Wolverine and the X-Men is the newest Animated Adaptation of the X-Men franchise, premiering in America sometime in 2009 and everywhere else in the world mid-2008.The show begins with the destruction of the Xavier Institute, and Professor Xavier and Jean Grey missing, apparently dead. A distraught Cyclops disbands the team, and everyone heads in their own directions. After a run-in with some token anti-mutant villains, Wolverine decides the X-Men must be reassembled, and begins locating the missing members.As the title may have told you, this show heavily focuses on Wolverine, even becoming the leader of the X-Men. That said, there were more than enough A Day in the Limelight episodes to prevent things from being too repetitive, and the show explores the "Days of Future Past" storyline and "Genosha as Mutant Refuge" concept in more depth than any other adaptation. Forge and Emma Frost are made part of the main cast for the first time.Despite early reports of plans for Season 2, it was canceled after just one season, joining The Spectacular Spider-Man, which was canceled not too long before.While the show itself proved to be too good/bad to last, its legacy did live on in a very unusual way. Two years after the series' cancellation, Marvel launched a new comic series of the same name, which again focused on Wolverine re-building the school and reluctantly assuming the leadership role of to a group of X-Men (albeit under different circumstances). While some character have been know to make the jump from from an adaptation to its source material before, this is one of the few time a source material has come to mirror the premise of its adaptation. Sometimes, you just can't keep a good (or bad) idea down.
In addition to all the usual X-Men related tropes, this show contains examples of:
Abandoned Warehouse: In the second episode, Avalanche levels an entire street of what the news conveniently announces as "empty warehouses".
Adaptation Dye-Job: In the comics Iceman has brown hair, but in this series he has blonde hair - and almost looks like he could be Angel's younger brother.
Adaptational Heroism: Nitro. His comic self is a killer for hire who revels in his explosive powers. The Nitro in this series is horrified by his powers (Which he cannot control), and willingly turns himself in to the MRD to protect others from him.
Bad Future: Xavier is stuck in a future run by Sentinels. At the end of the first season, though, the X-Men manage to change history and prevent the Sentinel uprising. Unfortunately, this merely creates a completely different Bad Future ruled by evil Social Darwinist Apocalypse. It really sucks to be Charles Xavier.
Batman Gambit: Gambit's plan to steal Magneto's helmet was to admit that he was sent there to steal Magneto's helmet so he could walk around freely thus he could have an easier time stealing Magneto's helmet. Turns out the helmet was just misdirection so that he could cripple their infastructure with a few well-placed explosives.
Beta Couple: Possibly Kitty Pryde and Bobby Drake (Iceman).
There was also Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch
Big Bad: Mastermold is the Big Bad of the Bad Future Xavier is stuck in, while Magneto and Senator Robert Kelly largely takes the role among several long-term villains Though the Inner Circle also has a pretty good claim on driving a lot of the plot. The Sequel Hook set up Apocalypse as the Big Bad for an aborted second season, although Sinister basically served as Dragon-in-Chief in this respect for the show.
Book Ends: The show had a three-part premier called "Hindsight" and a three-part finale called "Foresight".
Brainwashed and Crazy: Mojo does this to Wolverine in an episode. Also Archangel. Although it's not made clear if this is entirely the case at first certainly by the end of the series he seems to be a mindless puppet of Sinister's.
Broken Aesop: The series showcased Cyclops grieving over the disappearance of his Designated Love Interest Jean Grey (who was actually introduced giving him a hard time about sucker-punching Wolverine in a fit of jealousy and then blows a kiss to his rival) and being annoyed at Professor Xavier demoting him while promoting Wolverine to leader. The series seemed to initially pitch the idea that Cyclops had to learn to let go of his resentments and move on with his life, including but no limited to hooking up with his then comic current girlfriend Emma Frost. 26 episodes later... he ended up back together with Jean anyway after waiting for the odds to change in his favor. Great moral for the kids - don't learn to move on from the loss of your loved ones, just sit around being depressed in the hopes that they'll eventually come back to you.
It's also perfectly okay to ignore a long time friend and/or colleague (in this case Cyclops) when they're clearly suffering severe emotional trauma and clearly need professional psychiatric help simply because they're inconvenient to you, so it's alright to abandon them to their personal turmoil (even if it means leaving them to rot in a run down rat infested motel) because you can't be bothered.
Brother-Sister Incest: Wolverine's former girlfriend Mariko Yashida was forced by her father to marry the Silver Samurai. In the comics Mariko and Silver Samurai are half-siblings, having the same father.
Calling the Old Man Out: Warren Worthington III is not pleased that his father bankrolls the anti-mutant movement, and isn't afraid to say it to his face. Scarlet Witch and Polaris give Magneto the same treatment after he crosses the Moral Event Horizon in the finale.
Canon Foreigner: The Mutant Response Division (MRD) didn't exist in the comics before this show. They later became a case of Canon Immigrant from 2010 onwards, although their role hasn't been that huge.
Warren Worthington II is a combination of Cameron Hodge (Corrupt Corporate Executive who funds several anti-Mutnat programs and has Angel's wings amputated) and the movie version of Warren Worthington II (also funds Anti-Mutant program, such as a "cure" for mutants' believes what he did saw best for his son, though in reality, was only serving himself; and realizes the error of his way, though in this case, too late to really do anything.)
Mystique, who's a mix of Mystique as we know her, and Silver Fox, Wolverine's former love interest and fellow captive at Weapon X.
Continuity Snarl: According to Word of God, the Wolverine short of Hulk VS takes place in the same universe as this show. That said, there are some things that in Hulk VS Wolverine that contradict WatXM like Wolverine remembering Weapon X and their members and meeting them again in the short when he has no idea who they are when he meets up with Sabretooth after years in the series. Also, Bruce Banner has no idea who Wolverine is in WatXM, despite Wolverine being the reason for his two main Hulk-outs in the short and Wolvie first meeting Bruce Banner while he was Banner.
Warren Worthington II (Warren Worthington III AKA Angel's father) finances senator Kelly's anti-mutant campaign platform, and provides the MRD's R&D and hardware as well; needless to say, his son disagrees vocally. Unfortunately, by the time he realizes he's being a gigantic dick, it's too little too late, both to stop the anti-mutant movement from becoming a viable political and paramilitary force on its own and to save his son from becoming Mister Sinister's brainwashed minion, leaving him with nothing but now cold and empty financial and material comforts and a mountain of regrets. Karma's a bitch sometimes.
Happens to Storm, of all people. While a major character in the comics, one of the most recognizable members of the X-Men, and being in the main cast of nearly all the previous animated adaptations, here she's shoved into the background to give Wolvie a bigger role. In fact, there's no real reason for her presence at all: she doesn't factor into any of the story lines, and the episode where she rejoins the team has nothing to do with the overall plot. It's possible that the writers only threw her in because viewers are used to seeing her.
To say nothing of Jean, who was reduced to nothing more than a plot device.
Derailing Love Interests: Happens to both Jean Grey and Emma Frost. Jean actually gets derailed right from the pilot when she's shown berating her boyfriend Cyclops for getting into a fight with Wolverine over her, which naturally casts her in a negative light. Jean is then MIA for most of the season while Emma Frost is around, trying to see if she can maybe get Cyclops on her side by being at least somewhat more sympathetic towards him (more so than most of the other X-Men anyway), only to get blown up for her trouble at the end of the series, leaving Jean to have Cyclops all to herself.
Jean Grey and Charles Xavier suffering from comas inflicted to them from a bomb in the pilot episode during the shows run kept major plots from being resolved far too quickly with their all-powerful telekinesis and telepathy respectfully.
Future!Polaris traveling with Bishop and Xavier's group of mutants would have reduced the Sentinels from major threats to cannon fodder due to her Magnetism powers, so she has to stay behind in the same episode she was introduced.
Disproportionate Retribution: Three noteworthy examples include a Papa Wolf mode Magneto throwing people in jail for simply kissing his youngest daughter Polaris, a jealous Cyclops violently blasting Wolverine for hitting on his long time girlfriend Jean Grey, and finally a rather hypocritical Jean violently binding her blonde rival Emma Frost to a wall with pipes for kissing Cyclops.
Double Standard: It's a crime for Cyclops to lose his temper and lash out at Wolverine for hitting on his longtime girlfriend Jean Grey, but it's okay for Jean to violently attack Emma Frost when Emma gets a little too friendly with Cyclops. (see Hypocrite below)
Drama-Preserving Handicap: Happens to Storm in the episodes in which she takes part in battles. She appears, makes a major power play, and is knocked out almost immediately. The writers even acknowledged that she was too powerful to work into their universe properly.
Empathy Doll Shot: A scene of two children running from Sentinels, and one dropping a teddy bear is in the opening theme.
Enemy Mine: Senator Kelly and Magneto had a deal in which the MRD would deport all their captives to Genosha. The deal ended when Magneto learned that Kelly was secretly keeping the most powerful mutants under lock and key.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Some episodes used lasers, though in episode 18 the Brotherhood are attacked with firearms that resemble, and sound like, real life weaponry. The trope is immediately played straight again though, as Toad is caught in a net. However, when you think about it this makes more sense as the MRD's purpose is mainly to capture and not to kill. Despite this, Quicksilver is able to scavenge a handgun and use it to cause a Sentinel to fall down to its destruction.
Fastball Special: However, because Colossus has hardly appeared, some interesting variations (like Wolverine being thrown by the Blob or propelled by one of Cyclops' laser blasts) have occurred instead.
Gambit Pileup: Let's see: Kelly's working an angle, Magneto's working an angle against him, the Inner Circle is working the X-Men, Xavier's working the X-Men too, and then there are people like Sinister and Weapon X, who were planning for the season 2 that never happened.
Arclight was changed from a woman into a man for the show. According to the commentary for "eXcessive Force", this was done because the crew was uncomfortable with having Cyclops attacking a woman while looking for Mister Sinister.
This show's version of Master Mold is found to be female.
Genghis Gambit: Magneto plans to have Genosha razed by Sentinels as a pretext to rally all of mutantkind to a war with humanity.
Hello, Nurse!: Emma Frost. Her introduction into the series has practically every male at the X-Mansion (aside from Wolverine and Beast) gawking over her.
Jean Grey and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch aren't too shabby either.
Heck, in flashbacks Cyclops had a bit of a Hello Nurse reaction to Jean when they first met as teenagers.
Heel-Face Turn: Semi-used. Mid-season, Rogue reveals that she only joined the Brotherhood in order to infiltrate them, because she learned some unpleasant things from Toad's mind. And while Emma may not have been working for the X-Men per-se, her goals were always good (stop the Phoenix). It's the Inner Circle who had a Face-Heel Turn when they decided to use the Phoenix as a tool for their own power.
Heel Realization: Warren Worthington II has this epiphany right after he loses what he truly cared about most due to his own actions.
Heroic Sacrifice: Emma Frost. Had the second season happened, she would apparently have returned.
Honor Before Reason: When Cyclops attacks Wolverine for hitting on Jean Grey the clawed one refuses to fight back simply because he promised Jean he wouldn't (granted, Wolverine brought this on himself since he hit on a woman who was already in a relationship). He also holds to promises he made to Mystique and Yuriko years earlier.
Hulk Speak: The Hulk in his guest appearance, naturally.
Hypocrite: Wolverine chews out Cyclops for running off by himself to hunt for the missing Jean Grey amongst the cronies of Sinister and then the bad man himself instead of working with the team, and then goes off and does the exact same thing in the very next episode! This is repeatedly lampshaded, though, and Rogue straight up calls him out on it repeatedly.
Jean Grey herself ultimately proves to be this towards Cyclops. She chastised the Hell out of him for losing his temper and zapping the crap out of Wolverine when Wolverine hit on her. So what does Jean do in the series finale when she sees Emma Frost kissing an unconscious Cyclops? She violently throws Emma up against a wall, binds her there with pipes, and is about to curbstomp her until Cyclops intervenes.
Xavier could also be considered this, at least in regards towards Cyclops. He pretty much ignored Cyclops's personal problems while always putting time aside for Wolverine.
In the Blood: Commented on by Gambit when he steals Magneto's helmet and break's Polaris's heart (well, kinda) by revealing he was leaving without her. This, understandably, pisses off Polaris and she uses her powers to take back Magneto's helmet and almost sinks Gambit's boat.
Gambit: Of course, she has her daddy's powers... and her sister's temper.
The Brotherhood of Mutants ultimately gets away without any reprisals, although given how they were Magneto's shock troops they took a lot of crap before the show ended.
Weapon X ultimately fails to keep a hold of Maverick, but they and Sabretooth are free men by the end of it.
While the Stepford Cuckoos are probably in custody, the Inner Circle is still at large.
Probably the most annoying example is Sinister, given all the torment he puts Scott, Warren Worthington III and Jean Grey through. Owing to the show's cancellation, he gets to be Co-Dragons with Cyclops to Apocalypse in a new Bad Future and that's the last we see of him.
Kick the Dog: Selene revealing that Emma is the one who accidentally caused the explosion that broke up the team, and then stole Xavier's body so that she could plant it on Genosha and buy her way onto the team. All while Emma begs her not to say it. Plus, Selene is clearly enjoying it.
Laser-Guided Karma: In "Hindsight (Part 1)", a camper calls MRD about Wolverine, and then rats out on his neighbors just for showing kindness to him for saving their daughter. His RV ends up getting smashed by a MRD helicopter, thanks to Wolverine.
After giving Cyclops a hard time about losing his temper and sucker punching Wolverine for hitting on her, Jean Grey gets a taste of her own medicine in the finale when she sees an unconscious Cyclops get kissed by Emma Frost. Not that Jean takes her Laser Guided Karma lying down.
The Load: Cyclops of all people is portrayed as this, even in flashbacks to his earlier years.
Toad to the Brotherhood. He repeatedly gets captured and needing his teammates to break him out. They were actually going to let him rot in "Time Bomb" before he told them about Nitro.
Loads and Loads of Characters: The X-Men cast in this series is large enough that some of them don't actually get anything to do. The series throws in villains and secondary characters so often that few of them get any buildup or development; even some characters that are important to the plot aren't introduced until the very last minute (such as the Inner Circle, who don't appear until the last three-parter), or appear to have monumental importance for a single episode before being relegated to extras (Tildie).
Love Triangle: Wolverine/Jean Grey/Cyclops and Emma Frost/Cyclops/Jean Grey.
Loving a Shadow: This seems to be the entire basis of Cyclops's relationship with Jean Grey.
Magic Pants: Episode 7, "Wolverine vs. The Hulk", has both Bruce Banner's magically expanding pants whenever he transforms from being the Hulk. Also featured in that episode were the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives who were turned into wendigo beasts covered in fur mysteriously regaining their clothes when they are cured of their affliction.
The Mole: Emma Frost. After accidentally causing the explosion at the Xavier Institute, she stole Xavier's body so that she could buy her way onto the team and eventually have another chance to find Jean. Or more precisely, the Phoenix. Though she did have good intentions...
Mood Motif: The music from the three movies is threaded throughout the show's theme music.
A lot of background mutants are cult favourites such as Dazzler; Wolverine wearing his silly original costume in the flashback in Wolverine vs The Hulk.
The number of mutant cameos is frankly ridiculous(ly awesome). Seriously, there was a whole action sequence in one episode that was just dealing with Fever Pitch.
And when the Marauders Blockbuster and Vertigo are first seen, they're harassing the Morlock Berserker, in reference to their part in the infamous Morlock Massacre storyline.
Never Say "Die": Averted with a few uses of the word "kill", but most notably when in episode 17 when the theme is a duel to the death between Logan and the Silver Samurai. Other instances Kurt and Wanda run from a mind controlled Wolverine and when Logan and Beast try getting Bobby to rejoin. In episode 16 Polaris in the bad future explicitly refers to Magneto as dead, and we almost see the firewave rush over him and burn him to death. This trope can pretty much be considered averted.
Non-Action Guy: Forge. He spends more time working on the X-Men's tech then in field missions. He is even conspicuously absent when the Brotherhood attacks the mansion, only showing up after the fight (Which Shadowcat calls him out on).
The Nose Knows: Wolverine's tracking mutant ability. The viewer even gets an inside perspective into it by seeing the imaginary scent track left by whoever Logan is trying to find.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Unlike the other types of X-men series, Wolverine is the blue oni to Cyclops' red oni.
Reverse Mole: Played with. Initially, Rogue looks like this in Hindsight Part 2. She pretends to join the Brotherhood, but is working with the X-Men against them. But this is all a ploy. She's really working with the Brotherhood to use the X-Men to help push the anti-mutant agenda, thus justifying further anti-human activities by the Brotherhood and pushing along the path to war.
Later, in Battle Lines, Rogue reveals that all of that was part of her plan; she was on the X-Men's side all along. She read some disturbing things from Toad's mind, so she decided to hook up with them to keep an eye on them. She even tried to tell the X-Men about it once in a prior episode, but Logan wasn't there, which pissed her off enough to not bother.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Xavier seems to have it. Or does he? As a telepath in contact with people from the past he can read from their minds what he told them to avert, even when it no longer happened.
Supporting Leader: In the future it's Xavier, but in the present Magneto (oddly enough) cites Nightcrawler as one of these characters. One episode shows that he actually does have fantastic leadership skills and his time with the X-Men has made him well-respected in the mutant community.
Teleportation Sickness: In "Hunting Grounds", the Scarlet Witch when Nightcrawler teleports both of them repeatedly.
And Marrow, when she turns the Sentinels on Xavier and the rest of his team, because their orders sacrificed Rover, her pet, reprogrammed Sentinel.
Too Dumb to Live; Oh sure, Inner Circle, go ahead and try to probe Phoenix's mind without Emma Frost, the one who knows what she's doing. I'm sure nothing will go wrong.
Cyclops ain't much smarter either.
Marrow took the loss of Rover a little too hard - and did something stupid.
Trojan Prisoner: Gambit is able to get onto Genosha by admitting that Senator Kelly sent him there to steal Magneto's helmet. Turns out he's actually there to cripple their infrastructure and leave them open to invasion.
Undying Loyalty: Toad stands by the Brotherhood, no matter what. Even during the aforementioned battle with the Sentinels, he stayed with them.
And also Quicksilver, to Magneto, even as the Scarlet Witch and Polaris desert him in the series finale.
And of course, Cyclops with his seemingly indestructible determination to hold out hope for Jean Grey's eventual return.
Victorious Childhood Friend: Jean Grey may or may not count as this reclaiming Cyclops for herself at the end - though it may be more like Victorious Teenage Friend.
The Un Favourite: Magneto makes it very clear which of his three children he has the least regard for. It's Quicksilver.
May or may not occur between Xavier and Cyclops (see below).
Violently Protective Girlfriend: Teen Jean Grey going toe to toe with Magneto to save teen Cyclops may count, but probably even more so as an adult when she violently throws Emma Frost up against a wall and binds her there with pipes for kissing an unconscious Cyclops. And in between that briefly going into Phoenix mode when Cyclops almost gets knifed by Ark-Angel.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Despite his best efforts, Quicksilver can never get daddy to cut him any slack, or even recognize he might be useful at anything. To be fair, though, he is a complete idiot.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite what she had done, Emma was never evil at all, and she was far from what you could call a villain. Everything she had done was in order to save the world from the Phoenix Force. Too bad the rest of the Hellfire Club has other plans...
Senator Kelly and Magneto, on opposite sides of the mutant conflict and both convinced the other will be the one to start the war. Strangely enough, this does not stop them from working together on occasion albeit with the intention of stabbing the other in the back eventually.
What Does She See in Him?: Evoked (though never outrightly asked by any of the cast) with Jean Grey and Emma Frost in regards to Cyclops, due mostly to the fact that Cyclops is not portrayed with any admirable traits. Wolverine makes a joke about to Cyclops's face in their first encounter (and suffers for it not long after).
What Happened to the Mouse?: Colossus appeared in the first episode as a team member, but never returned after the rest of the team was reunited. He was supposed to in Season 2, however. Later on, Gambit - we don't know what happened to him after Polaris sank the boat in which he was leaving Genosha.
X-23. She had a voiceless cameo in 'Stolen Lives', body-guarding Professor Thorton as he made his escape, and four of her helped Wolverine in the future in the final episodes. Future Logan states that he found them in a Weapon X facility in stasis, but given that that future won't happen, four of her seems unlikely now. So, what happened to her?
What the Hell, Hero?: In the Hulk episode, both Wolverine and Banner call shenanigans on Nick Fury for unleashing Hulk into the area in the first place. For his part, Fury defies their objections, maintaining that SHIELD doesn't answer to them and if Fury decides to continue to use them both for his own ends, they won't get two words on the subject.
This is pretty much Jean's reaction to Cyclops zapping Wolverine after Wolverine hit on her without knowing she made the clawed one promise her he wouldn't fight Cyclops.
Jean has this reaction towards Cyclops again in the series finale when he tries to take on the Phoenix - though that time she was trying to save his life.
Pretty much everyone has this reaction towards Cyclops throughout the series, since people who lose their loved ones apparently don't deserve sympathy.
Juggernaut only makes two appearances in the series. In the first he was clobbered to demonstrate how powerful another character was. His second sequence is barely a cameo, where he escapes entirely off-screen. He doesn't even get to say a word. Commented upon in his first appearance when he gets launched halfway across a city and knocked out cold.
Kitty Pryde: Juggernaut? As in, "The Unstoppable Juggernaut?" What could do that to him? Cue giant monster. Kitty Pryde: Never mind.
Wolverine, despite having his name in the title, is not slacking on his indestructible punching bag duties. Against anyone with a name he either loses, stalemates, or gets a beatdown before winning. The hazards of having blades as your main offense when you aren't allowed to cut anyone.
The entire X-Men team gets kidnapped by ninjas just so Wolverine can rescue them. Our heroes, ladies and gentleman...
And Vica Versa, when Jean Grey saw Emma Frost kissing Cyclops, possibly not even seeing her actual kiss him but just seeing her near him from profile, she was pissed. (Serves her right for being fickle about him and Wolverine though).
Given the violent response, it's almost certain she did, and it's hardly just desserts.