The Marvel Cinematic Universe is made up of a growing cast of beloved comic book characters, and with so many faces vying for screen time, it’s often hard to focus on a natural flow to their behaviours. Part of what makes the MCU special is the way actors are able to bring a bit of themselves to these roles and create undeniably funny and heartfelt improvised scenes. This chemistry is something that usually clicks when actors interact with each other extensively and get a feel for how their counterparts approach interactions. For this scene, the two actors present managed to create one of cinema’s most memorable scenes of the 2010s.
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If you hadn’t guessed already, we are talking about the heartbreaking disappearance and “death” of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the events of Avengers: Infinity War. The film’s final act is an unforgettable cinematic experience that completely caught audiences off guard. This particular scene is what made people feel the impact of the film’s sudden ending, as it hit extremely deep for a lot of people. To this day, Spider-Man’s “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good” remains a popular phrase for sad moments across pop culture.
How the scene came to be is actually quite interesting. In an interview with GQ, Holland revealed that he and Downey were initially trying different things for Peter’s disappearance. This made it a long improvisation moment where they attempted to find what could stick.
However, Holland eventually came up with the idea of Peter’s emotional disappearance by channelling a certain acting technique. He revealed that he uses repetition to get himself into the emotional space necessary for certain scenes. In this case, the phrase “I don’t want to go” was his choice of words, and it was enough to sell the impact of Peter’s disappearance. Many audiences were brought to tears as it played out.
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Tony’s despair is also a helpful focus. A man known for his confidence and problem-solving prowess had to watch his protégé vanish, and he could do nothing. Offering only an uncertain “you’re okay,” this ending uses Stark to show just how far behind the Avengers are when dealing with Thanos. Peter’s death weighs heavily on Stark’s guilt, especially knowing that he initially recruited this kid into the Avengers for his own goals. That’s why the full-circle moment of Tony’s sacrifice in Endgame was the perfect way to end his character arc.
On a more lighthearted note, the Iron Man and Spider-Man MCU duo were bound to have these special moments right from the start. For Spidey’s debut, Tom Holland’s first scene with Robert Downey Jr. took place in Peter’s house. Here, Tony attempts to recruit the kid for the Civil War battle. How it was meant to originally play out is always going to be left unknown, as Anthony Russo revealed that the scene we saw involved a fair bit of improvisation. When Tony goes to sit beside Peter on the bed, he says, “I’m gonna sit here, so you move the leg.” This was actually Downey telling Holland that he was doing the scene wrongly. However, Holland brilliantly played off of this in the best way possible. Creating a memorable debut for the MCU’s best father-son dynamic.
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Tell us, what do you think is the best improvised scene in the MCU?