Every Stan Lee Marvel cameo, ranked from worst to best

19. X-Men
Bryan Singer: So, Stan, what you need to do in this next scene is stare at this naked guy. He just slithered out of the ocean and he’s distracting you from eating your hot dog. And you’re thinking “Isn’t that the missing senator?”
Stan Lee: Sure thing, true believer!

18. Amazing Spider-Man 2
Stan just can’t catch a break when it come to Spider-Man. The second not-so-amazing film gets Lee out of the way in the first 15 minutes, having him attend Peter and Gwen’s high school graduation. His quick “I think I know that guy,” is cute and all, but just who is he referring to? Did he see Spider-Man change into Peter Parker? Does he see Parker running up wearing his mask? The way the moment is edited, it’s just about impossible to understand where they are in relation to each other, not surprising when poor editing is a major flaw of this sequel.

17. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
The Fantastic Four films may be balls, but Stan’s appearances were hardly the worst part. Stan does a fine job with this cute little in-joke, yet the continuity nerd in me can’t let it go. He’s playing a different character than he did in the first FF film, and this is the only time in Marvel films he actually plays himself. So, is this Stan Lee like the Silver Age version who wrote the FF comics within the Marvel universe? Or is he just some guy name Stan Lee who tried to crash a wedding officiated by Brian Posehn? I want answers!

16. Captain America: The First Avenger
This one is one of Stan’s funniest appearances, but also his most improbable. If the MCU has a 90 year old General in 1944, when did he enlist? The Civil War (and I don’t mean Cap versus Iron Man). Still, this one does begin to follow the correct balance for a Stan cameo. Make it brief, and give him the punchline to a joke.

15. Iron Man 3
Another good joke appearance by Stan, and I like that it gets a little dirty with Lee playing this old guy who judges a small town beauty pageant. However, it gets demerits for not continuing the running joke from the previous two Iron Man films, and for being far too short.

14. The Incredible Hulk
Another relatively silent Staneo (I think I’ll call them that from now on), though I give this extra credit because it has some big plot significance attached to it. Stan drinks an imported soda that’s been poisoned with Bruce Banner’s blood, a secret message to only buy American soft drinks. I also think the gamma side effects imply that either Lee’s character got some enhanced strength, or he died soon after of radiation poisoning. Either way, this random character has more going on than most of Lee’s elderly gentlemen.

11 thoughts on “Every Stan Lee Marvel cameo, ranked from worst to best

  1. great read – I hope he makes it to infinity war 2 since we all know its gonna have the X-Men and FF as well as spidey and the avengers. would be the perfect send off for the old fella.

  2. Really good list! I completely agree with your choices too. I can only hope Stan’s future cameos will rank high too.

  3. Stan has another newspaper reveal cameo in Agent Carter, but I don’t think any appearances in MCU DareDevil.

    Also I hate his appearance in Amazing Spider-man. When I’m just mindless rambling off things I don’t like about that movie that is definitely one of them. Its so jarring and plays off one of the worst movie cliche’s: “incredible thing is happening around me but my senses are too impaired to notice. lol” And yet #1. Oh well.

    1. In the final episode of DD he shows up in a picture in the police station.
      AoS he shows up on a train.
      Heroes he shows up as a bus driver.

  4. My personal favorite was The Incredible Hulk cameo. Mostly because he stayed silent. I’m not a fan when they zoom over to him while he says some quip in almost the rest of his movies.

  5. Guardians of the Galaxy cameo I thought was the best, because I agree with Zap, it takes me out of the movie when they zoom in and make sure to give him screen time and line. I prefer to have him just passing through in some way… kind of like a Where’s Waldo joke.

    1. I’m not sure who said it but Marvel missed out on a golden opportunity to have Lee in The Collector’s vault. That would have been my favorite by far.

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