Review: 'Chris Claremont's X-Men' Spotlights The Man Behind Marvel's Mutants

Right now we are in the zenith of the Superhero movie era, with Marvel in the lead at the top of the mountain. With much of the Marvel Superheroes, a lot of the credit is given to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and deservingly so as those two along with Steve Ditko and a few others built the Marvel Universe. Now over time some of the characters have had other creators who were actually more impactful and you can say important to the core and popularity of character or team than Lee & Kirby. One of those creators is Chris Claremont and he is the writer that made the X-Men what we think of today, his storylines and style of characterization took the X-Men from a lower place to the top of the charts in comics. The film Chris Claremont’s X-men takes the time to show the beginnings of the writer to the point of his exit from the franchise in the early 90s.

The film is a pretty standard type of TV-style documentary with interview segments and photomontages. For a long time fan, especially a diehard X-men one there’s not much new here other than it being nice to see these interviews with these great creators. For those that haven’t been multiple decade-long readers or just not deep X-Men fans, there is a lot here. The film gives a great historical timeline of the comic franchise of its first 30 years of existence. Since this is about Claremont it doesn’t go too far in depth about some of the previous runs of the book before his tenure on the title. A surprising and welcome focus was also shown on two of Claremont’s editors and later fellow writers and collaborators, Lousie Simonson and Ann Nocenti. Two women who have had a great impact on the X-Men franchise (and Marvel in general) and bring great insight to the film on the process of working with Claremont and how he builds a story or how he decides to change a character. They also don’t flinch on bringing up what they feel are his flaws as well.

The film also has some great parts with Jim Shooter, the editor-in-chief at the time of Claremont’s run on the title. And also great bits with the late, great Len Wein, creator of Wolverine and previous writer on the title (Also, a great on the franchise who saved it and important to comics period). The film does a good job of also explaining who these other people are and their place in the history of Marvel and what they brought to the X-Men. There are two things that really didn’t work in this film though; one is the random cosplayers as the characters dispersed throughout the film. It leaves you with questions like why am I seeing this and wouldn’t it have been better to just put more art on the screen? The second one is that it really glosses over the reasons why Claremont left the X-Men,  almost like he really didn’t want to go into it. At the time Claremont had a disagreement with the editorial direction with Marvel on the book as Jim Lee, the title's superstar artist, wanted more input on the stories he was drawing. While it’s good to see a filmed version of Claremont’s side there is none on Lee’s side or Marvel editorial at the time. If you want to see more about Lee and his issues with Marvel there is plenty of stuff about that you can find. That being said this was a really entertaining documentary about an unsung creator in the history of comics to the mainstream that more people should know about.

Rating: 3 out of 5