Note: NOT Mad Men. Mad Max. Mild spoilers in the last section!
I’ll start by saying while I am not really that into action, I very much like sci-fi and dystopian stories. My main motivation for seeing this (well, before I realized it was being called feminist by people who don’t know what a feminist is) was that it was supposed to be really beautiful and I wanted to see it on a big screen.
Mad Max is the best movie I’ve seen in years! Michael Bay could sit down and take some notes.
Reasons I loved it, probably reasons other people might not, haha.
- It is beautiful. Every shot is planned out and executed meticulously. The score is awesome and feels right the whole time (and by “right” I mean pumped up).
- It never stops. I mean, there are moments where there is a little bit of down time, and you can stop grinding your teeth for a second, but those moments are still filled with movement and there is still always someone right on the horizon coming after them.
- There is surprisingly little CGI (compared to what we expect these days), and you can tell. They truly built all those insane vehicles and drove them around in the dessert. A lot of the explosions were real.
- While there are two essential heroes, there is no moment where you are meant to worship them as if they are gods (this is why I think certain types of assholes like bad action movies, and why they hate this one - there is a white male being elevated to god status, and they want to identify with him).
- There was barely any need for dialog. That’s how satisfying and complete the action sequences were; nothing needed explaining. Small glances, facial expressions, breathing patterns - the story was expressed visually and I loved that about it.
- OMG the guitarist shredding to keep everyone amped up while they wreak chaos!?!?! OMG.
- It’s like a room full of people on drugs decided to do every crazy thing they could come up with. I love that they didn’t hold back
- They entirely suspended reality - no one peed, no one ate, no one got tired of running full speed, they just climb all over moving cars and jump between them with amazing physical prowess, there is never a moment of fear or hesitation - ALL reality is suspended. That might sound like a negative, at least for some people, but for me there are always these moments in movies where they clearly want you to see it as realistic and as they take more and more artistic license, you are pushed out of that mode by your human logic. I never had that disappointment because it never started that way.
On the “too feminists” complaints
As a person who looks for feminism vs. un-feminism in everything, this movie is barely feminist, and so, as usual, the MRAs are idiots. Particularly since they clearly haven’t seen it.
Make no mistake, there is a heavy undertone of women’s issues, in the sense that the whole premise is based on rescuing women from being unwilling incubators for their rulers’ children. This is about kick ass women in a huge way: these brave women running away from their captors, one VERY pregnant, Furiosa in a position of power in their military and taking initiative to get the wives out and defy men’s rule over them and her, and some older women kicking absolute ass at the end.
However, if you look at what the wives ever say, coupled with “we are not things” is also the intent to get out because they don’t want their children to be warlords. Raped and pregnant (well, one of them pregnant), they want to make a better life for any future children they have. The redheaded one’s compassion for Nux is based on what a terrible life he has had; they forgive these men trying to re-enslave them because they believe they had no choice and can’t help where they are. I mean, Jesus Christ - forgiving men for actively committing violence against them, that doesn’t sound very feminist at all. That sounds a lot like being nice and taking the high road and all those other things men are telling us to do in the face of our oppression.
(note: I am not angry about that theme - I just think it is a big deal and worth mentioning).
It’s true that Mad Max is not the protagonist; however, he is actively a hero in a damsel-in-distress scenario. I guess the MRAs’ problem with the setup is that he is sharing the protagonist status with Imperator Furiosa. I suppose the glory is supposed to be reserved for him. But he’s got TONS of screen time. It is still ABOUT him. They wouldn’t have won without him. He even saves Furiosa at the end. To act like he is some poor dude, emasculated and practically deprived of his own movie, is just goddamn absurd.
I don’t love this statement on the part of my SO, but it’s got some merit: he said, “What straight man doesn’t want to watch Charlize Theron kick ass like that?” Was she not dressed sexually enough? What is their problem, he asked. Well, their problem is that they are turned off by strong women who write their own plotlines, both in movies and in life.
In conclusion, these guys based a huge rant on a trailer and are now depriving themselves of seeing an awesome movie. A win for feminists, I suppose!