Sony’s animated Spider-Verse marks the first on-screen appearance by Stan Lee since his death in November. Interestingly, it’s also seen as his best.
Although Lee has famously appeared in many films and series from 2000’s X-Men and 2002’s Spider-Man to 2018’s Infinity War and Venom, the cameo encapsulates his legacy like no other cameo. It’s a bold claim, but entirely justified.
Lee’s role occurs within the first half of the film, right after Peter’s death. With the whole New York in mourning, Miles Morales becomes the hero’s chosen successor.
However, Miles has to become Spider-Man to save the city from Kingpin, and he heads to a shop to purchase a Spider-Man costume. Miles gets a cheap and one-size-fits-all costume to the cashier; it’s none other than Stan Lee.
Noticing they’re both grieving, the old man says, “I’m going to miss him. We were friends, you know.” Miles responds by saying he’s not sure whether the costume will fit, but he’s quickly offered wise words from the man: “It always fits, eventually.” The camera then pans to the left, revealing a sign that screams in bold text, “NO RETURNS OR REFUNDS. EVER.”
His words are inspirational to both, Miles and the audience. It’s a message of hope, reminding us that once expectations feel too great, one should ignore the negatives and focus on positives. It’s short but sweet and has a great effect on Miles who starts believing in himself. Unlike Lee’s other cameos, this one is all substance.
It’s an emotional one because these words are a great substitute for “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Into The Spider-Verse dwells deep into the reasons behind the character’s immense popularity shortly after Lee’s cameo when Mary Jane Watson says, “We are all Spider-Man.”