There are a lot of different ways to enjoy the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Obviously, you can head to the theater, like the countless fans who helped make Black Panther a smash hit in its very first weekend. Alternately, you can watch the painstakingly-detailed Blu-rays or simply stream the movies to your device of choice.
Most of the time, we recommend seeing the MCU on the big screen. However, there’s a big advantage to the small screen: you can hit the pause button! This allows everyone from the most casual fan to the most obsessive Marvel devotee to see all of the details of any given frame.
Sometimes, fans like to pause to admire every line of their favorite hero’s body. Other times, you practically need to pause to properly absorb the Easter eggs scattered in every film.
Regardless of your motivation, there are plenty of great moments to make you hit the pause button. In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to choose from! That’s where we come in: we’ve compiled a list of the hottest, coolest, or downright weirdest scenes worth pausing for.
Keep scrolling to check out 17 Mind-Blowing MCU Scenes That Make You Hit Pause!
17 Thor Getting Dressed - Ragnarok
One of the more amusing things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it’s pretty equal opportunity when it comes to the cheesecake moments. For every overtly steamy scene with characters like Black Widow or Gamora, we get a corresponding scene that shows off the body of a male co-star. And no one has been a bigger target for this than Chris Hemsworth.
From the very first Thor movie, Hemsworth has found more opportunities to lose his shirt than Captain Kirk.
By the time Thor: Ragnarok came out, it was no surprise that fans were going to get a big slice of Hemsworth. The movie doesn’t make a big deal of the moment: after losing to Hulk due to the Grand Master’s interference, Thor wakes up wearing only his pants. He gets his armor back on soon enough, but fans can see why people bow down to this particular god.
16 Project Insight List - Winter Soldier
Not every MCU moment fans pause is a steamy moment. Some are just really cool Easter eggs!
That is the case when it comes to a list of names in Captain America: Winter Soldier. This is supposed to be the list of people that Hydra wants to murder by using Project: Insight. If you look closely, though, you can see some funny stuff in here!
While not a complete list, Reddit user crapusername47 compiled several images of these names. Fans can see some familiar targets on here, including “Anthony Stark” (better known simply as Tony Stark) and “Mathew Ellis” (the president at this time in the MCU). Maria Hill is also a target, and though not visible on this screenshot, so are Steve Rogers and Doctor Stephen Strange!
There are weirder shout-outs, too, including actor Jeremy Irons and several name homages to the Patriots football team.
15 Cap Holding the Helicopter - Civil War
Captain America sometimes gets guff from fans for being weaker than some of his teammates. After all, even "peak human" pales in comparison to characters like Thor or Hulk. However, we are occasionally reminded of just how strong Cap can be, such as in this famous scene from Captain America: Civil War.
Winter Soldier is trying to make his brainwashed escape from the good guys, and he looks like he’s about to make it away via helicopter. That’s when Captain America reaches out and grabs the helicopter, successfully keeping his old partner from escaping.
It’s an amazing scene that showcases the raw power of this superhero.
For someone who is most famous for his shield, we can’t help but admire the “guns” Cap is packing here!
14 Daredevil and Elektra - Daredevil
There were many surprises in the second season of Daredevil. One of those was that our hero finds himself in the middle of a bonafide love triangle: he is torn between Karen, the dependable assistant-turned-girlfriend, and Elektra, the thrillingly violent blast from his past. This concludes when Daredevil and Elektra have a pretty steamy hook-up.
There’s not much we can say about this that isn’t obvious, even if you’re as blind as Matt Murdock.
We have two very beautiful actors who look very good while they get up close and personal with each other. This scene is worth the pause button not only to admire how good they both look but to also admire the way it is filmed: the scene manages to be sensual without being sensational, and it’s a downright tasteful portrayal of lovemaking.
13 Nick Fury’s Grave - Winter Solider
Nick Fury is presented to us at the ultimate spy in the MCU. Because of this, it’s not so surprising that he fakes his death in order to throw Hydra off his tracks. Even after the bad guys have been beaten, he keeps up the pretense by having a grave and headstone created for himself. If fans hit pause, they’ll find something pretty fun here!
The grave has part of a biblical verse on it, which is not that unusual.
Look closely, though, and it’s Ezekiel 25:17, and reads “The path of the righteous man.” This is, of course, the biblical verse that Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules quotes in Pulp Fiction. It’s funny as a reference by itself, but even funnier as a commentary on Fury as an “actor” whose performance fools the world.
12 Black Widow's quick change - Iron Man 2
Black Widow quickly established herself as an awesome spy and an amazing action hero. However, she had very humble beginnings when she debuted in Iron Man 2. She posed as an assistant to Tony Stark before Nick Fury revealed that she was secretly a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Near the film’s climax, the now-exposed agent decides to get in uniform for the big battle.
There’s just one catch: she’s in the back of a car being driven by Happy Hogan, who has to fight the urge to peek at the changing agent in the back of the vehicle. We’re wagering that many viewers had the same temptation and leaned on the pause button, hoping to see some more of Black Widow’s “secrets.” Although by the time she donned her leather catsuit, it seemed like there might not be any secrets left!
11 Killgrave's Purple Veins - Jessica Jones
The MCU made a choice long ago to veer from the comics when it came to character design. Let’s be real: some of the designs that make perfect sense in a colorful comic book look seriously out of place on screen. And that’s why Kilgrave (the Purple Man villain of Jessica Jones) does not actually have purple skin but simply rocks a purple-toned wardrobe.
However, fans with their fingers on the pause button can get a glimpse of the comic Kilgrave peeking through. When the villain is trying to super-charge his powers, you can get a glimpse of the veins in his neck glowing faintly purple. It helps to sell the danger of these experiments as well as the almost otherworldly menace of Kilgrave himself.
10 Daisy Suits Up - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Quake (also known as Daisy and previously known as Skye) has had a weird journey on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She has gone from being part of a sketchy group of hackers to being a super-powered S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has helped to save the world. Part of early plots involving her character concerned whether she was actually loyal to the team, which included an incident where she hooked up with sketchy bad guy Miles Lydon.
This leads to an awkward morning after scene where Daisy is getting dressed. A cursory glance at internet commentary shows that fans love to comment on how cute Daisy is, so we’re pretty confident that this scene caused a lot of people to jam down on their pause buttons. You better watch out, though: as Daisy found out, the often-humorless Melinda May is always watching!
9 World on Fire - Daredevil
Daredevil is one of the most paradoxical heroes in the MCU. On one hand, he is on the side of angels: he’s Catholic, dedicating to helping the helpless as an attorney, and is generally a great guy. At night, though, he dresses like a devil and beats the hell out of criminals. In a handful of great scenes, we get a visualization of this dichotomy.
When he’s asked how he actually “sees” the world, Daredevil replies that he sees a world on fire.
When you pause, you can get a great glimpse of what this looks like. It’s a genuinely haunting visual that spells out what daily life is like for Daredevil: he is within Hell (or at least its Kitchen), and his only escape is to fight his way through. There is no salvation for him but whatever he can find for himself.
8 Star-Lord gets Drenched - Guardians of the Galaxy
In some ways, the most impressive Marvel Cinematic Universe transformation actually happened offscreen. When Chris Pratt was announced as Star-Lord for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the few people who knew of him at all knew him as the schlubby Andy from Parks and Recreation. And then his shirt came off!
When the Guardians are captured and imprisoned, we get an obligatory sequence where Chris Pratt is shirtless and hosed down. It’s wildly impressive to see how Pratt transformed himself from chubby schlub to absolutely ripped leading man. This is the kind of scene that quite a few people could watch again and again, hoping to one day have “some unspoken thing” with Star-Lord.
While we didn’t get as much shirtless Pratt in Vol. 2, fans have their fingers crossed for Infinity War!
7 Grandmaster’s Palace - Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok is a great movie for finding Easter eggs. This is because the movie is a mashup of different comic storylines that results in something completely new. I f you’ve got good eyes and a fast finger for the pause button, you can find some pretty cool echoes of previous comic storylines.
The best example of this is the exterior shot of the Grandmaster’s Palace.
The most obvious feature of this palace a statue of Hulk’s head. However, there are other statues of famous Marvel characters, including Beta Ray Bill, Man-Thing, Ares, and Bi-Beast. It makes for a very fun set of visual references, but it’s also exciting for fans because it implies these characters have once fought in the arena, just like Thor and Hulk!
6 The Hero Shot - Age of Ultron
Joss Whedon established himself as the ultimate comic movie director with the first Avengers movie. Whedon is a huge comics fan (and previous comics writer), and he has a special skill for creating scenes onscreen that mirror the very best of what comics have to offer. And we see that skill on display near the very beginning of Age of Ultron.
The opening action scene does a good job of establishing the different roles and strengths of our favorite characters. Before too long, we get an extreme slow-motion scene that shows all of our heroes about to strike. It’s a beautiful sequence that recreates the multi-page action spreads that comic fans love, and we guarantee plenty of fans have hit the pause button to view this like it was an iconic comic page.
5 Hela in the Trophy Room - Ragnarok
We've mentioned before that Thor Ragnarok is a veritable treasure trove of references and Easter eggs, but no scene represents this better than Hela's casual stroll through Odin's trophy room after she's taken over Asgard. On her way to the Eternal Flame which will waken her undead army, Hela passes several important and powerful artifacts.
There's the Crown of Sutur, which Thor had recently stored there and would come into play again later in the film's plot. There's the Tesseract, Loki's weapon of choice in The Avengers, which contains the Space Stone - and which Thanos comes in pursuit of in Ragnarok's mid-credits scene. And Hela also resolves a potentially major plot hole in the MCU, by knocking over Odin's version of the Infinity Gauntlet and dismissing it as "fake."
4 Luke Cage and Misty Knight - Luke Cage
Luke Cage has a running joke about how he doesn’t drink coffee but women keep inviting him into their homes for some caffeine. Instead, he finds different ways to stay up a bit later with his new friends. We see this happen pretty early on in the Luke Cage series when he hooks up with Detective Misty Knight.
In short, there is a whole lot going on here that is worth your pause button. First, there’s Luke Cage himself: as he showed in Jessica Jones, he has a downright heroic body that fans cannot get enough of. Similarly, Misty Knight is effortlessly graceful and steamy at the same time.
Getting a better look at either character is definitely worth a click, though you’ll have to find your own coffee.
3 Brand New Steve - First Avenger
Arguably, the central part of Steve Rogers’ backstory is transformation. He goes from being a scrawny kid that the Army doesn’t want to being the greatest soldier that ever lived. Marvel was wise enough to understand that we needed to really see that transformation, so early Steve Rogers has CGI making him look small and weak.
After receiving the super-serum, though, Steve Rogers hulks out (so to speak) and we see him in all of his toned glory. It’s an impressive scene on every level, from how seamless the transition is to how impressive Chris Evans looks.
We’re willing to bet plenty of women (and men) have paused this scene... for scientific purposes, of course. They just want to figure out the super serum secrets!
2 The Entire Infinity War Trailer
Okay, you got us: we cheated a little bit. This last one is not a single scene or moment but rather the entirety of the Avengers: Infinity War trailer. Can you really blame us, though? So much is packed into this short trailer that fans are pretty much forced to hit the pause button to understand what’s going on.
There are plenty of gems you can find by pausing, too. For instance, we can see that Spider-Man is now rocking the Iron Spider suit that he turned down back in Spider-Man: Homecoming. We can see that the Mind Stone has been torn from Vision, leaving him transformed. Above all, we can finally get a prolonged glimpse of Thanos, who has come to Earth to bring death to the galaxy!
1 Luke and Jessica - Jessica Jones
The Netflix corner of the MCU very quickly established itself as the more “adult” corner of this world. While the bigscreen movies mostly strive for a family-friendly tone, these shows gave us a lot of ultra-violence and harsh language. When Jessica Jones came out, we got something fans had been wondering about for a long time: superhero hook-ups.
When Jessica Jones and Luke Cage hook up, it’s pretty hot stuff (and we’re not talking about that “coffee” Luke keeps drinking too much of). They have wild, bed-breaking shenanigans, and fans couldn’t get enough of these scenes! That’s one of the reasons why these scenes are paused so much. It’s your best chance to get a glimpse of some super-heroic skin, and these scenes are a fun counterpart to all of the bloody exploits.
Got an awesome MCU moment we missed? Let us know in the comments!