by Ryan Rigley
At this day and age, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone who isn’t aware of Stan Lee. After all, Marvel movies are all the rage right now. With the release of “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” just on the horizon, and sequels to “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” and “Thor” in the works, it’s safe to say that there is not a single person in this country that has yet to be affected by the likes of these superheroes.
Lee’s place in the history of comic books and popular culture alone should be reason enough to watch “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,” the EPIX original documentary following the life and times of Stan the man himself. However, for those a bit more skeptical about the life of Stan, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why we think “With Great Power” is worth a watch.
» Stan In Real Life
To most people, Stan Lee is “that wacky old guy that makes a cameo in every Marvel movie.” Be that as it may, there are still many other layers to Stan that we, the public, rarely get to see. In this documentary, we see him as a real person with feelings and emotion. He lives, he loves, and he makes mistakes, as made evident by the short-lived “Stan Lee Media.” We even get a glimpse at several pictures of Stan without a mustache! Gasp!
» Comics Come Alive
One of the most interesting parts of “With Great Power” is the social commentary associated with each Marvel superhero that Stan has had a hand in creating. For example, the X-Men, a group of mutants shunned by normal society, were formed in response to the racial discrimination of that time. And the Hulk, a gamma-irradiated muscle man, was a reflection of the country’s fear of atomic bombs. There are also several instances when iconic panels of classic Marvel comic books are animated, literally making them jump off of the page.
» Celebrity Cameos
With a career spanning almost a century, Stan Lee’s work has been an inspiration to people of all ages. In fact, many celebrities, that are famous now, either grew up reading Stan Lee’s comic books or have worked on a movie inspired by one of them. It’s no wonder that Stan has so many A-list admirers. “With Great Power” boasts a number of celebrity cameos including, but not limited to: Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Michael Chiklis, James Franco, Robert Downey Junior, and, of course, Nicolas Cage.
» Stan the Family Man
Did you know that Stan Lee has been married to his wife for over 60 years? Did you know that Stan Lee has a daughter? In “With Great Power,” we get a chance to see Stan in his most intimate role to date: as a loving husband and father. There is nothing more pure than seeing somebody surrounded by the ones that he or she loves. Both Stan’s wife and daughter are equally as charismatic and talented as Stan, which makes it truly interesting to see the three of them interacting with each other.
» The Evolution of Marvel Movies
Believe it or not, Marvel movies haven’t always seen the glitz and glamor of “The Avengers.” In fact, there was a time when Marvel desperately struggled to adapt their spectacular superheroes to live-action films and TV shows but to no avail. Due in large part to the advancements in technology, the failed live-action versions of “Spider-Man” and “The Fantastic Four” have been vastly improved upon since their first attempts over two decades ago. Now there’s typically at least two Marvel movies released a year. If you want to better understand one of the men responsible for all of those creations, there’s nowhere better to turn this weekend than “With Great Power.”
To learn more about the legend that is Stan Lee, you can watch “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story” April 27 at 8 p.m. ET on EPIX.