Mad Max: Fury Road

I’m breaking from my typical review format with Mad Max: Fury Road because this film is an all around different beast of a movie.

I think the first priority is to give a shoutout to my boy Marcus (also known as Nicholas Hoult). To “About A Boy” fans, watching little Marcus grow from the adorable awkward little kid he was into a truly superb actor is a great experience. Just look at how far he has come:

Nicholas Hoult as Marcus in 2002's About A Boy.

Nicholas Hoult as Marcus in 2002’s About A Boy.

Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max: Fury Road

Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max: Fury Road

You go, Nicholas Hoult.

Moving on.

As of my writing this, “Mad Max: Fury Road” has brought in $24.6 million. This is significant because it is arguable that “Max Max: Fury Road” is a women’s liberation smash hit. This is a Hollywood movie wherein the major plot line is liberating a group of women from being “breeders,” or in other words sex slaves. And who headed this liberation? A kick-ass woman named Imperator Furiosa played by Charlize Theron. For a movie coming out of Hollywood, this is a big deal.

MM-Main-Poster“Mad Max: Fury Road” wasn’t without its flaws in terms of female representation. The “breeders” were scantily clad, making them appear as eye candy. This kind of costume design is not only lacking in creativity, it is troublesome because women are more likely than men to appear in movies naked or nearly naked. This inequality can lead to female objectification and feeds rape culture, as well as the notion that women in film are there merely to look a certain way and appeal to the male gaze.

However, in the case of “Mad Max,” these scantily clad sex slaves didn’t just sit around waiting for Mad Max and Furiosa to save the day. They helped create their own destinies. Watching the movie I was taken aback by this. From the trailer, Charlize Theron looked like a great character but Hollywood is so terrible at female representation and portrayal that I was shocked to see a group of women fighting for their own lives instead of waiting for other people to save their lives for them.

And that’s not all.

“Mad Max” also included a group of older women who helped with the rescue. They were smart, strong, and badass. The only downside was additional female nudity portrayed as a trap (it was unclear for whom the trap was set). I did not find this nudity necessary so I think it only added to the inequality in film.

“Mad Max” has some typical Hollywood issues in terms of female representation. There were some cheesy and unbelievable moments, such as when faced with an entire harem of armed women a metal-masked and chained Mad Max still managed to beat them in a fight. That was utter nonsense. But, overall I think “Mad Max” was a win for women in Hollywood.

Furiosa is fantastic. All female characters fought for their own and had depth. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is primarily female driven, despite the title implying it is about a man. Overall it wasn’t my favorite movie. But in terms of a step forward for women in film, I think “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a vital addition to Hollywood’s repertoire.

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3 thoughts on “Mad Max: Fury Road

  1. I’ve seen a few articles from feminist critiques in regards to the scantily clad women. The ire that it draws baffles me. To speed up the conversation and skip a lot of tired, overdone debate; The women, in addition to many make characters had a good deal of skin exposed. According to certain online feminists, the female exposure was different, because it was more sexualized.

    I disagree with this viewpoint because I believe sexualization is in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t feel like the semi undressed women in this movie had to be sexual… Their sexualization is a trick performed by any viewer that wanted to view them sexually.

    This movie does incredible justice for women in action movies, and I hope it ushers in a new generation of female positive films.

    PS: Aliens still does a better job, and Ellen Ripley trumps Furiosa 10 out of 10 times

    • I agree that sexualization to a large degree is in the eye of the beholder. People will sexualize people no matter what they are wearing. I will say that the difference between men and women in terms of bare skin is women in film are much likelier to be clad in less clothing, and to be in positions/circumstances that can generally be considered overtly sexualized regardless of a viewer’s ability to sexualize whatever they want. But over all, this film does–as you said–do incredible justice for women in action films. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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