There's nothing cooler than going to the theater and seeing your favorite comic book characters on one giant screen. However, sometimes there are elements that can distract you from the story. What element is that you might ask? Well, cameos of course. It happens more often than you think. A big named actor takes a day or two to pop into a few scenes of a film and the crowd applauds. The idea seems good and all, but is is really worth it?
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Recently, SuperHeroHype reported that comedian/actor Denis Leary will have a role in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot film as Police Captain George Stacy, the father of Peter Parker's love Gwen Stacy, who will be played by Emma Stone. In addition to that, Martin Sheen is playing Ben Parker. Denis Leary and Martin Sheen are two highly recognizable actors, and while Martin's character won't be too distracting, since Ben is most likely going to "bite the bullet," but what about Denis Leary, or better yet, what about other big names who show up for smaller roles in films?
Although he's the star of Rescue Me on FX, many people mainly remember Denis Leary as a stand-up comedian with a foul mouth and a cigarette in his hand. For the people that recognize him as that person, it becomes really hard to separate. Not trying to discredit his acting ability, which has come a long way since he was in Judgment Night and The Ref, many people may see him on the screen and will immediately start remembering the stand-up routine or the song "I'm an A**hole" instead of paying attention to the actual scene. The same could be said for Martin Sheen as well, who played the President of the United States of America on the West Wing. However, these two actors fail in comparison to the kings of cameos: Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell.
The Kings of CameosIf there are two people fans were looking out for in comic book movies, over the past decade, it was Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee. Although Campbell stuck strickly to doing spots in the Spider-Man films (mainly because he was friends with director Sam Raimi) and his bit part in the super-hero film Sky High, he is notable for the character Ash in the Evil Dead films. In the Spider-Man films he's played a ring announcer, a snooty usher, and a Maître d'. The other king of cameos is Marvel writing legend Stan "The Man" Lee who has most notably cameo'd as Larry King, Hugh Hefner and comic book postman Willie Lumpkin. Now, while it may be great to see these legends on the big screen, it truly is distracting. Why? Because that's what the audience is waiting for.
When a new Marvel film comes out, and a fan sits down to watch the film, the entire time, many of them are thinking "Who's Stan Lee going to play in this film?" (at least some of us do!) While it's really cool to see them on the big screen, some people just wait for it to happen instead of getting into the story. The other problem is that if an audience member see one of these guys on the screen, without knowing they were going to be in the film, they don't see the character they are playing. They see the actor. It can rip the audience member out of the film and jolt them back into reality.
What's a person to do? Cameos can't just disappear. They're a staple to the comic book movie world, and sometimes the "regular" movie world; however, they can be super distracting. Possible solution: recurring cameos. Have the actor do his or her cameo piece in one film, but keep coming back as that character. A prime example of this is Samuel Jackson in the Marvel films. The first time many people saw him as Nick Fury, there was the original "cameo-effect" much like Stan Lee, but after the audience saw Jackson in more films as that same character, the audience became more accustomed to the character and not the actor. This solution only works with franchise films or the DC/Marvel world, but it's a start.
What do you guys think about cameos? Love em? Hate em? Are they too distracting for you?
Follow Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring on Twitter: @inferiorego