader is absurd, it is the stuff of fan fiction, which is what this series often feels like: an overzealous Wolverine fan's fan fiction brought to life, albeit with a soft spot for Nightcrawler. The inherent flimsiness of the show's premise is made all the more apparent by inconsistent, hit or miss writing. Some episodes work okay as empty headed actioners, while others flirt with interesting ideas (such as Xavier as an active player in the future), but on the whole many episodes feel hollow.

Another flaw is Wolverine himself - his flaws are actually downplayed to the point of barely existing. Though the creative team behind this series (also the same team that handled X-Men: Evolution) went to great lengths in all the press material to say they were going to depict Wolverine as a flawed & unlikely leader, but not a single episode really shows this. His mistakes are usually minor, no one but Emma really points this out, and even when he borders on being a hypocrite he's still right in the end. Too bad, considering that he had a good voice actor in Steve Blum, who sounds pretty much the way you expect Wolverine to sound (at times Blum even sounds like Cathal "Cal" Dodd, who voiced Wolverine in the 90s series).

Another problem is the balancing act of characters - while some characters such as villains Magneto & Mr. Sinister are used well (getting Clancy Brown to voice Mr. Sinister was a stroke of genius) along with Emma Frost in her big debut as a regular cast member, others are not. Of the X-Men only Nightcrawler emerged as a strong character in his own right, & Kurt's solo episodes are easily the best the series has to offer (Angel had potential but wasn't really utilized beyond a few episodes before he became Ark Angel). The team dynamic of the X-Men is not strongly established, since the others are often ignored or not fleshed out beyond their cipher roles, & for the most part they show very little genuine concern for each other (such as giving up on Angel when he turns into Ark Angel). Perhaps that was deliberate to show how disconnected they are under Wolverine's leadership, but I doubt it.

This brings me to what may be the series biggest failure character wise: Cyclops/Scott Summers. I have always been a Cyclops fan, but there was nothing about this version of him that was particularly sympathetic. With better writing the idea of Cyclops & Wolverine swapping roles may have been moderately interesting, but it quickly becomes apparent that Cyclops doesn't work in the role of angry loner because he doesn't have the same luck Wolverine usually has in that role. While Wolverine's flaws can turn into strengths at the drop of a hat, Cyclops is made to look like a chump when he tries to do what Wolverine is known for, like going off on his own or not being a team player. Where the experiment truly fails is "Breakdown", a ham-fisted reworking of Scott's origin that incorrectly casts him as the laughingstock of the original 5, a hopelessly incompetent wimp who couldn't handle one basic training simulation & needed Jean to lead him by the hand & tell him what to do when facing off with Magneto, then years later an emotionally volatile man-brat who physically assaulted Wolverine when he thought the clawed one was trying to steal Jean from him, and then fell apart when Jean disappeared. They boiled Scott down to the stereotype that he is nothing without Jean, & gave him no positive qualities or growth to compensate. We never see him when he was at his best, which makes it difficult to swallow his fall from grace since he apparently had no grace period to fall from. Not once do we ever see anything resembling the hero from the comics, the efficient & fearless leader who fought for Xavier's Cause like a knight defending the Holy Grail. This version of Scott deserves sympathy from no one, & certainly doesn't deserve either Jean or Emma. Yeah, Scott had a crappy life, but so did Magneto. Though a fine actor, Nolan North can't save this walking shack of faults characterization.

On the flip-side of Scott's poor characterization is the utter lack of characterization for Storm (saddled with a horrible character design), the real co-leader & 2nd in command when Scott isn't around. For the most part Storm is just there to fill up scenery & has little to contribute beyond an occasional thunderbolt. The writers didn't even try to offer a reason for why Storm didn't take over as leader, despite years of stories that show what a natural leader she is, which is all the more unfortunate considering that Wolverine got along better with Storm in charge than he did with Cyclops. Where Cyclops had to nearly twist Wolverine's arm to make him do anything he didn't want, Storm could get him to settle down & behave himself just through the sheer strength of her personality.

Season 1 gets 5 out of 10 stars for certain characterizations (Nightcrawler, Emma Frost, etc.), occasionally interesting ideas & competent voice actors, but loses points for inconsistent writing & insincere handling of other characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
Fans of the older series and/or comics fans will love it. Both kid friendly and yet some great moments for the adult kids too! Awesome price on Amazon...do yourself a favor and pick it up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2011
Stories start out pretty cookie cutter on the 1st disc (3 disc set), but evolve to featuring Archangel's origin, a 3 episode Phoenix saga, Sentinels, episodes featuring the Hell Fire Club, Emma Frost & the Stepford Cuckoos.

There's subtle nods to the Grant Morrison New X-Men run and Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, making this a lot of fun for fans of the comics.

While this show was "for kids," adults will get enjoyment out of it with all of the nods to the more modern day X-Men comics. I certainly did.
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