Even though Fox Kid’s X-Men set a high precedent for superhero adaptations in the 1990s, the 2000s were marked by interesting reinterpretations like X-Men: Evolution. The latter is notable for giving the popular mutants a high-school makeover. Most of the lead characters are teenagers figuring out their powers and abilities, while seasoned veterans like Wolverine, Storm, and Professor Xavier serve as their teachers.
While the show offered much more depth to some characters with the ‘teen angst’ angle, it also underdelivered in terms of the development of a few others. All in all, the cult series still deserves praise for its willingness to experiment and mildly deviate from the comics.
The ‘Dark Phoenix saga’ has become synonymous with Jean Grey’s existence, being repeated over and over in comics and films. X-Men Evolution’s high-school approach allowed her character to grow more before her dark metamorphosis, which was eventually teased in the last season. Further, her romance with Cyclops is also more fleshed-out. Otherwise, despite being one of X-Men’s most popular couples, they appear to be too distanced from each other.
Because of her often-unstable bursts of energy, Jean was shown as losing battles because of her uncontrollable power. As a result, it would be Storm or Wolverine who would save the day. X-Men: Evolution gave enough space for Jean Grey’s character to grow as a heroine in her own right.
With her shape-shifting abilities and changing loyalties, Mystique is one of the franchise’s strongest and most mysterious characters. Her portrayal in X-Men: Evolution, however, might make her seem a tad bit one-dimensional, as she’s often shown to be subservient to Magneto.
In the comics, other members of the Brotherhood of Mutants like Toad and even his own children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are extremely obedient to Magneto. But, as for Mystique, she is shown as a master of her own will and hardly bows down to anyone. In fact, at one point, Mystique had formed her own branch of the Brotherhood that included Pyro, the Blob, Rogue, and Avalanche.
Nightcrawler is often depicted as a shy individual who carries several insecurities and fears. The teleporting mutant is similarly depicted in the animated series as a teenager who’s conscious about the way he looks and often masks his blue skin with an Image Inducer created by Professor Xavier. This device allows him to appear as anything he wants, granting him the ability to walk freely in public.
His character is, however, not introverted in front of everyone and has his own share of fun. For instance, once he and Kitty Pryde piggybacked on the X-Jet when Wolverine flew to fight Sabretooth in Canada. While messing around in a lab, he also accidentally entered the Middleverse in which Forge was trapped.