In the world of superhero movies, a unique phenomenon known as superhero fatigue has grown recently. After a decade of dominance at the box office, Marvel saw multiple failures that raised doubts about whether the genre has lost its appeal among critics and audiences and whether it happened just because of the poor quality of the movies or because viewers have grown tired of superheroes.

Eternals | via Marvel Entertainment YouTube

Even Marvel could not escape this phenomenon. Despite some hits like Loki season 2, many of their recent projects, both on the big screen and Disney+, have struggled to capture the magic that made Avengers: Endgame.

X-Men ’97 Breaks Superhero Fatigue

X-Men '97
X-Men ’97 | Marvel Entertainment YouTube

Films like Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder got mixed reviews. Other projects like Ms. Marvel and Secret Invasion could not create as much enthusiasm as previous shows did. But, X-Men ’97 came in and broke all talk of superhero fatigue, where people get tired of consuming superhero content and demand something special every time.

Not only did it pick up the love of old fans who had seen the original 90s animation growing up, but it also brought in new fans to experience what Marvel has to offer since their live-action shows have not been able to appeal to them lately. Fans online express their love for the show by confessing that there is nothing much to watch now since the show has ended and they have to wait a long time for the next season.

The reason why X-Men ‘97 works is due to its position in the larger Marvel universe. Unlike the MCU, which needs to create connections to fit into a multiverse narrative, this series consists of separate stories. This freedom allows the show to focus on what matters most, which is interesting and popular characters and plots that attract everyone.

Moreover, X-Men ’97 is not just a trip to nostalgia. Although it starts off as an almost recreation of the original, it does not take long to reveal its own specialty. Even though the animation style is willingly limited in order to replicate the feel of the original, the colors, emotions, story, and action are boosted up a notch to build up nostalgia. It is something that even some recent high-budget live-action projects lacked.

Although the series is focused on X-Men, it featured some important Avengers like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, and Iron Man, which also acted as an extra treat for the fans. Moreover, with the vast and expanding multiverse in the MCU, it might be just a matter of time before the creators somehow find a way to link X-Men ’97 to the MCU.

Avengers 5 Might Break the Record for the Highest Superhero Ensemble

Avengers Endgame final battle
Avengers: Endgame final battle | Credits: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Marvel is not only following the achievements of its animated series but is also preparing for a live-action saga that may redefine the meaning of the term ensemble cast. According to ComicBook, Avengers 5 will include more than 60 characters from the MCU. The mere planning only shows the intent of Marvel for where they want to be.

To put this in perspective, Avengers: Endgame’s climax battle featured around 40 characters, and it looked like a comic book event. With 60 characters, Avengers 5 looks to break its previous record, possibly gathering every hero and villain from the MCU for the past 16 years. This is a break from Marvel’s slow adaptation of comic events, especially after Secret Invasion.

Moreover, according to ComicBook, the studio is planning to include Deadpool & Wolverine director Shawn Levy as the director of this major project. Avengers 5 might also look for an alternative for Kang as the supervillain after Jonathan Majors got dropped by Marvel. The film will also focus on multiple groups of superheroes instead of focusing on a single group who led everyone else in Avengers: Endgame.

In Marvel’s ongoing saga, X-Men ‘97 and the big plans for Avengers 5 represent the two sides of the same coin. One of them represents a safe, successful experiment with an isolated narrative, whereas the other hints at the potential of crossovers in the multiverse. Together, they suggest that Marvel Studios is growing and ready to redefine comic book adaptations.

X-Men ’97 is available on Disney+.

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