Marvel’s superhero movies have certainly made their mark on the cinematic landscape. One of the real treats for comic book fans has been the inclusion of cameos by the man himself Stan Lee in almost every Marvel movie that has been made. So in honor of the man who created so many of these characters that many of us grew up reading and now enjoy watching, I thought this week I would focus on his best cameos. Now considering the number of cameos he has done I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these five Stan Lee cameos and most certainly phenomenal.
#5 – “Hulk”
There aren’t many good things I can say about Ang Lee’s long, boring, and at times infuriating 2003 film “Hulk”. It was a monumental disappointment and, aside from some pretty good performances and a great Stan Lee cameo, I consider it one of the worst Marvel movies. But Stan’s cameo is a blast not so much for anything that happens. Lee is walking out of a building with none other than Lou Ferrigno. Both are security guards which provides a hilarious contrast. The small elderly guy and the hulking giant (pun absolutely intended). Watching these two, men who are ingrained in Hulk’s history, discuss security concerns is such a hoot.
#4 – “Iron Man”
When Tony Stark arrives at a big public gala you can expect a number of things: nice cars, beautiful women, camera flashes, and the quick, dry wit that only Downey, Jr. could bring to the character. Stark briskly strolls through this sea of attention, taking time to insult one woman and intentionally mistaking one man for Hugh Hefner. We see the man from behind. He has slicked back gray hair, a fancy smoking jacket, and he’s bookended by two gorgeous woman. Obviously it’s Hefner, right? Nope! The man turns around and it’s none other than our guy, Stan Lee. It’s a hilarious scene as Lee confusedly looks around to see who just walked by.
#3 – “The Amazing Spider-Man”
I wasn’t too keen on there being a Spider-Man reboot so soon but that’s what we got in 2012. “The Amazing Spider-Man” was an okay movie (head and shoulders above this year’s lame sequel) but certainly not at the top of the superhero movie list. But one great thing it did have was one of the best Stan Lee cameos of them all. Spidey and the Lizard are engaged in a pretty brutal scrap which boils over into a library. The librarian is none other than Stan the Man. He is checking in some books while listening to music through noise-cancelling headphones that Stark Industries must have created. Behind him a huge fight is going on with tables and books flying everywhere. But he doesn’t see it. He just carries on with his duties.
#2 – “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”
The Fantastic Four films were Marvel movies that had some really strong moments but are ultimately forgettable especially when compared to the better superhero movies out there. But the second film, Rise of the Silver Surfer, featured a Stan Lee cameo that I just can’t get enough of. The film starts with New York’s wedding of the century. Reed Richards and Sue Storm are about to be married and all of the guests are arriving. Well up walks Stan Lee, only the man who CREATED the Fantastic Four. He’s greeted by a strict doorman who stops him. Stan says “I must be on that list” and then gives him his name. The doorman will have none of it and pushes him back all while Stan keeps pleading his case. Great scene.
#1 – “Thor”
“Thor” was one of the Marvel movies that I thought had a real chance to flop. It was such fantastical material and it could have been a disaster when brought to the big screen. But Marvel knew what they were doing and they knew the tone the film needed. That’s why I thought it really worked. It also featured what is my favorite Stan Lee cameo. Thor’s hammer, the deceptively pronounced Mjolnir, has crashed to Earth. It has been found in New Mexico by a redneckish crowd who have brought out the pickup trucks, beer, and lawn chairs. As hard as they try, none of them are able to lift Mjolnir so they tie a chain to the back of a truck and floor it. The back end flies off of the truck and the driver looks out the window. Of all people it’s Stan Lee who simply asks “Did it work?” No Stan it didn’t, but you did give us what I think is your very best cameo!
So those are my choices. Do you see a Stan Lee movie cameo that I missed? Please share you thoughts on these or others in the comments section below.