Stan “The Man” Lee is one of the all time greats of comic history. He created some of the most iconic characters including Spider-Man, the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and The Hulk. With his influence in the comic realm it is no wonder why he has become a celebrity. His love for the material and the fans shines bright so when it came time to do big screen adaptations of some of his characters it is no surprise that filmmakers would want to include him in those films in cameo appearances. It has escalated to the point where you can find Stan in nearly every Marvel film being released. It feels like a game trying to find out how Stan will be used in every film, but you can always count that it will be very entertaining. There are so many great cameos that he has done, so I’ve decided to highlight 10 great ones in no particular order.
Iron Man (2008)
Towards the early half of the film Stan makes his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at an event that Tony Stark is attending. Tony walks up behind a man in a robe and taps him on the back and says “You look great, Heff” as he walks by. The man turns around and it happens to be Stan, whom Stark has mistaken for Hugh Hefner It’s a hilarious moment that is a great way to start off Stan’s adventures into the MCU.
Most recently Stan can be seen in Deadpool. In a scene that takes place about halfway through the film we see Wade enter into a strip club. Among the crowd of strip club patrons and strippers we get a glimpse of Stan as the MC. It is a very funny and very R-Rated moment that fits into Deadpool very well.
Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Say what you will about this film, but Stan’s cameo is one of the best utilized cameo appearances. There is a scene where Spidey and Lizard are fighting in Peter’s High School. The camera pans in with them as they crash into the Library. We then see Stan sorting books with headphones on listening to music completely oblivious to what is going on behind him. This scene is not only funny, but really clever.
Captain America The Winter Soldier (2014)
Heading back into the MCU we have the cameo appearance in this impressive film. There is a moment where Cap realizes he needs his suit back so there is a great shot of the museum as Stan walks up as a security guard. He looks up and says “Oh Man. I am so fired”. The camera then reveals that Cap’s original suit is missing from the display. It is a simple, but funny scene that impacts the story and works well.
Regardless of the quality of the film there can still be wonderful Stan cameos. In a double cameo of sorts there is a shot of two security guards are having a conversation about improving security. These two guards are none other than Stan and Lou Ferrigno. Seeing the two of them in this scene was a joy for fans of the comics and of the 1970’s Hulk television show.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
In one of the most direct story scenes Stan’s cameo comes in a more serious aspect. It is mentioned that a man who drank a soda got a possible dose of Gamma radiation poisoning. This is all explained as we see Stan open up a glass bottle and take a sip before seeing the glass bottle fall and shatter. It’s a great moment in that it’s unique in being less humorous and a bit more serious. It’s a departure from the normal Stan Cameo.
Fantastic Four (2005)
In this movie Stan portrays Willie Lumpkin, the mailman for Reed Richards. It’s simple scene that has him interact with Reed on his way out and it deserves a spot on this list is because of the fact that it is unique that Stan is playing a named comic character. A character that is classically Fantastic Four.
Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
In the second Fantastic Four film we have a scene that is funny in that it is very self-referential. Sue Storm and Reed Richards are having their wedding and Stan walks up to get into the reception. The bouncer asks for his invitation and Stan says that he should be on the list and his name is Stan Lee. The bouncer tells him “Nice try” and begins to escort him out as Stan tries to convince him. In a not so great film, this cameo was fairly well done in its approach.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
In the first 2 films of the Spider-Man series Stan is seen rescuing pedestrians, but the third film did something clever in that Stan in essence rescues Spider-Man. Peter Parker is in the middle of Times Square and sees a board that says that Spider-Man is receiving a key to the city. Stan walks up next to him and says, “You know I guess one person can make a difference. Nuff Said.” and walks away. This little moment not only incorporates Stan’s catchphrase of “Nuff Said”, but also inspires Peter. In a film generally considered the worst of the Raimi trilogy it still maintains a great cameo from Stan.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
In a different choice for this list I think it’s great to include his only big screen animated cameo. In the film we learn that Fred’s (T.J. Miller) dad is actually Stan Lee. If you happened to stay after the credits you would be rewarded with this scene.
In summation of all of this no matter if the film is good or not it will always be a treat to see Stan Lee make appearances. I’d be hard pressed to find a bad Stan cameo because seeing him there makes that moment very special and fun.