Between alien invasions, massive terrorist sleeper cells within the government, and ancient religions being proven true, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is built on Earth-shattering revelations. The people in these films don't merely live in a world exactly like ours where five people have superpowers; they live in a world where Christians and Muslims can wait in line to get Thor's autograph.
Yet, despite its films and TV shows now encompassing a total runtime of over five days, the MCU has still avoided dealing with some of the inevitable life-changing implications of its stories. Like how ...
5Hydra Has Obliterated Our Entire Understanding Of U.S. History
We are already terrible at questioning our own history. Most of us either accept what we were taught at face value, or go the opposite direction and assume it's secret lizard people all the way down. History is messy, incomplete, and open to interpretation ... yet our entire cultural identity depends on us having some kind of shared agreement about what it looked like. Now imagine a world in which we find out that a secret organization called Hydra has, in fact, been manipulating everything for decades.
"The financial crash? Us. Crack epidemic? Us. Star Wars prequels? You better believe it."
There are seriously Hydra agents everywhere in the Marvel Universe. What happens to American history when it's proven that an offshoot of Nazi Germany has been embedded in every major governmental organization for the last 80 years? Suddenly, no conspiracy theory is too stupid to discredit, no institution above reproach, no living American's faith in the system left even remotely intact.
Was Nixon a highly trained Hydra agent? There are ways it could make sense. Is Donald Trump a trainee Hydra agent, bumbling through a plan he found in Red Skull's notes? It's the only thing that makes sense. And speaking of Trump, he and every other idiot would accuse their enemies of being Hydra members after any disagreement. ("A lot of smart people are saying this -- tremendous people. You see how she whispers in Obama's ear? You see that?") It'd be like the Red Scare, only if had turned out Joe McCarthy was badly underestimating the conspiracy and/or was totally in on it.
The Red Scare / Red Skull thing is so on the no-- uh, you know what we mean.
Did Hydra have anything to do with the Manhattan Project? Vietnam? The assassinations of JFK and MLK? Every significant American moment would now be suspect. Any history book that didn't blame everything on Hydra would probably only indicate that it was printed by a publisher controlled by Hydra.
"You telling me that thing can't melt steel beams?"
At a certain point, even Hydra would have to get confused. Imagine a worldwide conspiracy where you have no idea who all the other members are, and everyone is working a wildly complicated plan. Is your fellow Hydra senator passing a civil rights bill to betray you, or is he working a scheme your department wasn't notified about? Is there even a point in destroying this society when you've all happily lived within it for eight decades? Did your Hydra regional manager forget about your chocolate allergy, or is your birthday gift basket an assassination attempt?
4Sales Of One Company's Products Affect Iron Man's Ability To Save The World
This point can be summed up with a single question: What kind of asshole doesn't buy Stark Tech stock?
Do you remember the way people worshiped Steve Jobs, obsessing over whatever gadget he whipped out at MacWorld like it was going to singlehandedly cure our collective existential despair? Well, in the Marvel universe, their Steve Jobs has saved the world on multiple occasions, and was very clearly using company profits to do so. He's not a secret billionaire superhero like Batman, he's a very public billionaire superhero in charge of a publicly traded company. He also flies around the world and saves children.
Most CEOs who use company money for themselves get locked up. But most CEOs don't look fucking awesome in a suit of armor, either.
So imagine the weird cultish vibe that surrounds Apple as a brand, add in the upper-middle-class guilt that makes people shop at Whole Foods, and multiply it times ten. That's what it would be like for any damned product Stark's company produces. In the Marvel Universe, if you're going to buy a new phone, you're all but obligated to buy the StarkPhone instead of a competitor, because one company is going to use your money to fund a flying robot man who destroys alien armadas, and the other company is going to use it to not pay child workers in Shanghai.
In fact, companies that publicly back superheroes would almost certainly begin to dominate the market, because the world's safety will rely on their profits. A huge crash in Stark stocks could mean that Tony doesn't have enough money to repair all the parts of his suit blasted off by Zzzax. A commercial for Stark Tech could be him honestly saying, "If you buy electronics from anyone else, everyone you know will die. Hi, I'm Iron Man."
This is provided the stock doesn't panic-drop once the public sees him get his ass kicked for the first time.
Other corporations would be forced to compete by funding their own crime-fighters. Superheroes would be designed by marketing committees, and Thanos the Mad Titan might come to Earth and be met by Frito-Lord, whose power is exceeded only by his flavor and crunch. And if there's one thing for certain in any universe, it's that Frito-Lord would absolutely get us all killed.