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Superhero Films - Best Stan Lee Movies

Updated on June 30, 2014
Stan Lee Photo
Stan Lee Photo | Source

Many comic books have been made into movies. For Marvel Comics films, a large number of those comics were created by the prolific writer Stan Lee.

The films themselves have spanned the field from very successful to, well, not-so-successful. In this article, we'll look at five of the best films that have been adapted from Lee's comics.

These films are all excellent and so different that it was impossible to rate one better than the other. I have therefore totally copped out and listed them in chronological order.

! Spoiler Warning ! Descriptions may include plot spoilers.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina

Synopsis: A young man with spider-like powers must stop a scientist who is intent on doing bad things.

What Makes it Great: Doc Ock (Molina) is well portrayed as a sympathetic and likable character. There is a warm scene at Ock's home with Ock, Peter(Maguire), and Ock's wife. Ock is shown to be a sensitive and intelligent man; someone the audience can get behind.

Then, as is often the case, Ock's experiment goes wrong. A nuclear reaction gets out of control and a whole building is about to be destroyed when Spider-Man comes in and literally pulls the plug; but not before the damage has been done to Ock's device. As the story continues and the device furthers its control over Ock, we are forced to accept that this character that we've come to care about will cause great damage and must be stopped at all costs.

Iron Man (2008)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Synopsis: A genius bad-boy is kidnapped. To escape, he creates a totally new weapon. He goes on to use that weapon, a metallic suit, to defend people from those with evil intent.

What Makes it Great: Tony Stark (Downey) rescues himself. Admittedly, this is where one would expect the movie to shine. It is done so well though, that it goes beyond the traditional super-hero costume reveal.

This first Iron Man suit looks industrial and more than a little scary as Stark uses it to fight back against the terrorists. Stark is able to walk through the cave he's been held in knocking bad guys down as he goes. Against the main baddie, he uses a flame thrower he's built into the left arm of the suit.

Free from the cave, Stark is hit from all sides by machine gun fire and finally uses some type of jet-pack style technology to rocket himself into the air. Cue the uplifting hero music. The audience feels lifted, exhilarated, full of spirit, then suddenly Stark crashes into the desert floor as pieces of the suit scatter all about.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Please note: this is NOT Ang Lee's Hulk

Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt, Tim Roth

Synopsis: A scientist who was overdosed with radiation, resulting in advanced strength, is trying to live off the grid. A General who wants to harness his powers for the military will stop at nothing to capture him.

What Makes it Great: The General (Hurt), his daughter (Tyler), and Bruce Banner (Norton) are flying in a helicopter. They fly over Emil Blonsky (Roth) who has turned himself into a mutated version of a hulk and is destroying the town. Banner, who doesn't like turning into the Hulk and isn't even sure if he still can, jumps out the the flying helicopter in hopes he can again turn into the Hulk and stop the abomination.

Also, the fight scene that ensues is really creative and fun to watch. At one point, the Hulk rips a police car in two and uses the pieces like boxing gloves.

Stan Lee Film Cameos

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence

Synopsis: Humans are being born with unusual genetic traits. These people, referred to as Mutants, are being brought together to fight a secret society trying to take over the world.

What Makes it Great: In the first X-Men movie we are shown Eric (Fassbender) as a child being brought to a concentration camp with his family. In that scene he nearly pulls a pair of locked metal gates off their hinges using his mutation for manipulating metal.

In X-Men: First Class there is an additional scene with Eric and his Mother. They have both been brought to the office of Shaw (Bacon) who appears to be the warped medical officer for the camp. Shaw has recognized Eric as a mutant and demands he demonstrate his power by moving a coin across a desk. It becomes clear that Eric is not able to use his power at-will so Shaw threatens the life of his Mother. Eric strains concentrating on the coin but is unable to illicit even a twitch. Eric's mother is then shot in the head and falls down dead.

At that point, Eric flies into a rage crushing everything metal in the office with his power. Nearby soldiers are inadvertently killed when their metal helmets crush their skulls, but Shaw, who is thrilled at the display, is completely unharmed.

The Avengers (2012)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston

Synopsis: The greatest source of power in the universe has been stolen. To get it back from a man intent on doing evil, several super-heroes reluctantly come together.

What Makes it Great: Even characters like Black Widow get to have their moments to shine. The Big Four Avengers characters, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America are all well known by this point, having had their own origin movies. The other two members of the Avengers team, Black Widow and Hawkeye have only been small characters in someone else's story. Yet, here in the Avengers film they are given screen time to showcase their talents.

For example, when we first see Black Widow in The Avengers, she is tied to a chair and seems to be in danger of dying from some bad looking dudes. The next thing we know, she has turned the tables and has neutralized the threat posed by all three men, even though she is still tied to a chair.

Stan Lee Interview - Catalina Film Festival

All Marvel Comics Films

In the realm of non-Stan Lee Marvel Films, the must sees are:

Kick-Ass (2010)

Comic Book Creator: Mark Millar
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage

Men in Black (1997)

Comic Book Creator: Lowell Cunningham
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn

Full List of Marvel films

Marvel Movie Review Podcasts:

by: Jeanette Cline
June, 2012

This author has no affiliation to Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, or nowplayingpodcast. She's just a big fan.


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