When it comes to fictional places that we'd really, really like to live in, there aren't many destinations that can beat out the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Iron Man would be real, Captain America would have saved us from the Nazi's in World War 2, we'd be surrounded by incredible, world-changing technology, and we could - at any moment - find ourselves becoming a superhero too.
The thing is, though - that's only one side of the story.
There's a dark side to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - a horrifying truth lying just beneath the surface of the movies we all love.
Because in real life, adventures like Iron Man, Cap and Thor's have consequences.
Just...so...many... (MCU movie SPOILER-filled) consequences.
The US Government is Probably Bankrupt
Remember the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier? That whole section where Cap blew up the three giant, shiny new helicarriers - pretty much driving one of them into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new headquarters, the Triskellion?
Yeah, somebody had to pay for that.
Aside from the loss of life and the clean-up costs, those things belonged to a US counter-terrorism agency.
They were bought with tax-payers dollars.
A whole lot of them.
I mean, an aircraft carrier in the real world costs about $12.9 billion - but conspicuously can't fly.
You've got to think you're at least doubling that, if not more, just for construction of one helicarrier.
Add in the whole underwater launchpad, and the Triskellion, and years of development costs, and you're talking $100 billion minimum - a serious stretch on the US military spending budget (about $683 billion in total, back in 2011). Most of which gets spent on, y'know, paying soldiers, and actual combat.
Add in the cost of rebuilding New York after the Chitauri attack (Hurricane Katrina's clean-up costs were about $108 billion, so just imagine how high that's going to be) and Washington after the helicarriers crash, and LA after everything Tony Stark has done to it, and you're talking a whole new level of budget crisis.
The 'we just had to sell Alaska' kind.
Worst of all, S.H.I.E.L.D. is off the books - and probably having half it's budget siphoned off by Hydra - so that budget crisis that must have been hitting the US government for the last five years? It's probably being blamed on some guy in the Treasury Department mislaying $300 billion or so.
But really, that's only the beginnings of everyone's problems, because:
The US Government is Being Run by a Secret Society of Nazis
Remember this guy?
Senator Stern of Pennsylvania. Perennial thorn in Tony Stark's side. Garry Shandling lookalike. Popularly elected official.
Oh, and Hydra agent.
There probably isn't a standard impeachment procedure for that.
And Stern is just the guy we see on screen. Who knows how many elected officials were secretly Hydra agents? Well, in a few months, probably everybody - since that is definitely what Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and pretty much all of the Avengers are going to be spending their time finding out from now on.
What are the good people of Pennsylvania going to think about their senator being an actual Nazi?
Whatever it is, it's going to put the current lack of faith in politicians into a whole new perspective. Think Obama's a Socialist? Well, Senator Stern is an honest to goodness National Socialist - and that is definitely, definitely worse.
The next presidential campaign is going to be a whole lot of fun...
But don't worry, we'd probably all be way too distracted by other things. Things like:
The (Super) Crime Rate is Terrifying
Thought New York's crime rate in the 80's was bad?
Wait till you add super-villainy into the crime statistics. Property damage is going to be sky-high, obviously - but you're also going to see major bumps in murder, kidnapping and Thunder-God related mayhem rates.
Plus, have you ever noticed how there's never a shortage of bank-robbers for superheroes to catch? Well, while they're off catching Hydra agents, or being targeted for assassination by belligerent siblings, business colleagues or the US military, those criminal types are gonna go nuts.
Which, seeing as more locally active superheroes like Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist haven't been introduced yet, is going to be a real problem.
As in, a stay indoors at night, don't let your kids play outside sort of problem.
With added impending-Thanos.
Plus, those guys fighting crime? They're vigilantes - which there are going to be a whole lot more of. Which is going to need even more work for already struggling police departments.
What's more, that general, all-consuming terror everyone's going through? That's going to cost everyone a whole lot more than real life does.
The Cost of Living Is Now Reeeeeeally High
After all, someone's going to have to pay for the much needed war on crime, plus that new war on Hydra, and, y'know, that whole giant, gaping hole in the budget.
And that someone is going to be everybody.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taxes are going to rise, insurance premiums are going to rocket (just think what homeowners insurance in Manhattan is going to cost now...) and people everywhere are going to be stockpiling food every time Tom Hiddleston comes on TV.
Which is terrible, and all - especially as at any moment the Hulk could - and probably will - destroy your house - but it's probably not going to get blamed on the superheroes. After all, those guys totally saved the world a bunch of times.
Instead, it's going to lead to a new cottage industry - genuinely accurate conspiracy theories.
In fact, you kind of have to feel for all of the old-school conspiracy theorists in the MCU. They just got put out of a job by Black Widow releasing all of the secrets- seeing as there's an actual, factual conspiracy that really was pretty much running the world.
Everything bad that's ever happened, all throughout modern history? That's going to get blamed on Hydra.
You can pretty much guarantee that in the MCU, the countries going to be divided into a whole bunch of people who are a bit busy right now since they just lost their house because Iron Man just fell through it - and a whole lot more who think things would've been different if that Winter Soldier dude hadn't faked that moon landing.
Which, come to think of it, was probably organized by Hydra anyway.
The most noticeable change, though, is yet to come:
Thought the internet was killing traditional media? You ain't seen nuthin' yet:
Superheroes Killed The Radio (and TV, and Movie) Star
Think about what you watched at the movies this year? Odds are, there were a whole lot of superhero movies in there, a whole bunch of sci-fi, maybe some action.
Well, not in the MCU.
Who's going to pay to see an action movie when they can just look out of their window and watch Hawkeye blowing up a nearby grain silo, or Black Widow scaling a skyscraper of some sort?
Superhero movies most likely wouldn't exist - and if they did, they'd be more like CSI - procedural shows about the mundane daily routines of superheroes.
Which means the backbone of the entertainment industries profit margin just jumped out the window - and into the waiting arms of reality television.
Yup, that's right - no-one will care about comics, or superhero movies, or sci-fi.
Because that's just life in the MCU. You can watch Iron Man beat up Whiplash on the nightly news.
Which means...wait. Which means...
There'd be no MoviePilot.
And you wouldn't be reading this article, because...why would you?
Iron Man's already real.
So, just in case, ladies and gentlemen - welcome to the newly rebranded - and MCU-safe - WhatThatWeirdGuyInTheCapeIsDoingOutsideYourWindowPilot.com.
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Thankfully, [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035), when it arrives May 1, 2015, most likely won't destroy the world as we know it.