Raiders of the Story Arc: X-Men
April 06, 2011
Nostalgia Critic: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. And welcome to another rendition of Raiders of the Story Arc.
(The Raiders of the Story Arc logo appears (Indiana Jones parody))
NC: This is where I take the first few episodes of a nostalgic show and see if it still holds up. With that said, um... (He pauses before crossing his hands to form an "X") X-MEN!!!
(The title screen for the "X-Men" Animated Series is shown, followed by a montage of clips from the show)
NC (vo): Jesus with pork and beans, I fucking love X-Men. This is the badass cartoon that kids watched. The cartoon that made you feel tough and rebellious. But it actually had a good story and good characters to back it up as well. But is it a story that still holds up, or is there just too much corniness to make it work?
NC: Now I know what you're thinking: "Didn't the Nostalgia Chick already review the X-Men cartoon?" (chuckles) Well, Obscurus Lupa already did "The Room," MikeJ already did "Jaws 3" and The Distress Watcher already did "Dungeons & Dragons".
(A slideshow of said reviewers and their respective movies play as NC mentions them)
NC: Why give a shit now? Anyway, it's not like I'm gonna do my own Dark Nella saga or anything. (An audio clip of Ave Satani (from "The Omen") starts to play as NC glances over, confused)
(Dark Rob enters the room as a choir sings in the background to the tune of Ave Satani)
Choir: Dark Roooooooob! Dark Roooooooob! DARK ROOOOOOOOOOB!
NC: PISS OFF!
(A record scratch is heard before an audio snippet of "Claire de lune" plays as Dark Rob starts sulking and leaves; NC then runs up and kicks him before running back to his desk)
NC: Well, with that said, let's take a look at the first few episodes of X-Men.
(The intro to the X-Men cartoon plays)
NC (vo): So the show starts and, I have to admit, I get the chills. Whenever that song plays, I hear nothing but awesomeness.
(NC starts playing air guitar to the theme)
NC (vo): It's the coolest thing ever. I get this overwhelming urge to kick some ass! (He starts air punching like some street fighter then he gets up from his chair to pick Dark Rob up onto his feet)
Dark Rob: (dazed) Huh?
(NC socks him in the face before jumping back into his chair to keep on air punching)
NC: (to himself) Yeah! Yeah, yeah! Yeah!
NC (vo): After that awesome opening, we get our first episode, "Night of the Sentinels, Part 1." We start off with the mutant Sabretooth, who, oddly enough, has nothing to do with this episode. After throwing a car at a cameraman--who somehow filmed this entire event completely still in miles high in the air--we cut to a concerned mother and... Ray from "The Real Ghostbusters," who are talking about their daughter.
Mother: But how could you register her with that... mutant control agency as if she were some sort of criminal?
Father: It's an outreach program to help these unfortunate people. Let's just hope the neighbors never find out our beautiful Jubilee's a mutant.
NC (vo): So this is Jubilee, a young girl who's always dressed like she's about to do the dishes... in the rain.
(Sentinel rushes in the night sky)
NC (vo): But little do they know that a mechanical visitor is about to cross their paths.
(Sentinel reaches for a dog and misses, he then starts scanning Jubilee's home)
Mother: What if we were wrong? What if she isn't a mutant?
Father: Are you kidding? Look what she did to the VCR just by touching it! (He points to burnt up VCR)
NC: Well, to be fair, that's what happens when most women touch a VCR. (Women offscreen boo at him) Oh, yeah, come on! Get the VCR to stop blinking 12:00; I dare you! I fucking dare ya!
(Sentinel stomps through the city, being the giant robot Iron Man wannabe he is)
Kid: Mommy! Buy me that! Buy me that!
NC (vo): So this giant machine is known as a Sentinel, a government-built robot designed to track down mutants.
NC: Um... subtle.
NC (vo): You could just send cops or military for something like that, but NO, we need gigantic killer machines to apprehend teenage girls who raided April O' Neil's closet. No wonder the economy's in the toilet.
(A guy is shocked at sentinel and yelps before the Sentinel smashes through the window)
NC (vo): Good God! We get upset when our policemen use bad language. How the hell would we ever let this destructive can of Campbell's soup fly?!
(Cut to a fake scenario of a phone recording with the subtitle "Phone recording from Mutant Registration")
Receptionist: Hello, Mutant Registration program.
Caller: One of your FUCKING robots just broke in and destroyed my mall!!! Jesus Christ, the property damage is UNBELIEVABLE!
Recepionist: Well, sir, did you keep the receipt for the mall?
Caller: (pauses) No...
Recepionist: Then we have nothing to discuss.
Caller: Oh, my God, IT'S COMING BACK!!! AHH--! (The line disconnects)
Recepionist: Have a nice day, sir.
(Back to the show)
NC (vo): So it turns out the Mutant Outreach program really is designed to... reach out and grab mutants, whether they like it or not.
Jubilee: HELP! AAAAAHH!
NC (vo): But fortunately, this mall is also the shopping place for Storm, another mutant who I swear thinks that she's in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel.
Storm: Storm, Mistress of the Elements, commands you to release that child.
Gandalf (from "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"): Go back to the shadow, Flame of Udun!
(Storm saves Jubilee)
NC (vo): She helps save Jubilee along with another mutant named Rogue, who I swear to God has only gotten hotter with time.
Rogue: Come to mamma.
Random guy: Put me down, you flying freak!
NC: (places both hands on his cheeks as though he were love-struck) You would never have to put me down, Rogue.
(A love song ("Livin' Our Love") plays with NC's face super-imposed on the guy's face with a dreamy look in his eyes; NC then slaps himself)
NC: SHE'S A SERIES OF PAINTED LINES! (Beat) Of southern home perfection. (Beat) Oy.
NC (vo): And there's also the Cajun Gambit
Gambit: Where ya goin', petit?
Jubilee: Anywhere but here.
NC (vo): Who may actually have the strangest casual wear out of all the X-Men, and that's saying a lot! I mean, sure, Jubilee looks stupid, but I can at least tell what she's wearing. With Gambit... (Green arrows point all over Gambit's outfit) what is that stuff?
(Jubilee blasts at the Sentinel)
Gambit: Run, girl, run!
(Jubilee gets smoke-bombed after the Sentinel leaves the mall)
Jubilee: Who are you?
Cyclops: Cyclops. (He zaps a laser with his eyes at the Sentinel, decapitating it)
(Jubilee is on the ground and moans before passing out)
NC (vo): So they take her back to Xavier's school for the gifted, which ironically never shows anybody teaching or learning anything throughout the entire series. She breaks out of her room and starts snooping around. Coming across other mutants, like Beast.
(A screenshot of the Beast from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" is shown)
NC (vo): Um, sort of.
(The Beast has his fur changed to blue)
NC (vo): Closer.
(Glasses are placed onto the Beast's face)
NC (vo): There you go.
(Back to the show)
NC (vo): And Morph. Wait a minute, Morph? Who the hell is Morph?
Morph: (morphs into the US President) My fellow Americans, I am an idiot.(He morphs back to his normal self and cackles in delight). Heheheheheheh.
NC (vo): Oh, yes, I forgot. Morph was a character who was never in the comics. He was created specifically just for the animated show. Why? Well... So he can die. Yeah, I know I'm giving it away, but he was just made up so they can kill him. He's basically just the Michael Biehn of animated cartoons. He shows up, dies, we feel sorry, and then we totally forget about it.
NC: You might as well change his X to R.I.P. (The "X" label on Morph's jacket is changed to "R.I.P") That's all he's known for.
NC (vo): But I digress, Xavier, the telepath that runs the place, figures out Jubilee's escaped, and, of course, she panics.
Alarm: Code 3. We have an intruder.
Jubilee: (smashes some buttons) Come on! (She smashes a control panel) Oh, just do it!
NC (vo): (as the "Door") Randomly smashing the keyboard accepted.
Gambit: Petit? This is no place for you.
NC (vo): So she enters the Danger Room, the training ground for the X-Men and-- (He reacts in surprise to two large metal crushers that come at each other from the ceiling and the floor, almost crushing Gambit) JESUS! Do lawsuits just not exist in this world? This place is every personal injury attorney's wet dream! And then we see everyone's favorite badass himself.
(Wolverine makes his first appearance to the theme from Full Throttle)
Gambit: There you are, Wolverine.
NC (vo): I mean it; nobody tops this guy, in badass-ity. How badass is he? His voice is a mix between the Dark Knight and Popeye, and yet he's still badass.
Wolverine: I go where I wanna go
NC (vo): He hops around in yellow spandex and a poorly cut Mickey Mouse hat, and yet he's still badass! He gets an Australian Broadway dancer (Hugh Jackman) to play him in the movie, and yet he's still badass! He can strike his pose (Wolverine is seen tackling Gambit from behind in a mildly suggestive moment)--which I'm comedically going to play back and forth right now--and yet, HE'S STILL FUCKING BADASS! (His voice deepens and accompanying text appears onscreen)
NC: In fact, I put it to you: Has there ever been anything Wolverine-related that has not been entirely badass--(A movie poster for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is shown) YEAH, BUT HE WAS BADASS IN IT!
NC (vo): So what's the first thing in this show that this ultimate badass is gonna do?
Jubilee: Don't hurt him!
(Jubilee zaps at Wolverine, and he goes flying, flipping his whole body around in the air before colliding against a wall)
NC: Okay, that was a puss out, BUT EVERYTHING ELSE HE'S DONE IS BADASS!
Storm: Is the child alright?
Jubilee: They were fighting, a-and I wanted to help him.
Gambit: Don't worry, petit. You just hurt Wolverine's pride. That's all.
NC (vo): (mimicking Gambit) Speaking of pride, should I be disturbed that my outfit is pinker than yours?
Storm: Come with me, child. I shall explain who we are.
NC (vo): So Storm explains to Jubilee--as well as the audience for that matter--what mutants exactly are.
Storm: No one knows who will be a mutant at birth. We... discover our extraordinary powers at about your age.
NC: This sort of pinpoints our whole symbolic prejudice thing. (He pauses before whispering) It's about gays! (Beat) Look at what they're wearing!
Storm: Professor Xavier is our leader, and he has named us the X-Men. This is Prof. Xavier's School for the gifted.
NC (vo): (as Storm) And Hamburger University.
Storm: We X-Men learn something very special here, Jubilee. (She zaps the air with electricity and brings in gushing wind) How to control a mutant's powers for the benefit of mankind.
NC (vo): You know, I forgot how much of a fucking show-off Storm could be sometimes. It's ironic, because her powers could save the day every time by just summoning a tornado or something, but no. She uses lightning bolts and...I don't know, moves clouds and shit. This is actually a common complaint from X-Men fans. and... yeah, it pisses me off. Next scene.
(Cut to a meeting with Xavier and the main mutants)
Professor Xavier: That I.D. photograph is from the mutant control agency registration files. Somewhere in there are the registration files of hundreds of mutants.
Wolverine: So we get 'em, and we shred 'em.
NC (vo): So they find out where the headquarters is and decide it's time to take action.
Cyclops: Professor Xavier, we've been together for a long time. When you formed the X-Men, was it not to teach us to use our powers to benefit mankind? Prof. aren't we--
Prof. X: I know what you're going to say Cyclops, but I'm afraid we have no choice.
NC (vo): No choice? You're just jumping into terrorism! I didn't hear anything else discussed! You didn't even talk about any other options! But it turns out Jubilee escapes again--you know, for all their high tech gadgetry, they sure do have shitty security--as she just walks by a gigantic killer robot that can surprisingly manage a pretty good hiding place.
(The Sentinel grabs and lifts up a tree to find Jubilee)
Jubilee: Hey! (She zaps at the Sentinel, but it blocks her powers with a hand)
NC (vo): Boy, do you ever notice her powers are pretty inconsistent? She can knock Wolverine across the room, almost take off the head of a Sentinel, and now it’s like…
NC (vo): (as the Sentinel) Dude, that’s annoying. Don’t make me step on your head.
(The Sentinel uses gas from the tips of its fingers to make Jubilee pass out)
NC (vo): She gets gassed again and passes out, just as the rest of the X-Men figure out she’s gone.
Wolverine: I’m going after her.
Cyclops: No way, Wolverine. We got a job to do first.
Wolverine: (walks by Gambit and shoves him out of the way) Out of the way, Gumbo.
(Gambit is about to strike back at Wolverine with one of his glowing playing cards)
Cyclops: Gambit! Let him go.
Gambit: Aw, he’s not worth it. (He throws the glowing card behind him)
(NC has the screen shake to make it seem like the card exploded where Cyclops was standing)
NC (vo): (as Cyclops) Ow! Ow! What the fuck?! Don’t you ever look before you throw those things? (Beat) What, you’re not even gonna turn around? Okay, fine. Here’s some laser in the back of your head! (A red laser appears off-screen and is about to strike Gambit in the back of the head before we cut back to the show)
NC (vo): (normal) So the rest of the X-Men go to the Mutant Registration to carry out their mission, as they discuss something you will hear quite a lot in this show: angst.
Rogue: You’re supposed to know everything, Beast. What makes us like we are, anyway?
Beast: Gamma rays, pollution, ozone depletion…television.
NC: Really? Because…I hear from a conservative right that we chose to be in this way.
NC (vo): But it turns out Wolverine joins the gang as he couldn’t find Jubilee, and they sneak into the place.
Morph: It looks like clear sailing from here.
(On the other side of a heavy door, some heavily-armed soldiers are waiting)
NC (vo): And thus ends Part 1, as we begin Part 2 in the next episode. Oh, wait, right after we have one of those classic episode recaps.
Jubilee’s Father: Let’s just hope the neighbors never find out our beautiful Jubilee is a mutant.
Gambit: Gambit will help you!
Jubilee: Who are you?
Gambit: There you are, Wolverine.
Locke (from the TV show “Lost”): I’m not gonna kill Jacob, Ben. You are.
Riker (from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”): Shields up. Red alert.
Narrator (from the 1960’s “Batman” TV series): Batman was tied to a mattress…
Darth Vader (from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”): I…am your father.
Luke Skywalker (from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”): NOOOO!
Thorn (from “Soylent Green”): Soylent Green is people!
Cyclops: I just wish I knew what was happening in there.
(End of the episode recap)
NC (vo): As we open into the next episode, we see Wolverine can smell the gun oil, and they bust their asses, allowing them to sneak in and destroy all the names in the files. While that’s going on, we figure out the location of poor Jubilee.
(Cut to an exterior shot of a factory building with the caption “Detroit, Michigan”)
NC (vo): Well, to give credit, that does look like a typical Detroit building
(Cut to Jubilee being strapped to a table)
Henry Peter Guyrich: (voice only) Wake up. I want to ask you some questions, Jubilee.
NC (vo): And that is a typical Detroit welcome. You know, maybe this show is more realistic than I give it credit for.
Guyrich: Who are these so-called “X-Men”?
Bolivar Trask: Gyrich! Why did you bring that mutant here? (He takes a look at Jubilee from the TV screen and then returns to looking at Gyrich while pointing at the screen) Who is she?
NC (vo): (laughs) I love how that’s the first question he asks. There’s a girl strapped to a table obviously held there against her will, and his question is…
NC: (mocks Bolivar Trask by pointing to the camera) Who’s that? That doesn’t look like the other girls we kidnap and hold hostage. (Women off-screen complain; he looks off-screen camera left and yells) SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR WHITE CASTLE
NC (vo): So the files are destroyed and the X-Men try to escape.
Cyclops: Gambit, blow that fence.
(Cyclops and Gambit run off-screen before Rogue flies in to the camera with her chest being shown up close)
NC: (brings out a remote) Oooh, playing that again.
(Sexy music plays as the footage of Rogue flying in close to the camera is shown again in slow-motion)
NC: (chuckles) I’m a dirty young man. Yes, I am!
Morph: (as he and the other X-Men run together) Didn’t I tell ya? Clear sailing all the way.
(A Sentinel appears from behind some trees)
NC (vo): LOOK OUT! AN IRONIC TWIST TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID!
Morph: Wolverine! Pull back!
(The Sentinel produces a laser from its hand before we cut to Jean Grey at the school standing up to groan in pain while wearing the Cerebro, which looks like a helmet attached to wires)
Professor Xavier: What’s wrong, Jean?
Jean Grey: It’s Morph. Can’t you feel it?
NC (vo): (as Jean Grey) It’s as if millions of expendable voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
NC (vo): So we get sort of a weird edit as we jump forward to after the battle, and we find out that Morph didn’t make it. And, let’s be honest, you’re all a little happy. I mean, if you had to hear this again…
(Clips of Morph’s annoying laugh are shown)
NC: Eh, you’d be kind of happy.
Wolverine: (accusingly points to Cyclops) Soldier boy here left him behind! For all we know, Morph and Beast may still be alive.
Jean Grey: Beast is.
Wolverine: What about Morph?
NC (vo): Well, put it together, ape-man.
NC (vo): (as Wolverine) Let’s see, if Beast is alive, then Morph…(mutters to himself)…Beast is alive, that means Morph…uh…Beast…Morph…Beast…Morph. Beast, Morph, OH, HEY, I GET IT NOW! THAT REALLY SUCKS!
Jean Grey: Wolverine!
(Wolverine is seen using his silver blades to cut off the top of Cyclops' red car)
Wolverine: Tell Cyclops I made him a convertible. (He hopes into his jeep to start it)
Jean Grey: What happened isn’t his fault.
(Wolverine drives away)
Jean Grey: Wolverine! (Tears start to swell as she watches him leave) It’s not your fault, either.
(The camera pans to Cyclops standing in the doorway)
NC (vo): (as Cyclops) Hey, sweet, a convertible!
NC (vo): (normal) So Wolverine has a flashback to…just an hour ago—again, weird editing—and recalls how Morph was killed by just the zap of a laser.
(The Sentinel is seen zapping a laser from its hand before we cut to Wolverine watching the scene in hiding)
Wolverine: (to himself, sounding devastated) Morph.
NC (vo): And yet Beast gets zapped with the laser AND ELECTROCUTED ON THE FENCE and somehow comes out OK.
Rogue: I’ll get him! (She gets zapped by the Sentinel’s laser)
NC (vo): Oh, and Rogue gets zapped, too. You know what? Maybe Morph was just a pussy. You ever think that? Maybe he was just a giant fucking pussy.
Wolverine: (runs up to a trio of Sentinels to fight) It’s adamantium tasting time, boys!
(A Sentinel shoots out a rope from its hand and catches Wolverine in the foot, pulling him up and spinning him around in the air)
NC (vo): (as Wolverine) Please don’t show this in the commercial for the show! (The Sentinel finally throws Wolverine into some trees) Hey, I can see my house from here...!
NC (vo): (normal) So we see Cyclops tells the team to retreat, and Beast gets left behind.
(Cut to Gyrich interrogating Beast in his cell)
Guyrich: I want to ask you some questions.
Beast: Another time.
Guyrich: It’s your funeral. I’ll be back. (He leaves)
NC (vo): Don’t worry. He’ll only stay in prison for the rest of the whole fucking season! Seriously, what was up with that? Flash to normal time, and we see that the President of the United States was in on the whole Sentinel thing all the time. (Beat) Eh, sort of.
(Cut to the White House)
Guyrich: (enters in) You wanted to see me, Madame President?
President: (is on her exercise bike exercising) I wanted to congratulate you and Doctor Trask. I also wanted to tell you to stop all activities involving your privately-run mutant registration program.
President: Did they have good reason to be threatened?
NC (vo): I don’t know; this still seems fishy. I just can’t see a President signing a bill allowing mechanical robots to invade our personal freedoms and—OK, you all know where I’m going with this.
(A photo of George W. Bush smiling is shown before a rimshot is heard)
NC (vo): But the X-Men have a plan to find the Sentinel’s base. They lure one of them out by showing up to Jubilee’s house and try to follow him.
Sentinel: Surrender, mutant.
Cyclops: (raises his arms up as though surrendering) Of course. NOT! (He lifts up his glasses to shoot a laser at the Sentinel, cutting off an arm)
NC (vo): OH! HE JUST PULLED THE “NOT” LINE! The line every second-grader used when he knew for a fact that he had nothing clever to say! Snap, Cyclops! Snap!
Sentinel: Returning to base for repairs. (It launches itself into the sky before flying off)
(A jet follows the Sentinel behind, and it reveals Cyclops flying it)
NC (vo): (as the Sentinel) Also remember to replace the rate on this show when I was obviously being followed, because…I am probably obviously being followed.
NC (vo): (normal) So the Sentinel crashes into the headquarters—because I guess it’s hard to fly with one arm—and this allows Jubilee to escape, only to be caught again. She was pretty useless, wasn’t she?
Jubilee: (as many Sentinels walk in to surround her) No. I just want to go home.
Cyclops: Jubilee! Duck! (Jubilee ducks as he uses his laser to aim at the Sentinels)
NC (vo): (as Cyclops) Hell with your pansy fireworks! I have a pussy pink laser ray to save us!
NC (vo): (normal) So Cyclops gets zapped and Gambit does his card tricks, Rogue… (While flying in mid-air, a Sentinel strikes down on Rogue with a fist) JESUS!
Rogue: (gets up off the floor (which has an imprint of her)) Y’all ought to learn how to behave.
NC (vo): Oh, that’s right. It’s Rogue. She gets up like she’s Wile. E. Fucking Coyote! God, I love her! She’s so friggin’ hot that even the Sentinels are humping the air looking at her! No, I’m totally serious, look!
(As a Sentinel fires a laser to Rogue off-screen, it seems to be gyrating its hips back and forth as sexy music plays in the background and NC repeats the footage)
NC (vo): (speaks in a deep sexy voice) Oh, yeah. This guy’s harder than solid metal.
NC: (still speaks in a deep sexy voice) Oh, yeah.
NC (vo): But then Wolverine comes in to stop it.
(Wolverine jumps onto the Sentinel’s back to dig his claws downward into it)
NC: Oh, come on, man. It’s Guy Rule #4. Let him finish.
NC (vo): So even though the bad guys get away, they (the X-Men) destroy all the Sentinels and their home base. And welcome their newest decoy—I mean, crew member—Jubilee to the X-Men.
(Jubilee is seen saying goodbye to her parents)
Jubilee’s Mother: You will come to visit us, won’t you?
Jubilee: (hugs her mother) Does a mall baby eat chili fries?
NC (vo): Uh, that’s bad ‘90s talk for “No.” No, she won’t. They never show up in the series again. Just assume a dog ate them.
(Cut to Jubilee ringing the doorbell at Xavier’s School for the Gifted, and the door opens to let her inside before it closes behind her; the camera pans back to give an exterior shot of the school before the episode ends)
NC: And thus ends the story arc of “X-Men.” After so many years, does it still hold up?
(Clips from the TV show play again as NC speaks)
NC (vo): Well, it’s a pretty solid intro for kids. The characters are pretty well-introduced, the idea of mutants and prejudice is well shown, and it didn’t feel like it needed to talk down to kids….too much. Okay, there’s a lot of things that are silly, and I’d be lying if I said it meant “Batman” or “Animaniacs” level, but as kids shows go, it holds up pretty well. It has decent action, well-developed characters, a passionate story; it was a show that felt big. Every event that happened felt like a big event. There’s a lot of goofy moments, but there’s a lot of kickass moments, too. And you can tell that it wasn’t just another comic show that was made for children. They’ve put a lot of actual effort into it, and it definitely shows. It may not be perfect, but by God, it’s freakin’ awesome!
NC: I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. (He gets up to leave)
Channel Awesome Tagline—Cyclops: Of course. NOT!