Documentaries: Chris Claremont’s X-Men (2018) - Reviewed

Chris Claremont’s X-Men is a documentary directed, produced and edited by Patrick Meaney that details the life and career of Marvel comic book writer extraordinaire, Chris Claremont. Claremont is known for his extensive work with the X-Men franchise and is responsible for writing the highest selling comic book of all time, X-Men Vol. 2

This documentary is an amazing tribute to one of the industry’s most talented writers. The way it reflects upon Claremont’s early life, as a young boy immigrating to the United States from England, feeling like an outsider as a child; and how that would eventually shape the way he would go on to write about everyone’s favorite mutants was absolutely fascinating. In one of the documentary interviews, Claremont shares a perspective of his writing style in that for him it was not just about writing superhero stories, but about telling the story of these characters lives. That message was always conveyed in his decade spanning work and was something that allowed his readers to become heavily invested in. Claremont’s focus on creating relatable characters who lived lives and dealt with problems and emotions that readers could understand was only more prominently studied in this documentary. 

Chris Claremont’s X-Men provides an expansive look at Claremont as well as many of his team members of the years, including Marvel editor Ann Nocenti and editor and writer, Louise Simonson. The various interviews with Claremont, as well as other writers, artists and collaborators throughout this documentary were both insightful and refreshing. This piece was done in a very laid back, conversational manner and had a level of intimacy which made it feel like you were sitting in the room with Claremont and his team. Conversations were light and there was humor sprinkled throughout and you certainly could feel the amount of closeness that the team felt and that was something that made it very special. Though there are things that I wish could have been highlighted more in the story, such as the moment Claremont mentions having regrets about issues that led him to be removed from his position as the writer of X-Men Vol. 2, Patrick Meaney did an excellent job highlighting the positives in the work and career of a literary genius and he should definitely be proud of this one. 

Chris Claremont’s X-Men is absolutely a piece that comic book fans will want in their collection. Whether you have been a fan of Chris Claremont since his career began in the 70’s or you are more of a newcomer and have grown to appreciate the characters he was so instrumental in creating that have made it to the big screen, this documentary is one that offers insight in a manner you may not be able to find elsewhere. 

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-Rachel Rutherford