Stan Lee, coming to Disney+, is a heartfelt and insightful tribute to the legendary comic book creator. Directed by David Gelb (Obi-Wan Kenobi: A Jedi’s Return) and narrated posthumously by Stan Lee himself, the film takes viewers on a journey through Lee’s remarkable life, from his humble beginnings in 1922 New York City to the behind-the-scenes footage of his iconic cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the standout aspects of the documentary is its clever use of interviews conducted throughout Stan Lee’s career. As the film progresses, the narration seamlessly shifts between these interviews, showcasing Lee’s evolving voice. As his voice changes and ages, the weight of his lifelong dedication to storytelling becomes palpable. At times, it’s easy to forget that Lee is no longer with us, as his words continue to resonate with passion and wisdom. The inclusion of other voices and interview clips, such as those from Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Flo Steinberg, Roy Thomas, and Joan Lee, adds depth and sheds light on the collaborative efforts behind Marvel Comics’ success.
The documentary not only relies on interviews but also incorporates comic pages and video recordings from various periods in Lee’s life. These visual elements, coupled with intricate dioramas of key moments and set pieces, immerse the viewer in the storytelling experience. The attention to detail in these moments sets the documentary apart, allowing it to transcend a mere compilation of interviews and become a captivating visual exploration of Stan Lee’s world. These visual elements not only enhance the storytelling but also serve as a testament to Lee’s creativity and the enduring legacy of his creations.
While the film covers a wide range of topics, including the inspirations behind iconic characters like Spider-Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and the Black Panther, its true strength lies in its emphasis on Stan Lee’s intentions and messages. The documentary reinforces Lee’s desire to create relatable heroes and flawed villains with whom readers could empathize. It highlights his commitment to morality, and diversity, and inspires readers to pursue their dreams. Stan Lee’s stories were more than mere entertainment. In an era marked by cynicism and division, Lee’s stories remind us of the power of unity, optimism, and the belief that anyone can be a hero.
The film does not shy away from addressing controversies, such as the disputes between Steve Ditko and Stan Lee over the true creator of Spider-Man. Through a radio interview, viewers gain insight into this ongoing topic of conversation in Lee’s legacy. While the more recent controversies of his life are not explored, the inclusion of such discussions humanizes Stan Lee and presents him as a flawed individual, much like the characters he created.
Whether you’re familiar with Stan Lee as the creator of Marvel Comics or simply as the cameo king in the MCU films, this documentary offers something for everyone. For those new to Lee’s work, it provides a captivating glimpse into the mind behind the magic, tracing his journey from a child of Eastern European immigrants during the Great Depression to a revolutionary storyteller. Even die-hard fans will find value in the documentary’s overarching message of unity, optimism, and empathy, reminding us of the enduring power of storytelling and the impact we can make as a community.
In its exploration of Stan Lee’s journey, this documentary serves as an invitation to rediscover the magic of storytelling and its impact on individuals and society. As the film approaches Stan Lee’s involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it becomes an emotional rollercoaster. The gravity of Lee’s work, transforming a small comic book company into one of the world’s biggest media franchises, is palpable. It’s a poignant moment that is likely to stir tears in many viewers, encapsulating the incredible impact Stan Lee has had on popular culture.
Stan Lee stands as a heartfelt and visually appealing tribute to an extraordinary storyteller. The documentary pays tribute to an icon while staying true to Lee’s messages of perseverance, togetherness, and empathy. It reminds us of the importance of his work and the team he worked with, especially at a time when negativity and division can overshadow the magic of storytelling as these stories have hit the big screen. It is a must-watch for fans and newcomers alike, as it encapsulates a true legend’s magic and enduring legacy.
Stan Lee is streaming exclusively on Disney+.
Stan Lee stands as a heartfelt and visually appealing tribute to an extraordinary storyteller. The documentary pays tribute to an icon while staying true to Lee’s messages of perseverance, togetherness, and empathy.