Captain Marvel has finally been released in theaters, and it is an important milestone for a few reasons. It's the first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel universe, with Brie Larson starring as the titular hero. It's also the first posthumous cameo from legendary artist Stan Lee, who passed away last year at the age of 95.

SPOILER WARNING

Lee's cameo comes pretty early in Captain Marvel, as Carol Danvers is searching for a Skrull aboard the L.A. Metro. As Carol is searching through the train cars, she comes upon a familiar passenger.

That passenger is none other than Stan Lee—and it's what he's doing that really sets his cameo apart.

Lee will have one final cameo in Avengers: Endgame

Lee is seen among reading the script for Mallrats—a movie from famed geek Kevin Smith, and one that essentially kicked off Lee's run of modern cameo appearances. In Mallrats, Lee appears as himself at a comic book signing, where he offers some sage advice to the main characters.

Not only does Lee's appearance in Captain Marvel pay tribute to the man and his film career, but it also perfectly dates the movie. Captain Marvel is unabashedly '90s, and Mallrats is very much a '90s movie (it came out 1995).

Apart from keeping alive the tradition of Lee cameoing in Marvel movies, it's one of his more heartwarming appearances, given the circumstances. He doesn't have any quips or one-liners. Instead, the directors pause on Lee and give audiences a moment to cherish his appearance.

Lee gives a trademark smile to the camera before Carol goes back to hunting down her target. And, like that, he was gone too soon.

Lee's appearance in Captain Marvel won't be his last. He will have one final cameo in Avengers: Endgame when the movie comes out next month.

Check out our review of Captain Marvel