Geek Girls Rule #315 – Review: Mad Max Fury Road


Holy shit!  Go see this movie!  Ok, so first, you’ll be pissing off whiny MRA douchecanoes.  Bonus.  Then there’s the fact that Mad Max is actually the sidekick.  The wives of Immortan Joe have actual agency.  They ask Furiosa to rescue them.  Charlize Theron kicks much ass.

Now, is it the most feminist of feminist movies out there?  No.

Is it the most feminist action movie I’ve ever seen?  Yes.

Definitely more feminist than Tomb Raider.

Max gets the the creepy objectifying camera angles more often than the women do.

The cinematography is gorgeous.  The use of CGI sparing.  They created all those cars and the stunts were done live.

Many people have complained, “the first time you see the wives, they’re bathing and making their diaphanous garments all see through.”  The only part of any garment that actually gets see through, is the part over Splendid’s very pregnant belly.  There is exactly one naked woman, and she has set herself out as bait to lure would-be attackers in, so that the other women she lives with can kill them.  Which doesn’t happen for reasons.  Also, yes, Immortan Joe’s wives are fairly scantily clad, but the camera doesn’t linger on those bits.  It mostly focuses on their faces, particularly in reaction shots to Max doing or saying something clueless.  I kind of particularly love the Dag, and her hissed profanities.  Also, Max doesn’t react sexually to the women.  He reacts sexually to the water.

Charlize Theron did an amazing job as Imperator Furiosa.
Charlize Theron did an amazing job as Imperator Furiosa.

Max recognizes that Furiosa is a better shot than he is.  He also recognizes that she is a better driver than he is, especially with her rig.  And undoubtedly a better mechanic.

I loved every second of this movie.  Yeah, it’s kind of a gut-punchy roller coaster ride.  I did have a moment of raw emotional reaction when it showed the women hooked up to the milking machines.  The guy who played Immortan Joe did a fantastic job of conveying everything with his eyes.  And fuck Nicholas Hoult for making me cry.  Jerk.

The film has received criticism saying that it can’t be feminist because it is violent (Anita Sarkeesian).  This is a really well-intentioned but still misogynist statement.  That whole “women are the most peaceful” gender is bullshit.  Women are just as capable of violence, and by extension abuse, as men are.  Just because we are socialized to be more gentle does not mean that it is a default state.  And the assumption that it’s a default state harms women more than it helps them.  From the cops demanding to know why you tried to defend yourself and “just made him madder” to people who will assume if you carry a weapon, that you can’t use it because woman.  It’s bullshit.  And we need to be wary of how our internalized misogyny affects us, particularly in setting our gender up on a pedestal of peace we do not deserve, nor that we should particularly want.

Nor should we be letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.  If you personally abhor violence, great.  I’m not a big fan of real life violence myself.  I’ve taken a punch or two. It sucks and I do not recommend it.  However, I’m also one of the first people to admit that sometimes pretend violence can be exceptionally cathartic.  Hence my addiction to the Houses of the Dead franchise.  I found this movie to be exceptionally cathartic.  This is by far the least sexist action movie I’ve ever seen.  Is there room for improvement?  Yeah, probably.  Is it perfectly feminist?  No.  But is it a damn sight better than what we’ve had before?  Yup.

It’s a big, gorgeous film full of kick ass ladies, and really should be seen on a big screen.  I highly recommend!

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Oh, and Honey Badger’s first two songs are available for download here, for free or pay what you want.  We’re also part of a larger compilation to benefit a local venue, with a song written by yours truly.  Check it out (we’re track 16).



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