It's easy to imagine that making a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is strictly serious business. With each movie representing an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, and expected to make hundreds more on top of that, it's no great leap to think that the MCU sets are intense, high-pressure environments.
Fortunately, that's not really the case.
Each modern Marvel movie may be a big undertaking, but there's plenty of evidence suggesting that studio pressure never gets in the way of the merriment. Not least the subject of this article, which is MCU actors' tendency to flip the script on a dime. It's always a good sign when actors feel comfortable enough to play things by ear, especially when it results in cinematic gold.
This list is a celebration of such moments. From small gestures - like groping a pair of surprise pecs - to devastating last words, the MCU is stuffed full of moments of inspiration that entertained audiences and lit up the screen.
Moments such as...
10. Thor Hangs Up His Hammer - Thor: The Dark World
Man alive, did Thor: The Dark World need this scene.
The second Thor movie is a regular entrant in "Top 10 Worst MCU movies", and with good reason. The Dark World is the cinematic equivalent of a sophomore slump, as no-one in charge seemed to grasp what made the original movie- or the MCU as a whole - tick.
No-one, that is, except for Thor himself.
Thor actor Chris Hemsworth's impulsive decision to hang Mjolonir on a coat rack is a small moment, but a crucial one. Not only did it add a dash of levity to a movie in sore need of it, it also pointed the way forward for the franchise.
MCU head honcho Kevin Feige is on record stating that follow-up movie Thor: Ragnarok's much-celebrated sense of humour was directly inspired by Hemsworth's improvisational skills, citing the above scene as an example.
Makes sense to us. If the actors are delivering better material than your script-writers, why not follow their lead?
Having said that, Ragnarok's greatest moment of inspiration would come not from an actor or a writer, but another, very unexpected, source...