May. 17th, 2015

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Title notwithstanding, Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie about the Action Girl saving other women. The MRA community is acting out against it, which is generally a sign something is worth a closer look. Fury Road delivers. It passes the Bechdel test: women of diverse ages and agency emerge throughout the movie. And it's so organic to the story I didn't even notice.

It would be interesting to discuss the role of disability and damage in the movie, as well. The female protagonist is missing an arm, Max is having self-acknowledged mental health issues, and very few characters are in good physical or emotional shape.

It's still a violent postapocalyptic action movie, just with women, so if violent onscreen death is on your "nope out" list, wait for your reliable movie-screening companion(s) or until this comes out in DVD, so you can turn off the sound or fast-forward through the first half hour or so as appropriate.

If you're looking for discussion of the movie, Abigail Nussbaum nails my talking points and extends them to cultures of toxic masculinity (caution: spoilers):

A lot of what Fury Road does with regards to women--making the prime mover of the story a woman who is not sexualized or treated as the hero's prize, featuring multiple female characters, not all of whom are young and beautiful, passing the Bechdel test--is not so much revolutionary as the very baseline of what we should expect from most movies--what we would expect, if we hadn't become so accustomed to the toxic sludge of misogyny that Hollywood blockbusters have been serving up for twenty years. In fact, the more I think about it, the more Fury Road seems not like a revolution, but like a throwback to the action films of the 80s.

As someone who routinely nopes out of most action films for being, well, dumb, I appreciated this movie for being really clear about what it was trying to do, and doing that with excellence.

I also have seen Age of Ultron. How did a movie with Joss Whedon at the helm and Robert Downey Junior in front of the camera come out so bland?


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