20th Century Fox is taking superhero cinema to its logical extreme by turning Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee into an action star. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has acquired Lee's life rights, and plans on making an action-adventure film set in the 1970s with Lee as the hero, complete with alter ego.
The film, coming from the producers behind Twilight and the upcoming Power Rangers movie, is currently being described as similar to Kingsman: The Secret Service in tone, which means observers who aren't scared off by the premise should expect a madcap action comedy if and when the film comes out. It should be noted, of course, that Lee himself was never actually a spy or superhero. Rather, he's one Marvel's most prolific creators and spokespeople, helping to create such characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. By the 1970s, he'd stopped writing and had instead stepped into a publishing role, becoming the company's public face. How this period will translate into an action movie is a completely open question.
Turning Stan Lee into an action star invites criticism from comics fans
Of course, making a movie that turns Lee into a super-anything will almost certainly court a very vocal backlash from diehard comics fans. While unquestionably important to the medium, Lee has been criticized repeatedly over the years for taking the credit for iconic Marvel characters away from such writer-artists as Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. That criticism has hurt his legacy, so it's certainly odd to see his myth writ that much larger with this project. Fox hasn't announced a title for this effort or who will write it, but we're at the very least fascinated to see how this concept is handled.