Stan “The Man” Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, turns 92 today. And it’s no exaggeration to say that Marvel Studios wouldn’t be where it is today without him and artist Jack “King” Kirby.
Together, the real dynamic duo created the Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and many, many more. Alongside other creators, Lee also co-created Daredevil and the character he’s best known for: Spider-Man
Regardless of what you may think of Stan and his role at Marvel, all geeks owe him a debt of thanks. So to celebrate, we’ve compiled this list of the top 5 Stan Lee movie cameos:
The classic Stan Lee movie cameo is a nudge-nudge-wink-wink, blink-and-you’ll-miss-him affair. And it felt especially apt for a young, newly empowered and blind Matt Murdock to stop a distracted Stan from crossing the road.
The startled look on Stan’s face says it all. And he didn’t even have to utter a single word – truly one of the better moments in a largely forgettable movie.
The Hulk (2003)
Another poor movie enlivened by Stan’s presence, this one was so meta, it almost resulted in the creation of a parallel universe.
It involved Stan, dressed as a security guard, walking out of a facility while deep in conversation with a colleague about security matters.
Said colleague is none other than…Lou Ferrigno, famed for his portrayal of the Hulk in the 1970’s TV series.
Iron Man (2008)
Now, this was a movie worthy of a Stan Lee cameo. In what has to be one of THE classic Marvel movie moments, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) turns up for a party dressed to the nines, and greets an old dude surrounded by beautiful young women: “You look great, Hef.”
The old man, startled, turns around – but it’s not Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, it’s Stan Lee!
The Avengers (2011)
Not quite as memorable as his Iron Man cameo, but it wins out for two reasons: firstly, many of the characters Lee co-created were (and still are) based in New York City.
Secondly, his appearance comes at a point in the movie where NYC has just been destroyed by a battle between the Avengers and a horde of invading aliens – echoing a plot point that has occurred so many times in the comics.
It therefore feels especially apt for Stan, as an old man playing chess in the park, to say with a sneer: “Superheroes in New York? Gimme a break!”
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
This is by far my favourite Stan Lee cameo. A lot of it has to do with the fact that it features Spider-Man, still my favourite superhero after all these years.
But it’s also got to do with the very comic book feel of the entire scene – as Spidey (Andrew Garfield) and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) trash the library, an oblivious Stan, plugged into his classical music and with his back turned to them, goes about his duties.
Then he walks off, never suspecting quite how close to death he was.
Want more Stan Lee cameos? You can also check out this (almost) full compilation of Stan Lee’s Marvel movie cameos:
What’s your favourite Stan Lee movie cameo? Leave a comment below and tell us!