2. Hiring Joss Whedon to Write and Direct 'The Avengers'
Like Jon Favreau (see No. 8), Whedon was untested as a tentpole director when he was handed the biggest gamble in Marvel Studios' short history. But the creator of one of TV's most acclaimed shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) was also an excellent writer and a walking encyclopedia of comic-book lore. His strengths as a writer of ensemble stories, combined with his deep knowledge and ability to find a core of humanity in even the most fantastic stories, were huge components of what made The Avengers work. Plus you can feel his giddy delight — "Holy shit, I can't believe I'm filming this!" — in almost every frame of the movie. As far as we're concerned, The Avengers: Age of Ultron can't come soon enough.