Comic book legend Stan Lee died on Monday at the age of 95. His death marked the end of the long and prominent career of arguably the most influential, and certainly the most well-known figure in American comics.
As a writer and editor at Marvel, Lee first struck comic book gold in 1961 with the creation of the Fantastic Four. He would go on to create or have a major hand in Spider-Man, The Hulk, Daredevil, the X-Men, Doctor Strange, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, and many others.
Beginning with “X-Men” in 2000, Lee’s creations reached a new echelon of popularity. That film was the first of a series of dozens of extremely popular and high-grossing movies produced by Marvel Entertainment, which would eventually be acquired by Disney for $4 billion.
Lee’s importance to Marvel and to the unbelievable success of its stable of films can be seen in the fact that Lee is featured in cameo in most of these.
Lee’s iconic characters have been so popular that the studio has seen fit to reboot a number of characters. The Spider-Man franchise is now on its third actor playing the title character, and sixth film. There have been nine X-Men films, including the three focusing on the franchise’s most popular character, Wolverine.
Films based on Stan Lee characters are almost guaranteed to find success at the box office, but some stand out as better films than others.
To determine the 25 best films of Stan Lee’s career, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 5,000 Rotten Tomatoes user ratings, 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews, 10,000 IMDb user ratings, and Stan Lee must have received either a writer or producer credit.
We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating. The share of favorable reviews from audience members and from critics is from Rotten Tomatoes.