Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy DVD Review

If this is your first Wolverine and The X-Men DVD, then you will be completely lost. The plot moves at a breakneck speed, picking up from the previous installment without even a recap, and never lets up for the duration of the 60-ish minute finale. Obviously, you’ll want to revisit some of the previous releases to get up to speed. But, if you’ve been on the Wolverine and The X-Men bandwagon since day one, you will not be disappointed by what you find here. Exhilarating and expertly paced, Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy is a great cap to an excellent series. If you’re new to this series, I’m positive these episodes will encourage you to seek out the previous ones.

The battle for the future ends in a shattering 3-part finale. It’s time to save the world from Xavier's catastrophic future in Volume 6: Final Crisis Trilogy, as Wolverine and the X-Men stop at nothing to prevent the world’s end. The shadowy Inner Circle has captured Jean Grey in order to possess the dangerous Phoenix inside her, while Magneto uses Mystique disguised as Senator Kelly, to launch the Sentinels on Genosha. After discovering the truth about the Circle’s plan, Emma Frost realizes she alone must try to harness the Phoenix force and save Jean before it’s too late. Meanwhile, in the future, Xavier unwillingly helps Master Mold track down every mutant on the planet…for execution. Only Wolverine can stop both Magneto and the Inner Circle, preventing the devastating future Xavier has foretold.

With these three final episodes, Wolverine and The X-Men’s first and only season comes to an epic conclusion and, boy, are these three episodes a total doozy. Full of action, betrayals and a fair share of surprises, the creative team behind this stellar animated X-Men series really goes all out here. Now, while the episodes included on this release have aired months and months ago on Nicktoons Network, I’ll try to remain as spoiler-free as possible for those who have been waiting on these DVD releases to find out how this all ends. These episodes play so well when watched in succession, back-to-back-to-back.

Things pick up mere seconds after the last volume, Wolverine and The X-Men: Revelation, and don’t stop until the end credits. There’s barely a moment to breathe as we jump from one thing to the next, thankfully paced in such a way that we don’t notice just how much is actually happening. Jean Grey is gone and Wolverine knows who the culprit is – Emma Frost. However, things aren’t exactly what they seem on that front. At the same time, Magneto is initiating his endgame against humanity while, in the future, Professor X begins his final assault against Master Mold. Time travel quirks aside, everything falls into place almost flawlessly here, each story playing into the next in usually fairly clever ways.

Like I said, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say I enjoyed some of the cameos, including appearances by the Cuckoos (from Grant Morrison’s brilliant New X-Men run), X23 (a vastly underrated character), and one of two surprises in the final episode. You really get a sense of the enjoyment and work put into this series by the creative team, how it dips into so many classic X-Men tales and the appearances of characters from all the different eras. Watching all the strings come together in this finale, it is apparent how meticulously planned out this whole season was.

For these final episodes, the writing remains top-notch throughout, offering some of the most compelling tales on television today. It’s an utter shame we won’t get to see this show explore a second season’s worth of storylines. The animation holds up quite nicely for the most part too, though I still find some of the action sequences are paced somewhat slower than they should be. They seem to lack that visceral edge from time to time, but they’re still very well balanced and composed, with all the characters usually getting at least a few solid moments to show off their abilities. I was so engrossed with the story that, not until a second viewing, did I notice some of the wonky action animation.

Episodes collected in this release include “Foresight, Part One,” “Foresight, Part Two,” and “Foresight, Part Three.”

Overall, these three episodes are more than satisfying conclusion to the first season of Wolverine and The X-Men, wrapping up the story nicely and rewarding the viewer nicely. Sure, the tease at the very end of the feature gives us a hint of what now will never be, but I still find these final episodes as a suitable wrap-up to what’s been a top-class X-Men cartoon that easily deserves the Recommended stamp. Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy will definitely satisfy fans who have been with the series since its first episode, enjoying what’s been a long and very complex road at times. And, for those who think they know how it all ends, well…don’t count on that. Even in the final three episodes I find Wolverine and The X-Men still managed to drop in more than a couple genuine surprises.

The DVD:

Like the previous five Wolverine and The X-Men DVD releases, Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy looks and sounds pretty sharp. The 1.78:1 picture is vibrant and really pops off the screen, with the only noticeable defect being some slight interlacing and compression popping up here and there. The Dolby 5.1 English mix sounds excellent, with loud sound effects and action sequences coming out loud and clear. An alternate Spanish 2.0 dub is also available.

Bonus material also continues along the lines of previous Wolverine and the X-Men home video releases. Each episode comes with a commentary track featuring supervising producer Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson and Chris Yost, discussing everything from character designs to how the season wraps up. It’s quite apparent these tracks were recorded before news of the series not getting a second season. The disc is then wrapped up with a collection of trailers. Not much, admittedly, but I admire Yost, Johnson and Yost coming back release after release to share their thoughts on the release. Easily worth a listen, especially given these are the final commentaries we'll get for the series.

Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy features the epic finale to the series, wrapping up what’s been an invigorating X-Men cartoon. While it is another single-disc collection, much to the chagrin of many fans, the quality of the episodes can justify the price-tag. If you have been picking up the previous single-disc DVD releases for this series, you have no reason to stop now. However, with the announcement of a Wolverine and The X-Men: The Complete Series DVD and Blu-ray release for October, you may want to take that into consideration before picking up this release. But, as I said, if you have been buying the previous single-disc volume releases, there’s no reason to stop now. Based on the strength of the main feature, and that fact that this volume wraps up the enjoyable series, Wolverine and The X-Men: Final Crisis Trilogy definitely deserves the Recommended stamp.

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