Mainstream audiences may now be waking up to the beauty of post-credit scenes, but there's been one major superhero movie in-joke that everyone's been aware of for a long time; since the genre was brought to blockbuster prominence, the majority of Marvel movies have featured a cameo from the company's former President and creator of some of their best characters, Stan Lee. Normally a little burst of comedy amongst all the heroics, over the years his appearances have grown from background winks for serious fans to whole scenes where everyone watching is in on the joke. Lee was already a massive personality, being the figurehead of Marvel for decades and lending his voice to many of their cartoons, but these have made the guy who made Marvel, well, Marvel almost mythic. Although it feels to the contrary, Lee hasn't appeared in every movie on the Marvel banner; he's missed out on appearing in the majority of the X-Men movies due to location issues. The man himself, however, has a different idea as to why he didn't appear; if there's no cameo then fans will think they missed it and go back and buy another ticket to try and spot it. Crafty. He's still starred in a whopping twenty-one films, with cameos of varying creativity. Face front, true believers, because we've looked through them all and today present you our ranking from worst to best of Stan Lee's movie cameos.
21. Man Dodging Debris - Spider-Man 2
When Doc Ock needs funds for his decaying building-housed sun machine, he doesn't do it quietly. Breaking into the vault of the a bank that keeps large sums of money exclusively in coin bags, what follows is a tense showdown between Spider-Man and Octavius with Aunt May caught in the middle. As Ock takes to the sides of buildings, he sends rubble flying towards the street, with an innocent bystander only escape being squashed thanks to the actions of a trench-coat wearing hero; Stan Lee. That this places bottom shows how fun the cameos normally are; it's not bad, it's just completely unremarkable. Had a deleted scene featuring Lee being included, giving him first line of dialogue ("Spider-Man stole that child's sneakers"), however, his Spider-Man 2 appearance could have been much better.
20. 'Stan Lee' - Iron Man 2
In a direct repeat of the cameo in the first film (we'll get to that one later), in Iron Man 2 Stan Lee pops up as a snappily dressed guy who gets mistaken for Larry King, the famed American TV interviewer. Credited as Stan Lee, this one doesn't make all that much sense. It's Happy introduces him as King, so is the joke on him for the mistaken identity or that Stark's out of it? Lee kinda looks like King, but that doesn't make it work.