Thor: Ragnarok spoilers ahead.
Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok is the seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not only is it one of the funniest entries in the series - it also contains one of Stan Lee's best cameos. The comic book legend has been in all those MCU films (and many more Marvel projects besides). First appearing as Hugh Heffner in 2008's Iron Man, Lee has played everything from a Smithsonian security guard to FedEx delivery man, and has even crossed paths with the omniscient Watchers. So, among Goddesses of Death, flying Valkyrie, and gladiator Hulks, just what is Stan Lee up to this time?
After cameoing as a New Mexico trucker in Thor and an institutionalized patient in Thor: The Dark World, Lee is back to round off the trilogy with Hemsworth in tow, although this time, he has a little more to do. Ragnarok's marketing teased a liberated new look for the God of Thunder, with Chris Hemsworth sporting a much shorter hairdo. The haircut itself was only teased in the trailers, and it now transpires that was because it hid Stan.
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As Thor goes for "processing" at the Grandmaster's arena, he takes a spin in the barber's chair under the eye of Lee's jittery hairdresser. Given a whirring blade attachment instead of hands, Lee appears as some sort of twisted Edward Scissorhands to provide Thor's clean-cut appearance. In the scene, Thor begs to keep his signature hairdo, but Lee doesn't listen, only warning our Norse hero that he isn't as steady as he used to be and his customer/victum should keep still. That is sadly the last we see of Lee, although later in the movie, Thor does recount that some "creepy old guy" chopped off his flowing follicles.
There are some great cameos throughout Ragnarok: Waititi himself gets to play a part as rock creature Korg, Matt Damon appears as an actor playing Thor and Scarlett Johansson pops up as Black Widow. But for sheer shock value, Lee's role tops them all.
This is the third time we have seen Lee is space, following on from Guardians of the Galaxy and its 2017 sequel, and Stan seems increasingly at home in the cosmos. Indeed, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 confirmed that all of Lee's MCU roles are connected, so how does a rusty Sweeney Todd play into it all? Perhaps after failing to get a lift with the omniscient Watchers, Stan was knocked through the Devil's Anus and ended up as just another "junker" on Sakaar. Or perhaps he's on a mission, there to gather information on Sakaar or Thor and report back to the mysterious race of godlike aliens?
Considering that Lee's Guardians cameo left superhero fans massively confused, and his Spider-Man: Homecoming cameo was lackluster, it is great to see that he's back on form with Ragnarok. In some movies, a schticky scene featuring such a famous face can feel out of place, but against Ragnarok's all-out comedic tone he feels right at home.
The future of Lee's cameos and the expanding Watcher theory remains to be seen, but having already filmed cameos for the likes of Ant-Man and the Wasp and the next two Avengers movies, he's definitely not going anywhere soon. Let's just hope Thor doesn't get a reunion with him!
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