By Payton Pruitt
In a day and age where the media is slowly gaining more focus to the world around it in terms of recognizing misdeeds of past generations, and seeing that issues thought to be over are still very much a problem, having cinema to help send messages like that are always welcomed, but not by all.
There has been some rumor going around that Mad Max isn’t the guy movie that it claims to be, even when the trailers contain awesome cars, guns, explosions, a post-apocalyptic setting, and more explosions. There are those who claim that the movie is a horrible sort of deception, because apparently Mad Max, played by Tom Hardy, is not the star of the film despite his name being in the title. The film’s star is actually Charlize Theron, who plays Imperator Furiosa.
The story of the movie is pretty straightforward. Mad Max is taken captive by a group of brainwashed inbred warriors called “War Boys” who serve their sickly cult leader Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne. He is taken in to serve as a temporary blood supply to one of the sickly boys, all of whom are pale with some form of skin disease that their father and leader shares. During his time there, Imperator Furiosa takes the brides of Immortan Joe, who are just sex slaves and decides to take them to the Green Place of her childhood, where they can be happy in a matriarchal society governed by the Many Mothers. In a desert wilderness, the idea of green is rare, but welcomed and the brides want nothing more than to be taken far away from Immortan Joe. Max gets caught in the pursuit, and in the end joins Furiosa and the women as they try to escape Immortan Joe.
The film’s focus is mainly on Furiosa as she tries to get these women who have clearly suffered much at the hands of Immortan Joe’s lust into this Green Place. Max makes his appearance, and he seems not to do much with them other than tag along and be nothing more than the stoic side-character. Though there is some focus on him, seeing flashes of hallucinations that come from his case of PTSD and seeing how they lead him to stay with the women and help them find their new home. However, the story is mainly about Furiosa and the brides. It focuses on their strife and struggles, and they have more speaking lines than Max himself who, excluding the introductory monologue, has enough lines to count on both hands. In the end, Mad Max is nothing but a side story, and while many consider this to be a great step forward in changing the definition of the action genre, there are still those who disagree.
Shortly after the film was released Aaron Clarey wrote an article for the Men’s Right’s Advocates website ReturnofKings.com. In his article he called Mad Max: Fury Road a “feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick.” Furthermore, he claims that the movie is “the vehicle by which they are guaranteed to force a lecture on feminism down your throat. This is the Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things, including physique, strength, and logic. And this is the subterfuge they will use to blur the lines between masculinity and femininity, further ruining women for men, and men for women.”
This was the start of a long list of ideas and conspiracy about how feminists and feminism are trying to take over the media to make it their own and push men aside. There are many who disagree with this, including the male director George Miller, who thought it best to be as realistic as possible and consulted Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues, in order to best get the right idea of sex slavery for the characters. Each character in each situation is portrayed realistically. Although the brides wish to fight, they have no fighting experience and many of them can’t hold a gun. Mad Max, as a self-made expert in fighting, he is the one that helps in protecting them. This as well as Furiosa, who knows how to shoot plenty of guns even when her character is an amputee and only has one real arm. The villains are all portrayed as greedy bastards, and their followers are simply seen as blindly stupid with not much choice in what they would follow.
So, is feminism taking a stronger stance in the media? Maybe. Is this a bad thing? Not really. It opens the door to a new world of ideas about gender equality, which would be a welcomed thought in what most would consider to be a hyper-masculine society where men must be manly and women must be girly. Mad Max: Fury Road is admittedly not the best written or best paced movie of the Mad Max franchise, but it is certainly the most forward thinking and is a welcomed film in the action genre. If it turns out to be part of an overarching feminist conspiracy theory, then people will end up being brainwashed because it’s not the bad flick that the meninist’s claim it is.