To see Stan Lee in person is to witness a display of dynamism and enthusiasm that is both unbelievable and delightful — after all, the man is 89 years old and he certainly owes no one a tap dance. Still though, he performs, he glad-hands, he gushes about everything and everyone around him — perpetually playing the content, shrugging, jovial old man; the legend, the architect and now mascot for Marvel Comics.
We want to like Lee, and he makes it easy. We want to learn more about him, but that is made hard because we’ve been fed his smile-inducing anecdotes and the history of his and Marvel’s rise for years and years. It isn’t his fault, the man’s been living in the public eye for nearly half a century, feeding the quest for insight on his work for just as long — trouble is, there are unexplored areas of Lee‘s career, questions that are rarely asked, and never fully answered.
It was my great hope going into With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, that we would get a look into the mindset of Lee and get a fuller examination of his take on the more controversial elements of his career and still developing situations like the fight being waged against Marvel by the family of departed comic legend, Jack “King” Kirby, the artist and co-creator of many of Marvel Comics’ (and before it, Timely Comics’) most lasting and iconic characters. Sadly, this is not that kind of “documentary”, but rather it is a moving biography that never really feels objective or independent. (more…)