Documentary Review: Chris Claremont’s X-Men (2018)

Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Directed by: Patrick Meaney

Respect Films, J2 Films, 71 Minutes

Review:

I saw this drop on Amazon Video for rent a few weeks back and added it to my queue because I loved Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men. I mean, if you like X-Men at all, it is probably because of what Claremont created. Also, this was directed by the same guy that did The Image Revolution, which I really enjoyed.

The story behind how X-Men was initially a failure and how it evolved into a mega franchise under the Marvel banner is an interesting one. This shows how all the major players involved came to work on the series and it isn’t just about Claremont’s sole contribution to X-Men.

The X-Men comics of the ’80s had some of the best comic stories of all-time. Claremont and others at Marvel gave us some of the most iconic moments that would also go on to inspire the animated series as well as the big live action motion pictures throughout the ’00s and ’10s. Claremont also gave us some of the most iconic characters to be associated with the franchise.

His storied run is pretty much unparalleled in an industry where writers, artists and other creators are swapped around like pogs in a ’90s middle school lunchroom.

I love that this documentary interviews so many of the key people who were there. We even get to see Marc Silvestri and Rob Liefeld chime in on some of the events that they were there to witness firsthand.

For fans of comics, especially from this era, you won’t be disappointed with this documentary. After seeing this and The Image Revolution, I want to check out some of the other comic industry documentaries that Patrick Meaney has done.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: Another comic book documentary by Patrick Meaney, The Image Revolution. Also, flows well with Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics.

Documentary Review: The Image Revolution (2014)

Release Date: January 25th, 2014 (Amazing Arizona Comic Con)
Directed by: Patrick Meaney

Respect Films, Sequart, 81 Minutes

Review:

The cool thing about The Image Revolution is that it covers the coolest time in comic book publishing history and, as a fan, I lived through this when it was happening and it was honestly, the coolest thing that my young middle school brain got to experience. I used the word “cool” a lot in that run-on sentence but that’s what the early ’90s were all about: cool.

Image Comics was, by far, the coolest comic book company to ever exist. When seven of Marvel Comics’ top dogs left the company to breakout on their own and go independent, it was like the comic industry’s version of the punk rock revolution.

Here you have Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio: all heavy hitter creators at Marvel, bucking the system and forever changing the game. These guys were superstars within the industry and after their revolution, became rock stars in pop culture.

This documentary covers why these guys felt the need to kiss away their steady careers and stick it to the man. It also follows the formation of Image Comics, the struggles they faced and how even after things seemed to fall apart, these guys all sort of found each other again, despite their young rebellious attitudes, their fallouts and their intense competition with one another. It also shows how each artist formed their own studios, what that meant and how all of this built a solid foundation for new and emerging talents to ply their trade independently. And truthfully, without Image Comics and what these guys did, there probably wouldn’t be The Walking Dead or McFarlane Toys.

This is an exciting documentary for fans of the comic book industry, especially Generation Xers that were savvy to this story, back in the day. It’s really cool seeing these guys, all these years later, reflecting on the details of how this all went down. While comic industry reporting was great back in the early ’90s and my friends and I knew the story, some details were unknown until now.

Rating: 8.75/10

Film Review: Deadpool (2016)

Release Date: February 8th, 2016 (Le Grande Rex premiere)
Directed by: Tim Miller
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Based on: the character of Deadpool created by Fabian Nicieza, Rob Liefeld
Music by: Tom Holkenborg
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić

Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, The Donners’ Company, 20th Century Fox, 108 Minutes

Review:

*originally written in 2016.

Well, I can’t say that I haven’t waited for a Deadpool movie since 1991 when he first appeared at the end of The New Mutants run and was there to help kick off the original  X-Force comic. And I still haven’t seen the universally panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine film because I couldn’t bear to see the character butchered beyond recognition.

But the film has finally arrived. It took a lot for Ryan Reynolds to get this thing to screen, after he already played the character in that shitty film I just mentioned. Reynolds knew he had to make it up to the fans and this time, he nailed it. Not that it was his fault the previous outing.

Deadpool is fantastic. It isn’t a perfect movie but I can seriously get behind the more mature comic book films. This along with the Marvel stuff being put out by Netflix is refreshing when I am losing faith in the genre after duds like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Man of Steel.

This movie was a welcome change. It was balls-to-the-wall and never stopped. Well, it had a few slow moments while bouncing around too much from flashbacks but all-in-all, this shit’s friggin’ solid.

Ryan Reynolds was perfect as Wade Wilson/Deadpool but we already knew that before going into this, thanks to the test footage from a few years back. Plus, the marketing for the movie really solidified how in-touch Reynolds was with the character.

X-Men characters Colossus and Teenage Negasonic Warhead show up and it is nice seeing smaller characters also get the chance to shine. Other X-Men are not in the film but the movie makes fun of that within the movie itself.

Also, this film features the best Stan Lee cameo ever.

Deadpool, like in the comics, often times breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience as well as cracks a lot of inside jokes between himself and the people watching. I had worried about how that would play out but the execution was good. Everything felt natural.

The villains were throwaway minor characters and the threat didn’t seem all that threatening but this is a smaller film than Fox’s regular X-Men pictures and certainly smaller than Disney’s Avengers franchise.

Deadpool did a lot more with much less in comparison to its genre mates.

A fun ride from beginning to end with not much criticism from me, really.

Go see it. But don’t take your mum.

Rating: 7.75/10