This past November, Marvel fans marked the first anniversary of Stan Lee’s passing in 2018 at the age of 95. All of the tributes that poured in were another chance to remind everyone how much of a pop culture phenomenon he was in creating comic book characters everyone could relate to. At the same time, it gave an opportunity for media analysts to look at all his famous cameos over a decade’s time in the MCU movies.
His cameos in those films are still celebrated and thoroughly analyzed on what they all meant. While most of them were just meant for fun and to give Lee’s own imprint on each film, there were a few that didn’t sit well with fans.
The most fun cameos were the ones that had fans believing he was Steve Rogers
Recently, Screen Rant did a compilation of the best and worst Stan Lee cameos, where they found at least five bad ones with certain degrees of what fans consider to be pointlessness. There does seem to be a consensus, though: Stan Lee’s cameo in the first Ant-Man movie is by far his funniest and best appearance.
In hindsight, it’s a bit perplexing to think Lee ever did a cameo considered to be too cheesy for most people’s tastes. Arguments can certainly be made that all of his cameos were relevant one way or another.
Of course, with the recent prevailing theory of Lee’s cameos possibly representing an old Steve Rogers observing all events of the MCU after time-traveling, many will likely go back and reanalyze his appearances. Even the bad ones might take on a new resiliency by keeping such a theory (likely unintended) in mind.
Despite the bad Lee cameos being subjective, it’s worth examining what the editors at Screen Rant considered to be the worst. The all-time worst is one maybe most Marvel fans will agree on.
What are some of the least favorite cameos?
According to some, the most depressing cameo of Stan Lee came when he appeared in Thor: The Dark World. Not all Marvel fans loved this movie anyway, yet Lee seemed to want to go a little darker in his appearance from the usual.
No doubt it’s because it touches on the dark side of Thor, who ultimately ends up in an asylum due to his mental anguish. Inside the asylum, audiences see Stan Lee sitting at a table playing cards with fellow patients. Dr. Erik Selvig is there trying to explain a complicated cosmic theory using two shoes, prompting him to ask everyone if they have any questions. Lee pipes up to remark: “Yeah. Can I have my shoe back?“
A few fans found this one too dark, outside of being argument that the film had to do something different from the typical lightweight cameo.
Other least favorites include when Lee played a security guard in Captain America: Winter Soldier and inadvertently drinking a bottle of Hulk blood in The Incredible Hulk.
Is there a “very worst cameo”?
Based on the opinion of Screen Rant, Stan Lee’s most useless cameo was in Iron Man 3, a film many MCU fans consider to have come before the franchise completely found its footing.
If the film is still mostly good thanks to Robert Downey, Jr. and cast, Stan Lee’s cameo in this one was considered a bit sexist. It showed him at a beauty pageant in Tennessee, holding up a sign with a “10” for one particular contestant.
Yes, the film was made in 2013 before the #MeToo movement started. Nevertheless, it seemed a little off-putting for some seeing Lee grading the appearance of a woman. Others might argue he was from the WWII generation when a lot of guys did this . . . good-naturedly.
With that point alone, perhaps this cameo can be forgiven and just placed in the proper context.