#5. The Libyans from Back to the Future
Let's disregard for a moment all of the numerous problems we have with the "happy" ending of Back to the Future. Let's grant the filmmakers that everything wrapped itself up perfectly; Marty is happy, parents are happy, Biff is their slave.
All he wants is a case of Schlitz and time to forget.
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the Biff Tannens and time paradoxes as the main obstacles to be overcome that we forget the guys who should have kept Marty McFly up late at night.
But We Forgot About...
The Libyan terrorists Doc Brown ripped the plutonium from. You know, the armed, pissed off terrorists driving freely through Hill Valley, who wanted Doc Brown to build a nuclear bomb for them.
Take a close look at that VW van. These guys pack more wallop in there than the collected drug cartels in Breaking Bad and The Wire. These Libyans have AK-47s, RPGs, a shoot-first policy, tracking abilities that baffle even the guy who perfected time travel, and... oh, fucking plutonium.
This is some Tom Clancy shit right here.
OK, so Marty hooks up with his mom and warns Doc about the Libyans, which he takes as his cue to dig up a bulletproof vest capable of stopping assault-rifle slugs at point-blank range. Good for him. They then take off in their van and chase Marty in the Delorean. When Marty disappears back in time, the van crashes into a one-hour photo stand. Then... what?
...they back up, drive to Marty and shoot him in the face?
Nothing happens. Seriously, there are no terrorists flying through windshields; no RPGs going off; no big cathartic explosion to justify the use of the word "bomb" in the movie. All we see is the van kind of tip over, but sustain the abuse like any good, German-made car was built to. But when Marty returns from the past to check on Doc, they have an emotional reunion that completely ignores the fact that there is a dented van full of terrorists right over there.
If it can survive hippies, it can survive anything.
Hell, even if the van burst into flames and vaporized the gunmen, there's no way those few guys represented the entirety of their terror cell. This is a group serious enough to sneak into the U.S., obtain military-grade weapons and goddamned weapons-grade plutonium. You know, the stuff that no terrorists and only a few militaries have ever been able to get their hands on. If anything, Back to the Future is a cautionary tale about how disastrously vulnerable small U.S. towns were to terrorism during the Reagan years.
And how vulnerable the terrorists were to crimes of Chronomancy.