7. Casting Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
So much of what works in these movies is based on casting, and making Samuel L. Jackson the head of the world's biggest covert defense agency, S.H.I.E.L.D., was a masterstroke. Who else but one of the screen's best bad-asses could tackle such a role? Fury has been one of the linchpins of the Marvelverse, graduating to full co-lead in The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier while evolving as a character as well. Even death, or something close to it, can't stop Nick Fury — and we're all the better for it.