Monday, April 29, 2013

Stan Lee's Top 15 Cameos

With the premiere of the third Iron Man just a few days away, there are several questions to be answered: who is the main villain? How will Iron Man survive what appears to be (based on the previews anyway) his greatest threat yet? Will there be an Iron Man 4?

Just as important, though, is this question: what will Stan Lee’s cameo be?

He’s made an appearance in almost every Marvel movie in the past decade. It’s become a tradition. Even his least memorable cameos have been very fun to watch.

To prepare you for Iron Man 3, here’s the top 15 Stan Lee cameos:

15. Stan Lee as an eyewitness to the Avengers saving New York City

Stan Lee’s last cameo, in The Avengers, was fun, but not particularly clever or overly memorable. He made a minor appearance towards the end of the movie as a witness to the scene in New York.

To be fair, The Avengers was such an action-packed movie that finding a cameo for Lee was probably a fairly difficult task.

14. Stan Lee as a heroic bystander in Spider-Man (2002)

In Spider-Man, Stan Lee makes an appearance during a airborne battle scene between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man. He quickly saves a little girl from some falling debris.

It’s one of the first cameos Stan Lee made, so I can forgive the movie’s writers for not coming up with something more creative.

13. Stan Lee as the vendor on the beach in X-Men (2000)

This wasn’t so much a Stan Lee cameo as it was him being an extra.

Lee was one of the several awe-struck people standing on the beach as Senator Kelly, a newly formed mutant, made his way out of the water (completely nude) and onto the beach. Again, one of the earlier cameos, so it’s not exactly full of creativity. It was what it was, though. It got Stan Lee’s name into the credits.

12. Stan Lee as the heroic bystander in Spider-Man 2 (2004)

In a similar scenario as his cameo in Spider-Man, Stan Lee prevents a young woman from getting pummeled by some falling rocks while Spider-Man was busy battling the Doctor Octopus one the side of a New York City skyscraper.

He stepped forward and pulled the woman to safety.  It wasn't a very memorable scene and, because it is so similar to the cameo in Spider-Man, it really blends together.  This is the one cameo that I completely forgot about.

11. Stan Lee as the contaminated soda drinker in The Incredible Hulk (2008)

In the plot of The Incredible Hulk, they discovered where Bruce Banner was hiding out because they traced him through a series of consumers who’d been affected by contaminated soft drinks.

Stan Lee was one of the several people shown in the montage who drank the Hulk-contaminated soda.

10. Stan Lee as “Larry King” in Iron Man 2 (2010)

After portraying Hugh Hefner in Iron Man (see number 3 on the list), who else could’ve been a better pick for Tony Stark to mistake Stan Lee for?  This cameo comes at the Stark Expo.

Lee borrow’s Larry King’s trademark suspenders and tie, making him a pretty decent imitation.

9. Stan Lee as Jean Grey’s neighbor in X3: The Last Stand (2006)

This one was pretty impressive. Usually Stan Lee’s cameos are more comedic. X3 was probably the most serious of all the X-Men movies. Cyclops, the Professor and Jean Grey all ended up dying in that movie.

Lee’s cameo did provide some comic relief, but it did so without taking away the seriousness of the scene. He was shown holding a hose of water, but the water was going upwards, not affected by gravity. One cameo that served several purposes all at once.

8. Stan Lee as the mailman in Fantastic Four (2005)

This one isn't all that exciting, but it's kind of fun at the same time. Lee is the mailman for the building that becomes the Fantastic Four headquarters. He makes a quick appearance to hand Reed Richards his mail and then Lee is on his way. The bit isn't funny or clever, but it's nice to see Stan Lee have a cameo in the movie.

7. Stan Lee as a security guard in The Hulk (2003)

This cameo is awesome because you get two for the price of one. Stan Lee makes an appearance as a security guard alongside Lou Ferrigno, the actor who played The Incredible Hulk in the TV series from the 1970s. So you have the creator of the character and the actor who played the character in the TV series both making a cameo in the movie. That's the very definition of "epic."

6. Stan Lee as the newspaper reader in Daredevil (2003)

Lee’s cameo in the underrated Daredevil was simple, comedic and effective. During a montage that displayed Daredevil’s special abilities, Stan Lee was shown as a New Yorker with his face in a newspaper. He’s about to step into the crosswalk, right in front of a bus, but Daredevil puts out his cane and stops Lee from becoming a traffic accident victim.

5. Stan Lee as a would-be wedding guest in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

While Tony Stark is busy mistaking Stan Lee for Hugh Hefner and Larry King in the Iron Man movies, the poor guy couldn’t even get into Susan Storm
and Reed Richard’s wedding in Fantastic Four. Lee’s cameo comes before their ceremony, as he is telling security that he is invited even though they can’t find him on the list. This cameo didn’t further any plots, but it was good for a laugh.

4. Stan Lee as a colonel in Captain America (2011)

This one had me cracking up. Stan Lee is sitting in a crowd of generals, press and others at some kind of ceremony. They were waiting to see Captain America make his appearance.

A man introduces Captain America, but he doesn't show up (because he's busy fighting the Red Skull). So, there are these two members of the military left on stage. The camera cuts to Stan Lee in the audience, dressed up as a Colonel. He says, "I thought he was taller," referring to one of the men still on the stage.

I'm pretty sure my explanation didn't do it justice, so watch it here and enjoy a laugh.

3. Stan Lee as Hugh Hefner in Iron Man (2008)

Although he’s not technically acknowledged as being Hugh Hefner, Tony Stark greets Stan Lee at a gala as, “Hef,” before greeting other guests.

Lee is shown dressed in a smoking jacket. He’s surrounded by what looks to be several attractive ladies as well. After Strark mistakes his identity, Lee responds, “That’s okay, I get this all the time.”

2. Stan Lee as the librarian in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

One of the best of several awesome scenes in The Amazing Spider-Man was the cameo featuring Stan Lee. He plays the school librarian who is busy organizing books while listening to some classical music in his headphones. He’s doing this while Spider-Man and The Lizard are battling each other behind him, throughout the library. It made for a comedic scene that got a literal laugh out loud from the theatre audience I saw the movie with.

1. Stan Lee as the truck driver in Thor (2011)

This was my all-time favorite Stan Lee cameo. After Thor’s father, Odin, takes away Thor’s powers, he sends his mighty hammer to Earth. The hammer, which only the purest of hearts can pick up, is stuck in the middle of an Arizona desert.

One somewhat redneck looking local finds it and tries to lift it. This progresses into a scene where several locals are having a drinking party. Music is playing. People are drinking beer. All the while, dozens of guys are trying to lift the hammer out of the ground. One man hooks a chain up to his truck and the other to the hammer. The man in the truck floors the gas pedal.

The truck ends up giving way, while the hammer doesn’t budge. The man in the truck is revealed to be Stan Lee, who simply says, “Did I get it?”

Given that some of Lee’s most recent cameos are at the top of my list and that the Iron Man cameos, in particular, have been entertaining, I’m hoping there’s something creative in store for the Iron Man 3 cameo.

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