I watched Mad Max a few days ago after hearing so much discussion about how good the movie was. I’m going to discuss the movie generally and won’t be giving any spoilers. While I did enjoy the movie, I was dissapointed at how the world was created. I loved the idea but so much more could have been done. Don’t you hate when that happens? When you watch a movie that you love it’s potential but it just doesn’t reach it? Well the world of Mad Max was like that for me.
But on the topic of Furiosa (the main female lead, Charlize Theron) she was exactly what I wanted in a female warrior. She is currently my favourite main female character EVER. She was a female lead that was not sexualized. Yes. Let that sink in. She was a badass, kick-ass woman who was NOT sexualized. They have her fight in the movie, dirty, gritty, and unrestrained fighting. What I also love about the movie is that no-one questions her gender, or her rough appearance, or underestimates her ability to fight. Not even the villains. They know that she’s powerful and they try to outsmart her. While the director of this movie didn’t intend on making a feminist movie, this movie has definitely made massive waves in the feminist community and many others. Tumblr is currently exploding with so much fanart of Furiosa, fanfiction, etc. They have gripped onto this movie (that I thought could’ve even been better in terms of world-building) because we have been given something we rarely have before. A badass female lead who is not sexualized, who is gritty, and has her own well-established arc independent of the men in the movie. And there are many other female characters in the movie who all have their own arcs which I was happy to see too. To be honest, it’s probably the first action movie I have seen with SO many established female characters. It was sad when I realised that. It really stood out to me how many women were on screen and I was annoyed that it looked ‘different’ and ‘odd’. I can see why so many people are obsessed with her and what she represents as an action hero. Her character particularly impacted me considering how disappointed I was with Black Widow, as an action hero, in the Avengers.
So while I was very impressed with Furiosa, the movie made me feel a bit ‘ergh’ in terms of the world and story. I felt like there could have been more complexity and depth instead of so many action sequences (I love action but… as long as it does not sacrifice the story/world). I wish they had taken some more time with the writers to push it to that next level because then this movie would have been legendary. But Furiosa makes the movie. She makes me want to see it again. She makes me recommend it to others. The movie should have been called “Imperator Furiosa”. She is the reason it will be remembered.
I’ll finish my little rant here and leave you with a quote about Furiosa. Have you watched Mad Max? What did you think of the world? What did you think of Furiosa?
“Yes, Furiosa exists in a lineage (see above), and, yes, plenty of other action films have featured female leads. But what’s notable here is how Furiosa being a woman both is and isn’t integral to her character. (In the same way that her missing arm both is and isn’t integral to her character.) In Alien, the character of Ripley was written as a man, then cast as a woman, which was a breakthrough at the time — but also a kind of cinematic drag act. Why can’t a woman play a man’s role? Well, sure — but the better question, only now being asked, is, Why can’t a woman’s role take the place of the man’s role? Furiosa could never be played by a man — the character would make no sense — and not, as with many other female action heroes, because of the kind of costume she wears. She is not simply Indiana Jones in hot pants or Lolita with armor-piercing rounds. Furiosa is a woman, and she is a hero, and she’s cool as hell, and she’s simultaneously recognizable and revelatory as all three. If you’re an action fan and you can’t admit that you’d eagerly watch ten more Furiosa films in the next ten years, then I’d have to ask again if you’re an action fan.”