Movie review by Derrick Baptise
I remember watching the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road a few months ago, and thinking “Wow, this looks like utter lunacy. I hope they didn’t just give us all the best parts right here.” And then almost everything from the trailer happened in the first 30 minutes. AND IT ONLY GOT CRAZIER FROM THERE.
I genuinely think Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action films in years. It’s certainly the best blockbuster in years, I think. It made me realize that I may have been too easy on other movies I have reviewed
While this film throws you in the midst of the story it provides just enough context for the story can be enjoyable as well as understanding. Sure, there’s a whole world out there to explore, but the narrative is cut down to just the things you need to know. It doesn’t try too hard to explain. It trusts that we the audience is smart enough to figure things out on there on. The opening scene with Immortal Joe releasing the water on to the masses tells us everything we need to know about the dynamics of the citadel. The brief flashes of the little girl tell us all we need to know about who Max is.
Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, has so many little touches that complete her as a character. When she explains to a group of characters that her mother is dead, and they do that gesture. Furiosa does the gesture herself, trying it out; it speaks so much of the history of the character and her world as a whole. There has been no place for mourning in her life. That one gesture just says so much.
The film is really daring in that way. It is a big movie filled with small, potent details. It’s a simple, straightforward film, but it’s not dumb. Blockbusters get a lot of leeway for being dumb as long as they’re fun. Well this is a fun film that also lends itself to many interesting interpretations. It’s just a mad, mad, world and it seems we’ve only gotten a small glimpse of it.
The film is one of the most overtly feminist mainstream films of all time. There I said it; I acknowledged the elephant in the room that so many people have already spoken on.
The women in this film are incredible and I believed every second of it. Max is physically imposing but as a pure fighter he doesn’t hold a candle to Furiosa. He’s bigger and maybe has her outmanned in hand-to-hand combat, but it’s a realistic result of their size differential. She’s tougher, meaner, handier, and a much better shot.
But the film also doesn’t go the bumbling idiot and clear-minded woman who keeps him on the right path route. They help one another. The women aren’t damsels in distress/escort missions and they’re not untouchable. They’re real people in a bad situation.
I kept thinking to myself “why is this feeling so… unique?” and I realized that I never see women getting killed in action movies without some unnecessarily dramatic attention paid to the fact that she died. They treated their skills, dialogue, action, and deaths as they would any other male character, and that was so refreshing.
I don’t think anyone can argue that this film wasn’t a masterpiece of design, at the very least. It’s visually much more interesting than your average nine-figure-budget film. Every frame is just bursting with imagination.