My Very Belated Review of Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max Fury Road is probably going to be my pleasant movie-surprise of the year. I'm not a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, so I resisted going to this one for a while, but then the good reviews kept pouring in, so I got more and more curious and finally went to see it.
I was half-expecting a chase-in-the-desert movie with some cool one-liners thrown in and maybe a bit of "doesn't life suck." What I got was... well, it was just awesome. Yes, it was a chase in the desert, but it was so much more. The cinematography was amazing, the chase scenes were tense and exciting without becoming the chaotic mess that many other action movie scenes become. There is a ton of stuff going on, but thanks to the excellent camera angles, I was aware of it without being distracted. I can't tell you enough how good that made the action. (If you want the opposite of this style, see/remember Cloverfield). The chase scenes weren't just about the action either, they were a delivery mechanism for showcasing the characters' personalities and skills. Instead of a cheap thrill and boredom, I got a wealth of information every time the bad guys got caught up to the good guys. It was quite refreshing, and I was half-sad to see the movie end but left the theater quite satisfied.
One of the best aspects of this film was that Max (Tom Hardy) is not the star of the movie, he's one of two stars along with Imperator Furiosa (Charliz Theron). The film isn't so much about Max as it is about the time when Imperator Furiosa and Max crossed paths. The story is set up to be a meeting of heroes, a meeting of equals, and it really made the movie feel epic in a way that no other post-apocalyptic film I've seen has. It just kicked ass.
I just want to make one more note here, and that's about Imperator Furiosa (Charliz Theron). She's probably one of the coolest, most bad-ass characters to come out in recent years. There's already a lot out on the 'web about how cool she is and how she is the first good, female role-model to come out in a long time, and I agree. Much like Ellen Ripley, Furiosa deserves her status as an iconic character, not because she's a "strong female" or because she can kick-ass (she can), but because she is both able to show emotion without weakness, and because she is a force of will—an active agent in her own destiny. Agency is what makes a good character worthy of admiration, be they male or female, and Imperator Furiosa has it in spades.
Okay, enough of my babbling. See the movie if you haven't, and see if you agree with me.