The Series (4.5/5)
Joss Whedon, as long as you've heard of him, is someone you statistically love or loathe. Trust me, I've done the research. You can go to just about any forum related to his medium, drop his name, and derail a thread. Just like that. Snap your fingers for instant trolling. The shit-storm cometh. Some will argue that he's a hack who's television and film work were barely worth used toilet paper, while others have already sacrificed a goat in his name in the time it took you to read the first two sentences of my review... of yeah. Review. The Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Motion Comic.
Motion comic is a funny term when applied to this particular DVD. If you've ever shuddered at the thought of motion comics, I'll have you know that AXM:G is the Disney of motion comics, and I'm not just saying that because Disney bought Marvel. I'm saying it because of how incredibly fluid everything looks. There are points in this series where I had trouble determining where you draw the line between animation and motion comics. It's that fluid. Now, of course, it's not perfect animation, but it is surprising what Neal Adams and his animation studio were able to do with John Cassaday's fantastic illustrations. Wait...what? THE Neal Adams? The guy who pretty much saved the X-Men from cancellation in 1969? Yeah, apparently he has an animation studio now. Pretty cool stuff.
Back to Joss Whedon for a second, you know, so we can talk story. For me, the story of AXM:G is very satisfying. Then again, I like Whedon's work. I've never sacrificed a goat to an altar or anything like that, but I am drawn to his characters and plots. In this case it was the X-Men, characters I'd already become fond of while in my adolescence mostly because of the cartoon and the horrid Rob Liefeld books. When I grew up, as did superhero comics, I noticed that these characters were becoming more compelling to read. The protagonists and villains evolved to suit my needs as a reader. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this isn't that X-Men cartoon from the FoxBox on Saturday mornings. Astonishing X-Men, written by Joss Whedon, was what came after Grant Morrisons often argued over New X-Men. It debuted in 2004. If your worried that it doesn't stick to the source material, I can assure you it does. I would have opened my copy of the books and read along had I not lent them out to a friend. It's that close.
The voice cast isn't perfect. It never will be. Is this the fault of the studio? No, absolutely not. It's because for decades you've thought in your head, as you've read these comic books, exactly how you think these fictional people should sound and you've grown fond of those voices. As for the delivery of each person's lines? Wellllll....it isn't perfect, but it'll do.
Unfortunately, for those out of the loop, this DVD isn't very accessible. If you haven't been reading X-Men or were not aware of what has progressed in it's continuity in the 5 or 6 years before, you're going to be totally lost. A lot has happened and many of these things will hinder your ability to fully enjoy the plot. Lucky for me, as an on-again-off-again X-Men reader, I was up to speed. However, with this DVD their is an option to read the cliff notes before viewing the feature. In the special features there is a history of the series appropriately titled "Everything You Wanted to Know About The X-Men but Didn't Have Time to Read 500 Back Issues to Find Out. It's only 17 short screens long and should catch you up. It's worth it.
In closing, if you like the X-Men, you should like this. It's a pretty simple formula. If I were to give this a number, I'd happily throw a 4.5/5 on it. Enjoy.