A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Characters must make difficult decisions that could put others in danger, which makes the right/wrong scale a little fuzzy. But teamwork, responsibility, and accepting differences are also themes.
Positive Role Models
The two usual authority figures, Cyclops and Professor Xavier, are both troubled in these stories, and neither is shown at his best. Young fans usually love Wolverine, but he very often indulges in antisocial or destructive behavior with few repercussions. Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) -- a responsible teenager -- could be considered a positive female role model, though she does spend some time in a lover's spat with Colossus. The characters can be seen as proxies for the emotional turbulence of adolescence, and in that way, allow teens to safely live out some of their feelings through fantasy.
Violence & Scariness
Medium-level fantasy violence, mostly superheroes and monsters fighting one another with super powers and imaginary weapons. But the fighting feels intense and serious, as if something heavy were at stake. (Teeth are shown being punched out, etc.) In one story, a character commits suicide, and pools of blood are shown; later he's resurrected as a scary zombie/puppet, moving about while twisted and broken. There's some other somewhat scary imagery as well.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kitty and Colossus have a lover's spat, and female heroes are shown wearing skimpy costumes. There's also some brief sexual innuendo, such as references to a "Hilton girl" "dancing topless" or a reference to "tongue kissing."
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Language includes "damn" and "hell," as well as words like "bugger," "geek," and "stupid."
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Products & Purchases
The X-Men is a major brand with merchandise, comics, theatrical movies, and more. One off-hand reference to LEGO.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Not an issue, except that Wolverine -- in a voiceover -- says how much he likes beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Astonishing X-Men is a motion comic, which is something halfway between reading a comic book and watching an animated cartoon; there's lots of detail, but little movement. The short episodes contain superhero battles, with some realistic and fantasy weapons; the tone is a bit more serious and dramatic than you might expect, with a bit more at stake. Expect some mild language, like "damn" and "hell"; some characters are in romantic relationships, complete with lovers' spats. Female characters wear skimpy, sexy outfits, and there's some brief innuendo. Written by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the show could appeal to a wide range of genre fans.
Is It Any Good?
In this "motion comic," the focus isn't on slick or fluid movements; rather, it aims to stay true to the original comic book art. It's as if the original pages were scanned and figures were moved just a little bit to suggest action, instead of showing it. It takes a little while to get used to it, and it can look like "bad" animation, but the artwork is quite powerful, and it makes the drama a bit more mature than in a simpler animated cartoon.
Whedon has a gift for handling ensemble casts and giving each character a satisfying dramatic arc. A great deal happens in the brief running time, from big battles to dramatic turns of character. Problems like romance, adjusting to a new situation, and regret are concepts that any viewer can identify with. On the other hand, action scenes and battles with monsters and robots aren't as kinetic and exciting as they might otherwise be, so viewers will have to use their imagination a bit.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.