Review: Mad Max: Fury Road Is The Perfect Feminist Action Movie
Title: Mad Max: Fury Road
Director:Screenwriter: George MIller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris
Principal Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, and Courtney Eaton
Summary: In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.
Full disclosure time: I don’t believe I’ve seen any of the Mad Max movies. If I have seen them I don’t remember anything about them, aside from lots of people in crazy outfits driving around the desert. I was also under the impression that you didn’t need to know much about the story of the previous movies going into Mad Max: Fury Road. So if they completely destroyed something canonical I wouldn’t have noticed. This movie has been high on my list since I saw the first trailer drop. I like good action movies (emphasis on the “good” part) and in a summer filled with action movies I wondered if Mad Max: Fury Road would even register.
Mad Max: Fury Road is not only a great movie that might be one of the best things I’ve seen this year, but it is also a beautiful example of how an action movie can be feminist.
It seems like my saying that this movie is feminist is inviting segments of the internet to come and attack me, but this is important; Mad Max: Fury Road is a feminist action movie. I don’t mean that stupid definition of feminist as “man hating”, but a movie that has a group of women banding together to protect each other from the horror that is their lives. I tried to go into this movie with almost no idea what the story was and I’ll do my best not to spoil it, too. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) might not be beautiful in a conventional sense, but with black grease smeared across her forehead and wicked looking eyes you know that she’s not someone to be trifled with. She is never accused of being weak for being a woman and she is highly capable of taking care of herself. She is never objectified and isn’t just a “tough girl” because she very clearly has emotions that she expresses. A strong female character can show moments of fear or weakness, like real human beings, but the strength comes from the ability to push past or even accept them and move on. Furiosa shows that Theron could helm an action move by herself any day of the week and I would throw tons of money at it.
The supporting cast consists of almost entirely women, but I don’t want to spoil who they are or what their purposes is because it’s a great reveal. Tom Hardy is doing the Tom Hardy thing he does as Max Rockatansky. He doesn’t speak much and when he does it’s so soft that you can barely hear him, yet he manages to be an impressive force. He is plagued by flashbacks to scenes of the past that are sometimes like a horror movie dropped right in the middle of the production. Nux (Nicholas Hoult), is one of the War Boys, who has been chasing Furiosa and using Max’s blood to keep him alive. He’s fairly likable by the end of the movie, though his main purpose was to help move a few plot points around. Immonrtan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) is our antagonist and he does a great job. Between his costume design and his almost Darth Vader like voice as he hides weakness behind an oxygen tank, he’s an old man that is terrifying more so because of the loyalty he creates to those around him than the man himself.
The movie, itself, is really an extended chase scene which is not a bad thing at all. I remember thinking to myself that it would make a great ride at Universal Studios and might be one of the few times I actually want to seek out D Box when I see the movie again. The thing that makes the various car chases and fights so great is that director and writer George Miller has stuck to the practical effects of the original series of movies. The lack of CGI just makes everything feel that much more real and really helps with the atmosphere of the movie. The music by Junkie XL really helps as well, and just makes you feel like you’re in the desert with the rest of the characters. Miller also manages to make the movie feel very human with certain reveals through the mind blowing action scenes.
Mad Max: Fury Road has director and writer George Miller returning to the post-apocalyptic genre and reminding everyone that this is how it’s done. Miller has already said if this one does well he has ideas for more, and if they are half as good as Mad Max: Fury Road then the action genre just got a lot more interesting. I absolutely recommended seeing this one because people are going to be talking about it for some time to come.