With its comic book style and powerful female cast, Mad Max: Fury Road stands out at the box office. The movie follows Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) through, yet another, post-apocalyptic society that is being controlled by the warlord, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne) and his band of War Boys. The conflict begins after Furiosa tries to liberate the leader’s prisoners. Immortan Joe locked up five young girls as his breeders, and Furiosa intended to free them the only way she knew how, through Fury Road. *Insert fire emojis here*
Years before, Furiosa became one of the Citadel’s prized warriors. She was stolen from her home, only referred to as “the green place” aka a society of Many Mothers and intended to return there with the girls. In what was a male dominated toxic wasteland, this “green place” was the only hope Furiosa and The Five Wives had. After initially escaping, Immortan Joe sends his army after them, and the most epic car chase I’ve ever seen ensues, filled with insanity, violence and Joe’s personal guitarist playing on top of a monster truck.
So far the film has been praised for it’s cinematic composition and condemned for containing “feminist propaganda”, though the media can’t seem to decide whether or not this is a “feminist” film. It certainly wasn’t trying to be either way. Director, George Miller, made no attempts at a “feminist agenda” – it just happened.
The movie is bursting with bad-ass women breaking stereotypes. We have the main female protagonist, Furiosa, who can match Max with her abilities at every turn. They each have strengths and weaknesses that they build off each other. She’s not his sidekick, OR his love interest, they’re equals.
We have our amazing troupe of female prisoners (two of whom are pregnant) that aren’t just wasting away as damsels-in-distress, they’re taking shots, loading weapons and risking their lives. They are far from the helpless beauties they were originally made out to be. Down the road, we meet the Many Mothers, a “tribe” (or whatever you want to call it) of older women all down to help fight the good fight. These older women all keep up with the rest of the warriors, and each female character has exciting aspects to bring to the battle and the new world (something that’s hard to find in movies these days).
Now, that is one powerful crew.
The film also boasts a few more messages surrounding the escape of the warlords “wives”. The phrase “WE ARE NOT THINGS” is found emblazoned on the walls of their chambers when the tyrant discovers they’re missing, a message that is still needing to be pushed by women over and over again.
If you’re still confused over whether or not the film is a positive addition to women, Vagina Monologues author and creator, Eve Ensler, even consulted on the film’s script and spoke to the cast about violence against women.
All the over-politicization aside, Mad Max was a beautiful film. The art alone was incredible, but combined with the action, the music, and the cast, this movie changed my life. Which, I admit, I say a lot – I’m a lover, not a hater, but I’m like super serious this time. Mad Max was the first movie in a long time where I wasn’t hyper-aware of how long it was (even with the Blackhawks game fast-approaching.) While it may not be a perfect representation of modern feminism, it is a start. It was a film that showed that you can still have a strong female cast, even in a world of fire, blood and extremely masculine main characters.