10 April 2015

TV DVD Review: "X-Men": Volume Two

Rated: TV-Y7 for fantasy violence (US) / PG: "Not Recommended for Young Children, Violence" (Canada)
Starring: Cedric Smith, Norm Spencer, and Catherine Disher
Released: 1993 - 1994 (original TV premieres) / 2009 (DVD)
Synopsis: The adventures of Professor Charles Xavier's group of mutants continue in this second volume of the '90's Saturday morning cartoon! In these seventeen episodes, Xavier and Magneto get trapped in a mysterious land of prehistoric animals, Beast falls in love with a non-mutant girl, Rogue faces a demon from her past, Wolverine is reunited with an old flame who isn't quite what she used to be, and, in the finishing five-parter, the X-Men get involved in an intergalactic situation that could put billions of innocent lives at risk.  Action and heroism abound in this two-disc collection!

The Good: Those who aren't superhero fans may scoff, but this series is rather entertaining and convoluted.  The five-parter that ended it was very epic; not only did it keep me on the edge of my seat, but, the ending broke my heart...which was kind of the point.  I also thought it was awesome how the animators put sight gags in various scenes; when Beast is looking at photos of himself when he was younger, one of them shows him wearing a shirt that says, "SHAZBOT!" As a longtime Mork & Mindy fan, I couldn't help but laugh at that.  The animation is great, especially when it comes to the various transparency effects that were required for some of the monsters.  Pretty much everything was great, except...

The Bad: I'm not sure why they couldn't have released a straight-up season set instead of doing "volumes".  That, however, is a minor complaint.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Kissing and flirting; nothing more. 4/5
  • Nudity: Shirtless guys; women in low-cut outfits; people briefly seen in swimsuits.  All of it is less sultry than it sounds because of the animation style. 4/5
  • Language: Mostly name-calling; the word "hell" is used in a non-profane way, but only once. 4/5
  • Violence: The "fantasy violence" mentioned in the TV rating is quite present here.  The X-Men, other good guys, and various villains are hit, kicked, blasted, shot at, thrown, etc., countless times.  Robotic enemies are sliced.  All of the violence is completely free of blood and gore, but it is still intense nonetheless. 2/5
  • Drugs: None. 5/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Along with the violence, there is quite a bit of emotional intensity, and some of the bad guys are rather scary-looking. 1/5
Conclusion: Ever since randomly discovering the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon thanks to an on-the-whim garage sale purchase, I have been devouring superhero shows like crazy.  The '90's X-Men cartoon is everything such a television program should be: full of action and intensity, and with character that are easy to root for.  If you're not into superheroes, you probably won't enjoy this, but those who are will find plenty to like about not just this volume, but the series as a whole.  Just make sure you watch the first volume before this one.

Score: 4.5/5

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