Certain actions (some of them completely absurd and unfounded in anything resembling real human behavior) have become so overused in movies and television that they’ve actually transcended being cliches to become parodies of cliches, which is just all sorts of weird. Even if a cease and desist can’t be issued against these incidents, the least we can do is complain about them. Here is an example of the kind of foolishness we never want to see on the big and/or small screen ever again.
No more Stan Lee cameos in Marvel movies. In fact, no Stan Lee cameos in anything.
Why? Because, like comic book movie genre itself, it’s gotten out of hand. It was cute when Stan showed up in the first X-Men movie ten (!!) years ago, before all this comic book movie stuff starting spinning out of control. It was even kind of sweet to see him in the film adaptation of possibly his all-time greatest character, Spider-Man (2002). And it was pretty damn great to see him and Lou Ferrigno as two Mutt-and-Jeff security guards in Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003). These Marvel heroes were actually getting movies made about them, and look, there’s their papa!
But by the time Lee appeared as lovable mailman Willie Lumpkin (yeesh) in Fantastic Four (2005), the charm was wearing thin. The obligatory Stan Lee cameo became a “thing,” a distraction. Find Stan. Where’s Stan? It takes you out of the movie every damn time he shows up, the old man who’s somehow able to change his persona to fit into any Marvel movie. God help us when the ultimate ensemble gathering The Avengers finally makes its way to theaters – if all the Marvel characters are indeed connected in one sprawling continuity universe, that means Lee will probably play, like, 20 different people in that one.
And Stan’s getting… well, he’s old. He’s going to be 90 in a couple of years. Everything he says in public now comes from his publicist. It’s kind of embarrassing. And he’s surrounded by so many Yes Men that no one has the balls to tell him it’s time to retire.
But it is. We love you, Stan. You’re a goddamn legend, and something of a genius. But it’s time to take it easy and live off your riches. You’ve earned it. You don’t need to play some ancient ex-Nazi general or whatever the hell in Captain America. Really, you don’t.