Top 20 Best Unscripted MCU Movie Moments

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Top 20 Best Unscripted MCU Movie Moments

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
These unscripted Marvel movie moments are a big reasons fans continue to fawn over the MCU. For this list, we'll be looking at scenes that included lines or moments from Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that weren't part of the original script. Our countdown includes "Iron Man", “Black Widow”, "Avengers: Infinity War", “Thor: Ragnarok”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Best Unscripted Moments From MCU Movies


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Best Unscripted Moments From MCU Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at scenes that included lines or moments from Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that weren’t part of the original script. We’re sticking strictly to the movies, so the Netflix & Disney+ shows won’t be included. Since major plot points will be discussed, you’ve been warned: spoilers ahead!

What’s your favorite improvised scene from MCU films? Let us know in the comments.

#20: “Move the Leg” / The Hug

“Captain America: Civil War” (2016) & “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)
It’s pretty well known that Robert Downey Jr. liked to improvise some of his dialogue in the various MCU movies he was a part of. Two notable ones come from his interactions with Tom Holland as the Webslinger in “Captain America: Civil War” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” The first comes when Tony is talking to Peter in the latter’s bedroom. Holland missed his mark, so Downey simply told him to move. It’s such a quick line but easily shows how Downey knows his character so well. Meanwhile, the entire hug scene in the car is one that came out of Holland spontaneously deciding to try to hug his co-star, who quickly gave the line that had producers laughing.

#19: Paper Football

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)
You’re stranded in the middle of outer space with no prospects of ever being able to get home. Thankfully, you’re not alone, but what do you do with your time? If you’re Nebula and Iron Man, you sit at a table and fling paper footballs at each other. It’s a nice bonding moment for the two heroes, but it may not have been part of the original script. Nebula actor Karen Gillan revealed in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that the entire scene was improvised. Turns out, the practice paid off later in the movie when we see Stark “flick” Ant-Man in very much the same way.

#18: The Fighting Pose

“Black Widow” (2021)
The superhero landing and fighting poses are two of the most common tropes of the genre. For the latter, Black Widow has been seen with a very particular stance, especially when she flings her hair around like she’s in a shampoo commercial. In the 2021 “Black Widow” film, we meet Natasha’s sister Yelena who could easily go up against Tony Stark in a quipping match. During a conversation with the stunt team about Yelena’s own pose, actor Florence Pugh was not a fan of the idea at all. Her discussion of how unrealistic some of the landings are inspired writer Eric Pearson to write a joke about them on the spot. It worked beautifully as this was one gag that certainly stuck the landing.

#17: Scott’s Comeback Line

“Ant-Man” (2015)
Another one of the great improvisational actors within the MCU has to be Paul Rudd. Long before he ever put on the Ant-Man suit, he was improving countless lines of dialog in plenty of other films. So it’s no surprise that he’d inject a bit of his own personality into Scott Lang. During the filming of “Ant-Man,” Rudd’s character goes through a typical training montage, which includes learning how to punch from Hope. After taking one to the face, he quips back at her “Were you going for the hand? This was apparently just one of several different takes with improvised dialog from Rudd. We can’t imagine what other great comebacks ended up on the cutting room floor.

#16: Ending Spell Scene

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021)
After Doctor Strange casts a spell that backfires and triggers the events of the movie, it all culminates at the Statue of Liberty. Despite his back-and-forth on whether Peter would be considered a friend, by the end of all of it, it’s made clear Strange cares deeply for the kid. This is made all the more evident with an improvised moment around the final casting of his spell. Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland were struggling to get one scene right, when Cumberbatch had the idea to initially reject Spidey’s suggestion to have everyone really forget him this time. It gave the moment a heavier tone, and showed how far the two had come together.

#15: Hammer Hang

“Thor: The Dark World” (2013)
It may not be the most successful of the “Thor” films, but “The Dark World” does have a few highlights, and ultimately helps shape future MCU outings. In an interview with Marvel head Kevin Feige, he admitted the eventual third “Thor” movie was largely inspired from comedic moments in the previous films. One of the more memorable ones sees Thor walk into Jane’s apartment and casually hang Mjolnir on a coat rack like it’s nothing more than a fancy hat. Completely improvised by Chris Hemsworth, it was one of the earlier signs that he was meant to have a more comedic presence.

#14: Snake Story

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
Easily one of the best aspects of “Thor: Ragnarok” is the influx of comedy from Chris Hemsworth. We’d seen a little here and there but this third outing for Thor really gives him some great spots to crack a few jokes. One classic moment involves Thor telling a story about how Loki had transformed into a snake and tried to kill him. According to director Taika Waititi, it was one of six different variations they shot, all involving Hemsworth just making the story up as they went along. We love the idea of being so spontaneous, but we also can’t help but wonder if Loki’s grin is real, or if that’s just Tom Hiddleston trying not to burst out laughing.

#13: Vision’s Death

“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
The death of a major character from any franchise would be incredibly daunting for the actors involved. So when a director asks the performers to simply improv the whole thing, the pressure added is tenfold. Such was the case for Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen when it came time to film Vision’s death. Asked in the moment to just improv it, the two actors were terrified, but went ahead and did their best. Both also claim they felt the whole moment was “ridiculous” so it was horrifying to try and come up with a variation of the scene on their own. Thankfully, between their performances and fantastic ending, we got an amazing sendoff of sorts for Vision.

#12: “I Love You Guys”

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021)
The moment Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire appeared in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” audiences were rejoicing everywhere. As special as it was for fans, it was an even bigger deal for the actors. It being incredibly rare to have them all together on one set, them playing their original characters simultaneously must’ve been beyond surreal. So it comes as no surprise the trio would be somewhat emotional about the whole thing. This actually played out onscreen in a quick line uttered by Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, just as they swing back into battle. Garfield went on record saying it was just something he wanted to tell them all. Now we love him even more!

#11: “Get Help!”

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
Another great one from Thor’s third outing is the hilarious “Get Help!” scene. Word has it that director Taika Waititi was very keen on having a lot of improv on the set of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and perhaps combining that with his unique style is why it’s generally considered to be the best “Thor” movie so far. During one interview, Tom Hiddleston noted that he and Chris Hemsworth had been prompted by Waititi to play on their characters’ childhood. Hence, “Get Help!” was born. Despite Loki’s objection, Tom Hiddelston has said it was his favorite improvised scene.

#10: “Liar”

“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)
Given just how jam-packed this movie was with stories, characters, and action, you’d be forgiven for not remembering this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in “Avengers: Endgame.” After being rescued from space by Captain Marvel, Tony Stark returns to the Avengers compound emotionally and physically defeated. Despite this, he finds the strength to confront Steve Rogers over his role in failing to stop Thanos in the previous film. During this stirring tirade, Robert Downey Jr. decided to insert a single word into his character’s dialogue that serves as the perfect reminder that the events of “Civil War” are still fresh in his mind. Tony calling Steve a “liar” was improvised, with director Anthony Russo calling the moment “one of Downey’s most inspired.”

#9: Pec Touch

“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)
Steve Rogers’s transformation from scrawny kid to buff super-soldier is one of the MCU’s most iconic moments. However, it wouldn’t have worked if Chris Evans hadn’t fully committed to getting eye-bogglingly jacked. Much to the delight of fans, Evans pulled it off, emerging from the procedure with bulging muscles worthy of the legendary comic book character. It’s clear from Hayley Atwell’s performance in the scene that fans weren’t the only ones taken aback by Evans’s shredded physique. While shooting, Atwell impulsively reached out to touch Evans’s pecs, and the filmmakers decided to keep the ad-lib in the finished product. Atwell spoke about the incident in an interview, quipping that she couldn’t quite help herself when confronted by Evans’s man boobs.

#8: Nick Fury Tries to Talk Sense Into Spidey

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019)
Samuel L. Jackson is known for his profanity-laced dialogue. So it should come as no surprise that he decided to spice up his lines in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This crops up in the scene in which he attempts to convince Peter Parker to help him and Mysterio defeat the Elementals. Initially, Peter is hesitant to lend a hand, quipping that the situation feels a little extreme for a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” like himself. Nick Fury doesn’t skip a beat in reminding Peter that he’s less than a year removed from being on another planet, and Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal both confirmed that the former added a little something extra to ensure the line truly hit home.

#7: Nick Fury Sneaks a Peek

“Captain Marvel” (2019)
Samuel L. Jackson strikes again! It turns out that one of “Captain Marvel’s” funniest moments (and there were plenty) was improvised by the long-time MCU star. During the scene in which Nick Fury and Keller examine the now-deceased Skrull that had been impersonating Agent Coulson, Fury decides to check what’s under the alien’s proverbial “hood.” It’s totally in-line with the character’s curious nature, and we wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that it was in the original script. However, that little moment was all Jackson. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck loved the ad-lib and decided to keep it in the finished product. You’ll hear no complaints from us!

#6: Beyoncé

“Doctor Strange” (2016)
The relationship that Dr. Stephen Strange and Wong share is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most underrated. Perhaps it’s because both characters are played by actors named Benedict. One of their best moments also happened to be 100% improvised by Benedict Cumberbatch. According to Benedict Wong, Cumberbatch would throw all sorts of silly lines at him while filming, simply to see what kind of reaction he could provoke. So when Strange calls Wong “Beyoncé” early in the film, the latter’s look of stoic confusion wasn’t fake. The filmmakers doubled down on the joke later on, with Wong jamming out to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” while reading.

#5: “Hey, Auntie”

“Black Panther” (2018)
You’d be hard-pressed to deny that Killmonger is one of the MCU’s best villains. He’s intelligent, ruthless, cares about his people, and has a backstory that audiences can sympathize with. The character was brilliantly portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, who clearly felt comfortable enough in Killmonger’s skin to improvise this awesome line of dialogue. The ad-lib comes after meeting his relatives for the first time. During this shocking reveal, Jordan decided to throw a little salt in the wound, referring to the Queen Mother as “Auntie” with enough arrogance to make Thanos proud. This was not the only ad-lib that made it into the film, as M’Baku barking at Ross to shut him down was improvised by actor Winston Duke.

#4: Spider-Man’s Last Words

“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
You may want to break out a box of tissues for this next entry, for it’s often considered one of the saddest in the history of the MCU. Having just lost to Thanos, Tony is stunned to see his comrades start to disintegrate before his eyes. Spider-Man is one of the last ones standing, but soon collapses into his mentor’s arms. His cries of “I don’t want to go” were improvised on the spot, though director Joe Russo also deserves credit. Russo told Holland before shooting to “act like you don’t want to go.” Holland turned the direction into dialogue, and his performance totally sells it.

#3: Gamora, Gamora, Gamora

“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
Hot take alert! Drax is the funniest character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Need proof? Just check out this scene in which he stupidly attempts to add something to a conversation between Tony Stark and Peter Quill – while lying beneath Tony’s foot, we might add. This iconic and hilarious line was made up on the spot by Dave Bautista, who slipped it in after a few days on set. The only lines that were actually in the script were the ones spoken by Tony and Peter; Drax’s line was simply Bautista becoming one with his character. We tip our caps to that mountain of a man and his ability to catch everything that goes over his head.

#2: “He's a Friend From Work!”

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
Owing to the fact that this line was splashed across promotional material for “Thor: Ragnarok,” you’d be forgiven for thinking it took a team of writers months to come up with. Alas, Thor’s hilarious exclamation upon seeing Hulk on the planet Sakaar for the first time was in actuality the brainchild of a… well, child. A kid from the Make-A-Wish Foundation was visiting the set one day and told Chris Hemsworth that he should say the line when he encounters Hulk in the arena. Hemsworth loved it, director Taika Waititi loved it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

#1: “I Am Iron Man”

“Iron Man” (2008)
In the pantheon of iconic MCU lines, one stands above the rest: “I am Iron Man.” Tony Stark’s declaration at the end of the first “Iron Man” movie is the stuff of legend, with the superhero breaking convention by throwing the well-worn trope of secret identities to the wind. The line is quintessential Tony, making it all the more shocking when you discover Robert Downey Jr. made it up on the spot! The reaction from fans was instantaneous, with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige later admitting that it inspired him not to be “afraid to adapt and evolve and to change things.” The line reappeared in “Avengers: Endgame,” serving as the perfect bookend to Tony’s character arc.
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