A movie cameo by Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee is a wonderful thing. Every time he shows up people whisper to their friends, "That's Stan Lee!" The usual response is, "Who's Stan Lee?"

Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.

He co-created some of the most popular comic book characters like Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and many others. He was also pivotal in creating a shared universe into superhero comic books.

He was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.

Stan Lee has it in his contract. In any movie based on a comic character he's credited with he makes a cameo. This is a pretty smart move. His trademark aviator glasses and mustache have popped up in over a dozen films. Some have been good, and others not so good.

From hot dog vendors to four-star generals he's looked great and stupid. Read on to see the best, and worst cameos by Stan "The Man" Lee.

You can watch a video of all of the cameos in chronological order here.

The Best (Excelsior!)
1. Spider-Man (2002) 

Speaking Role: No

Why: When Spider-Man and Green Goblin fight, Stan Lee gets to play the hero by saving a little girl from being crushed by falling bricks.

2. Spider-Man 2 (2004) 

Speaking Role: No
Why: When Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus fight, Stan Lee gets to play the hero by saving a woman from being hit by falling debris. Saving little children? This movie almost makes him a superhero!

3. Fantastic Four (2005) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: When the Human Torch and the Thing are leaving they run into the postman Willie Lumpkin. Not a prestigious role, but he actually gets to play a comic book character he created. It's not known if he shares the comic super-power of wiggling his ears.

4. Spider-Man 3 (2007) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: Stan Lee meets Peter Parker and says "One man can make a difference." He ends with his classic catchphrase "Nuff said."

5. Iron Man (2008) 

Speaking Role: No
Why: When Tony Stark is on his way to a gala he taps Stan on the shoulder and says, "Look great Hef." He's got the trademark robe, pipe and two blonds, but we don't know for sure if he was Hugh Hefner. Looking smooth though.

6. The Incredible Hulk (2008) 

Speaking Role: Yes
Why: Stan Lee gets gamma radiation poisoning from drink a soda contaminated by Bruce Banner's blood. His reaction to the kick? "Wow." I hear Coke is working on a new energy drink, now with 20% more fresh-squeezed Banner juice!

7. Iron Man 2 (2010)

Speaking Role: No
Why: Tony Stark meets Stan Lee who is identified as Larry King, with the trademark hunch and suspenders. If it is him, Stan Lee has a talk show! I'd actually watch that.

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: Stan Lee plays a general that mistakes an average guy for Captain America. A speaking role and he's a four-star general? His most prestigious role of them all. On to the bad cameos.

The Worst  - 'Nuff Said
1. X-Men (2000) 
Speaking Role: No
Why: Selling hot dogs on the beach isn't exactly a pivotal role. Stan Lee looks surprised again and the camera passes over him like he's not even there. All the other cameos at least stop the camera on the dude.

2. Daredevil (2003) 

Speaking Role: No
Why: When Stan Lee stupidly walks into traffic reading a newspaper, a young Matt Murdock (Daredevil) stops him with a cane. A blind kid saves his life. Kinda sad really.

3. The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) 

Speaking Role: No
Why: Bruce Banner has a dream where he Hulk's out in the courtroom. It's nice to see that Stan Lee's the jury foreman, but the most he does is scream like a girl while the Hulk topples the Jury box.

4. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) 

Speaking Role: No
Why: Stan Lee gets his watering hose tweaked when a young Jean Grey is demonstrating her telekinetic powers. He doesn't really do much of anything, but look surprised.

 5. Hulk (2003) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: In a cameo two-fer Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the TV series, play security guards leaving the building. His first speaking role. Too bad he's playing a rent-a-cop griping about security.

6. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: Stan Lee goes to the wedding of Susan Storm and Reed Richards. He identifies himself as Stan Lee and the guard turns him away. How embarrassing, but at least he got to say something.

7. Thor (2011) 
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: When the local yokels are trying to pull Thor's unmovable hammer, Mjolnir, free, he drives the truck. His only line is, "Did it work?" You know. In case he didn't see or hear the bed get ripped completely from the chassis. So, he plays a moron in this one.

8. The Avengers (2012)
Speaking Role: Yes
Why: Before the movie opened he said, "'The Avengers' cameo that you will see, when that movie opens up, is possibly one of my best. And you know how good mine have been, but [‘The Avengers] cameo] is so funny. I can't tell you what it is because they'd kill me, but it's funny." Stan Lee appears on a television set saying "Superheroes in New York? Gimme a break." Did he not see the massive alien ships tearing the city apart around him? Was he looking the other way when a green giant leaps through the sky? He looks like an idiot.
He has a cameo in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), so we'll see which list it ends up in.

What do you think of Stan Lee's cameos? Did you have a favorite? Should he just stop doing them?
[Image Source: Listal]

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dig the Stan Lee cameos! Smart man to put that in his contract.

Craig Edwards said...

I love Stan Lee! Excelsior! 'nuff said.

Maurice Mitchell said...

It is smart Alex! It also explains why he's in some (like Daredevil), but not others (like Elektra).
Subject: [geektwins] Re: Stan Lee's Best And Worst Marvel Movie Cameos [Superheros] ~ The Geek Twins

Pat Dilloway said...

I prefer the nonspeaking ones. When Hitchcock did this I don't think he really spoke much or did a lot. Like I think "To Catch a Thief" he's just sitting on a bus when Cary Grant gets on. Though I haven't watched all of Hitch's films to be sure on that. There's probably a video of that somewhere, right? Anyway, since Lee and Hitchcock aren't actors it's better to stay in the background.

The worst though is Jon Favreau in "Iron Man 2." It was cute in the first one that he cast himself as Stark's driver/bodyguard but then in the second one he gives himself a lot more screen time, which struck me as kind of arrogant and self-serving. I bet in the third one he's going to get a turn wearing the Iron Man suit.

Jessica Stank said...

I always try to spot him in the movies, sort of like Stephen King. It's like a game :)

Michael Abayomi said...

Wow. I hardly remember any of these, which means I now need to go rewatch these movies. Thanks for pointing them out.

Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

It's so shameless, but that's what he's been doing for decades. It's just so strange that someone who was supposed to be the genius creator of the entire Marvel Age so quickly turned into a parody of himself, and doesn't seem to mind.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Jessica, it is fun. I keep wondering if we missed him in some movies like Wolverine or X-Men 2.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Pat, Hitchcock was the master of the subtle cameo. M. Night Shyamalan had the same conceit and moved from simple background shots to playing pivotal roles in the movie. It is kind of annoying .

Maurice Mitchell said...

Yeah, Tony is kind of a joke. Some argue that he didn't create much of anything in the comics.

Tom Badguy said...

His cameo in the Incredible Hulk was my favorite; drinking the radioactive drink, lol

Maurice Mitchell said...

Tom, that was a good one. I always wondered if there was a deleted scene with him hulking out.

Stephan Johnson said...

He's not really a joke, he just likes to have fun. I would do the same. Besides, it's known that he gets nothing from movies these days. Avengers made how hundreds of millions in the box office, he got not 1 cent from it. Same goes for the rest these days. He's not even connected to Marvel anymore. He's just an icon and seen as their mascot so to speak. Nothing wrong with that, seeing as he is the most well known co-creator of so many great characters.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Stephan, that's so true. I hope I have that much fun when I'm his age.

Melissa Bradley said...

LOL I look forward to playing Where is Stan Lee every time a new Marvel film comes out.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Melissa, no matter where he is it's always a surprise.

James Sullivan said...

I'm loving all these Marvel movies....He must be able to select what movies he makes a cameo in. Didn't see him in the Marvel movie Man-Thing made with Lions Gate....What a turd of a movie.

Love you Stan. And YES, he should continue to make cameos!

Maurice Mitchell said...

James, you might be right. Maybe he gets to read the script. Man-Thing was awful. It could have been good as a horror movie, but...it wasn't.

Aristo Kratte said...

Did you accidentally switch the best with the worst? The Thor and the Avengers were great (did you miss the irony and the pure fun of the scene in which the guy that made up so many heroes says he doesn't believe in them?) Actually I really liked the FF:RSS one. And the second two Spidey ones are bad. In 2 it is done poorly, and in 3 it is just cheesy. My favorite one though is Amazing Spiderman.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Aristo, all Stan Lee's cameos are fun, but it just didn't make sense. Both cases show him clearly missing something obvious like trucks being broken or men flying in the sky. Amazing Spider-Man was definitely one of the best though. Again, thanks for commenting!

Subject: [geektwins] Re: Stan Lee's Best And Worst Marvel Movie Cameos [Superheros] ~ The Geek Twins

Maximus Moody said...

the wedding scene was included as it is in the original comic wedding

Maurice Mitchell said...

Aristo, all Stan Lee's cameos are fun, but it just didn't make sense. Both cases show him clearly missing something obvious like trucks being broken or men flying in the sky. Amazing Spider-Man was definitely one of the best though. Again, thanks for commenting!

Subject: [geektwins] Re: Stan Lee's Best And Worst Marvel Movie Cameos [Superheros] ~ The Geek Twins

Charter said...

The Avengers cameo was utterly stupid. Total waste of a cameo.
There was a fucking PORTAL with aliens and flying teethy spacewhales coming out it dude. STFU.


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