Out this coming Tuesday is an odd little animated movie, Stan Lee’s Mighty 7: Beginnings. It opens with a cartoon Stan Lee (voiced by The Man himself) driving his convertible (one-handed!) down a windy mountain road at night as he tells us he’s known for the legendary superheroes he’s created.
He’s been hired by Archie Comics to create new characters for them, but he’s not having much luck. He’s in the desert to clear his mind when a spaceship carrying seven aliens, each with a superpower, crashes in front of him. Five of them are prisoners of the other two. Stan takes them all to a friend’s beach house, where he hides them from the government in return for making a comic book about them and teaching them to be a superhero team.
This leads to lots of fight scenes, and frankly, I lost track of who was battling whom and why. I think both the government (led by Mr. Cross, voiced by Jim Belushi, as head of a covert military division) and other aliens are after the group, because later, they save the world in some way. The animation is generic and the scenes familiar to anyone who likes superheroes or science fiction, but the voice cast is amazing for such a project. And Stan fans will love seeing so much of him!
- Armie Hammer as Strong Arm, with super strength
- Christian Slater as Lazer Lord, who shoots laser energy (my favorite, since he does a great voice job as an anti-team rogue)
- Teri Hatcher as Silver Skylark, a winged woman
- Mayim Bialik as Lady Lightning, with superspeed
- Flea as Roller Man, who turns himself into a big ball (think Bouncing Boy)
- Darren Criss as Micro, who shrinks
- Sean Austin as Kid Kinergy, with telekinesis
Stan Lee’s Mighty 7: Beginnings only runs a little over an hour. It aired on the Hub Network earlier this year and was intended to be the first in a trilogy of animated films, although I’m not sure the others are still in production. Only three issues of the print comic were published from March to July 2012; it was canceled in favor of TV potential (an effort that has reportedly been in progress now for ten years).
My favorite part of the show is when the military captures Stan Lee and the team has to come save him. The government has some kind of mind-scanning device, and the bad guys keep getting defeated by how far back Stan’s memory goes, and how it’s full of nothing but him making up comic characters.
Stan Lee’s Mighty 7: Beginnings is available as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (list price: $19.97) exclusively at Walmart on April 15 as well as a plain DVD ($14.93). Only the Blu-ray has these extras, though:
- A 4-and-1/2 minute interview with Stan about the project.
- Two minutes of “Stan’s Rants”, where he goes through the character list in terms of how they’d be as roommates. Since it’s Stan, the two women are described in terms of who they’re in love with or girlfriend to.
- “Script to Screen” has three sequences: “Stan the Man”, “The Escape Plan”, and “The Final Showdown”. Each 1-and-1/2-minute section compares layout sketches, script, and final footage.
- Three extended scenes lack sound effects, creating a somewhat surreal viewing experience.
- A two-minute trailer (not the one seen below, but one that focuses on showing the character names).
- Stan Lee trivia questions.
- A gallery of production sketches of the characters and full-color background art.
- Composer’s favorite music cues, which plays various bits of music from the movie.