Posted by Elise Jost @elise
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Elise Jost

20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to a Marvel movie. Yes, you read that right, the studio whose attempts at adapting Marvel Comics are mostly disastrous compared to Marvel's own studio's productions is going to make a movie about the prolific comic book writer who has essentially become the face of the publisher. And as if that weren't hard enough to wrap your head around, the movie isn't supposed to be a biopic — instead, it will follow Stan Lee through a '70s comedy-action adventure in the style of a wittier James Bond.

We've covered the details of this puzzling bit of news, but the question is: Is this really a good idea? Granted, the project is still at a very early stage since there's no writer attached yet, but even without knowing the exact plot it seems like there are just two ways this could go: It could be a surprise success or a total disaster. Will this unexpected take on the life of one of the comic book world's biggest representatives be a smash hit that'll save Fox's reputation when it comes to anything Marvel, or is this approach too convoluted to reach its audience?

Stan The Man In His Own James Bond Movie? Hell Yes!

Original photo by Gage Skidmore
Original photo by Gage Skidmore

If you're a fan of Stan the Man, the idea of finally having his character at the center of a movie instead of being a sneaky cameo could be extremely exciting. After all, he's led quite the movie-worthy life, almost giving up on comics before penning The Fantastic Four and suddenly kicking off a whole era of comic book heroes. In the '70s, when he was already 50 years old, he moved to Hollywood to try to earn his characters on the page a movie adaptation.

With his wit and carefree attitude, he seems like the ideal type to carry an action flick set in the '70s, which according to The Hollywood Reporter would mix elements from James Bond and the recent hit Kingsman: The Secret Service. Recently, he's more or less become the face of Marvel Comics, making regular red carpet appearances where reporters won't fail to ask him about his favorite characters, and always adding his opinion to comic book controversies.

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Finally making him the hero of his own adventure seems like a well-deserved prize for the man who has contributed to the creation of countless comic book heroes, from Iron Man to the X-Men.

Does Such A Movie Have An Audience?

On the other hand, there are quite a few risks to the project: The first question would be how many people, outside of the fandom of comic books, actually know who Stan Lee is and what he represents; and even if they do know him, the movie could fail to meet the expectations of Lee fans if they thought it would be about his life. It wouldn't be surprising if the interest for a story that involves him in some way, but isn't exactly focused on historical accuracy, doesn't actually titillate anyone's curiosity.

The recent Kingsman: The Secret Service was met with incredible, if not unexpected success for its wittier, more unabashedly violent take on the secret spy story in the footsteps of James Bond, but it didn't need to be carried by a well-known character — in fact, adding this dimension would have been too much for the plot to carry.

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In fact, Stan Lee's life seems eventful enough that it wouldn't need the extra layers of the '70s setting or the spy-themed adventure. Comic book fans not so happy with Stan the Man have been pointing out that he often took more credit than he was due for his comic book characters, leaving other writers and artists in the shadows. Letting solely Lee represent the Marvel spirit, then, might not be such a good idea.

Last but not least, the fact alone that of all studios, 20th Century Fox jumped on Stan Lee's life rights, is either just ironic or another symptom of a petty war. If Fox made sure to be the ones adapting the writer's story in fears of seeing their ties with Marvel cut, rather than out of desire to make this particular story happen, the movie would serve mostly as an attempt to prove they're still ready to adapt comic book characters to the big screen. In short, a Stan Lee movie shouldn't just be a move in the Fox vs. Marvel strategy.

Let's wait to see what The Man says!

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

What do you think of this new Stan Lee movie? Would you rather see a standard biopic, or do you think the '70s action style fits his character better?

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Based on what we know, would you want to see this Stan Lee movie?