“Mad Max: Fury Road” Is The Kickass Feminist Action Movie We’ve Been Waiting For

Yo, mutha flowers, a bunch of us went to go see Mad Max Fury Road this past weekend. Had we known how incredible it was going to be, we would have organized a caravan of all you beautiful queers across the country to come together and watch it as a pack; a sexy, renegade pack of unapologetic feminists ready to blow shit up in the name of freedom and solidarity.

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Title-Card

But even on our own, in our own hometowns, in separate movie theaters, we watched and fell in love with the delicious, delirium-inducing, debauchery that is Mad Max Fury Road.

Also, Charlize Theron as Furiosa, the real hero of this entire film. Ay, mi corazón. Let’s discuss. SPOILERS!

Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa

Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa


Furiosa, Mad Max, & The Five Wives

Mey, Trans Editor:

One of my favorite things about this movie was that it not only had its Hard Butch heroine in Furiosa, but that the Five Wives, who were presented as being these beautiful, feminine, helpless girls who were coddled and pampered (but also sex slaves), also got their chances to shine and have some really cool action moments. All of the women in this movie were capable, not just the one named Capable. Toast the Knowing, Cheedo the Fragile, The Splendid Angharad, Capable and The Dag (has there ever been a movie with cooler character names???) all did things that helped ensure their survival. None of them were helpless damsels in distress. And let’s not forget the Vuvalini, who give us even more diverse kickass women. There were just so many awesome women in this movie!

Furiosa, The Five Wives & Nux

Furiosa, The Five Wives & Nux

Audrey, Contributing Editor:

Charlize Theron delivers a captivating, challenging performance as Furiosa, arguably her best since Monster, as she barrels across the desert in a souped-up war rig to carry five angelic, badass women to a search for hope. Those women each embody their own strength and grace, overcoming fear and internalized misogyny to create a vision for a new life. Instead of forming a chorus of interchangeable former sex slaves, they are five women with their own goals, struggles and connections to each other and other characters. I want to watch the movie again and focus only on their experiences with and reactions to the horror unfolding around them, because there is immense texture within their stories.

We only spend real time with two male characters in the film: Max, whose struggle with PTSD is one of the most honest portrayals of mental illness I’ve ever seen on film, and who seems perfectly happy to play backup to Furiosa’s commandership; and Nux, whose transformation from mindless, frothing henchman to a helper who finds his beating heart through the kindness of freed slave Capable speaks deep truth about allyship and sacrificing our own privilege to pursue liberation for all.

Tom Hardy as Mad Max

Tom Hardy as Mad Max

Hannah, Contributing Editor:

Charlize Theron carried the weight of the film’s emotional journey, and managed to do so even though pretty much the whole entire film was a high speed car chase. Tom Hardy as Max, though the title character, was pretty much eye candy. I actually fucking love Tom Hardy. He’s crazy talented and not sore on the eyes either. But I felt like his Mad Max was a little… introverted.

Okay, but those sister wives are what confuse me. In a film with such a strong female lead, how could George Miller write such thoroughly forgettable supporting characters? Zoë Kravitz and Abbey Lee stood out against the rest of the damsels in distress as genuinely talented, but the others weren’t really given the opportunity. Also – not that I expect anything more from a big budget Hollywood action film – but how in the hell is Zoë Kravitz the sole black person in this future earth?! Am I to infer that when hell broke loose the people of color were the first to go? Because that’s actually how I’ve been making sense of it.

The Five Wives of Mad Max Fury Road

The Five Wives of Mad Max Fury Road

Also, not that I expect anything more from a big budget Hollywood action film, but how in the hell is Zoe Kravitz the sole black person in this future earth?! Am I to infer that when hell broke loose the people of color were the first to go?

Gabby, QTPOC Editor:

Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the HBIC in this movie. I had my palm raised to the universe the second she took control of that big rig and led the charge across the desert. She’s tough, like hella-fucken tough, and I wanted to be in the rig with her. She’s over dealing with some patriarchal, violent goon, dude-monster. He’s a rapist, a slave owner and he’s hoarding all the natural resources, like the CEO of Nestle.

The Patriarchy

The Patriarchy

And Charlize’s Furiosa, is ready to snatch his post-apocalyptic reign of terror and take her enslaved homegirls with her. And she does: Furiosa fights like a UFC champ and did we mention that’s she’s an amputee? All praise our homegirls that are disabled ‘cuz they can and will fuck shit up and lead us into the promised land. Hallelu.


Mad Max Fury Road: All The Extra Feels

Audrey, Contributing Editor:

Mad Max: Fury Road feels revolutionary. The film is essentially a two-hour chase scene, complete with infinite gunshots and explosions, a few desolate wastelands, and a fantastical rig where half-living goons beat the drums — and shred the flaming guitars — of war. Inside these trappings, Mad Max tells the stories of powerful women fighting furiously for liberation.

mad-max

Furiosa & The Five Wives

Overall, the film is wonderfully acted, beautifully filmed and scored, and perhaps the most ardently feminist blockbuster film I’ve ever seen.

Mey, Trans Editor:

Holy cow I loved this movie. Like, who woulda thought that a Mel Gibson movie franchise would have turned into an awesome movie about a bunch of ladies looking badass and powerful and beautiful and then acting even more badass and powerful and beautiful?! I also loved that while the movie is called Mad Max Max is, at best, an ancillary character; the movie could have easily happened without him.

It was anti-rape, anti-military, anti-totalitarianism and strongly pro-women. I mean, it was pretty much just a group of women fighting against toxic masculinity, and doing it in a movie genre that’s normally reserved for celebrating toxic masculinity.

This movie was so straight up anti-patriarchy, it was amazing. The whole plot was about them trying to escape or defeat the evil hyper-masculine world of the Citadel and the men who run it. It was anti-rape, anti-military, anti-totalitarianism and strongly pro-women. I mean, it was pretty much just a group of women fighting against toxic masculinity, and doing it in a movie genre that’s normally reserved for celebrating toxic masculinity. It was all about these Wives who were sex slaves to the Immortan Joe, but as Kate Leth pointed out on twitter, there wasn’t actually any sexual violence in the movie, which is pretty amazing for a post-apocalyptic action movie about sex slaves.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.24.57 PM

Brittani, Comedy and Sports Editor:

I liked Mad Max because it shows us what will happen if men continue to be in charge: they will destroy everything and develop a weird obsession with breast milk. Though this movie’s plot is literally, “Oh, we have to go to this one place, oops no, let’s go back” and it explains SO LITTLE of what you’re expected to just accept as the reality of the situation, I still enjoyed it. At one point men are only allowed to stay with a group of badass women because they are competent, which is a pretty low bar but still not the standard men are held to today. I also like that the Baby Man Army is nursed back to health via blood because it’s furr shurr a shout out to PERIODS.

PERIODS ARE THE DEVIL.

PERIODS ARE THE DEVIL.

Other favorite moments include finding which men could not keep a beat in any scene with drums. Overall, it is one of those movies where like no one cares that you can barely understand what the characters are saying because it’s not going to make anything make more sense. Also, for it to be a movie that is just non-stop violence, it doesn’t delight in it and isn’t terribly gruesome (which was my concern going in). I know that there’s so much misandry and feminism, but by far the best part of the movie is that fucking guitar situation and if you do not laugh every time it comes on screen, you don’t have joy in your life and I feel sorry for you.

At one point men are only allowed to stay with a group of badass women because they are competent, which is a pretty low bar but still not the standard men are held to today.

mad-max-fury-road-awesome-guitar-guy

Hannah, Contributing Editor:

This movie kicked ass. I was forced to watch it in 3D because everybody I was with wanted to, but I grinned through the nausea because there is not a moment in this film where really hot people aren’t kicking so much butt.

Gabby, QTPOC Editor:

I fucking love action movies. I love high-speed car chases, tough A.F. one-liners, and explosions. Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy watching men do stuff, unless they’re helping old ladies cross the street or carrying newborns in Baby Bjorns. I’m so completely over the whole “Watch Men Blow Things Up To Save People + Here Are Some Titties” movie genre, so I’m not ever trying to pay money to see male-dominated actions movies that often get their kicks from exploiting women and praising the brutality of men.

There are two reasons I went to go see Mad Max Fury Road:

Mad+Max+4+-+2015+Movies

  1. Charlize Theron’s Movie Poster ALH
  2. MRAs freaked out about it and the internet trolled them hard.

I had no idea Mad Max Fury Road was going to be one of the greatest feminist action blockbuster of all time.

Laura W., DIY/Craft Writer:

I really, really didn’t want to see Mad Max. But then Gabby told me that MRAs were protesting it and would I please go see it with her and I did a 180 and was like, “Heck yes!” So obviously I loved this movie; pretty much the only thing I didn’t like was the soundtrack. Since talking about movies isn’t really my forte, I thought I’d rewrite the soundtrack. With a little help from Ms. Rivera herself, I made an alternate soundtrack full of songs that fit Mad Max’s feminista vibe. What songs would you want to hear chicks smashing cars (and the patriarchy) to?

p.s. Am I the only one who wants to talk about how Nux was Tony from Skins? I can’t be, right?

WebbedExaltedHarvestmen

[STREAM THE PLAYLIST]

Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Shut Up and Drive – Rihanna
Bust Your Windows – Jazmine Sullivan
Sandstorm – Darude
Electric Lady – Janelle Monae feat. Solange
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
Boys Wanna Be Her – Peaches
Missing – Everything But The Girl
Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks
Independent Woman, Pt. I – Destiny’s Child
Freak Like Me – Santigold
Just a Girl – No Doubt


So there you have it, gorgeous warriors of the desert. Now, if you haven’t seen it, round up all your best homies and make a trek to the nearest theater. Have a few drinks beforehand or afterwards and make a night of it. Go with your fists raised high and salute big, stupid, glorious, Hollywood blockbusters and what it looks like when stories aren’t tailored to men and their fragile egos. Go see what it looks like when we’re driving the smoking tractor-trailers into the unknown and fighting for our sisters to live free.


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Profile gravatar of gabby

Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.

52 Comments

  1. 0

    Yessssss!

    I saw this on Sunday with friends, and went into the theater with pretty much no idea (other than general knowledge of the Mad Max movies) of what it was about.

    It was pretty much the greatest thing ever. Epic car chases, epic feminism, and the psychotically epic Doof Warrior (the name of the guitar character. His truck is the Doof Wagon).

    One warning: if you are driving home after the movie, be aware that the urge to start running people off the road is pretty damn strong.

  2. 0

    Oh goddess! Taylor & I went to see it last night. I think her exact words when we left the theater were “Blood, Mother’s Milk, Seeds… Charlize Theron”

    I haven’t been as happy with an action movie since the Alien franchise or Terminator 2.

    Y’all we were in a movie theater, with line of men wrapped around the building, to see a feminist action movie in america! Never did I expect to see this day.

    When Max gave Furiosa the gun because he knew and accepted that she was a better shot!

    eeeeeeeeeeeeee! I am having all the Furiosa, Fury Road feelings.

  3. 0

    ” but how in the hell is Zoë Kravitz the sole black person in this future earth?! Am I to infer that when hell broke loose the people of color were the first to go? ”

    This has almost always been the case when it comes to movies/tv shows set in the future. Yay, Zoe Kravitz though.

    I have every intention of seeing this film since it’s getting such good reviews from pretty much everyone. I have yet to come across any review that hated the film. And I have always loved the Mad Max franchise in general. Yes, even Beyond Thunderdome. I will not apologize.

  4. 0

    I was basically obsessed with this entire movie. But the part that got me the most, when I was like ‘yes, this is the feminist action movie I have been waiting my whole life for,’ was when the one Vuvalini was naked bait in the tower and yet you never saw any gratuitous nudity, even in this part that had nudity that was actually useful to the story line. It was glorious. I will be purchasing this movie the day it comes out and then rewatching it forever.

  5. 0

    My mom dragged me (almost literally) to see this, and not knowing anything about it, I hated the first five minutes. As soon as Charlize Theron showed up, passed the Bechdel Test, and kicked ass, it won me over. I gushed the whole way home.

    Also, how great is the name Vulvani?

    Additionally, it made me so happy that Max never kisses Furiosa. So happy.

    This is totally worth seeing, queerios.

  6. 0

    Saw this movie with a fellow feminist. We were literally surrounded by men in the movie theatre. This movie was so kickass, and loved that the leading woman was disabled. Also, a lot of ppl have said furiosa is queer. Is that cannon or more just they never mentioned it so we can read it as we want? There was defs a lack of people of colour in the movie which is super not okay. I like that mad max was basically not necessary to the movie, and how furiosa was leading this women but in a empowering I’ll help you if you want vs savioury way. I liked that there was a fair few disabled folks in the movie.

  7. 0

    I still can’t believe that this movie has actually been made.
    If there was ever a list of things Hollywood executives don’t want to have in their movies, I think Mad Max has almost all of them.

    I would understand if this was a low budget indie production, but a 2.000.000$ movie with high profile actors and incredible visuals? WTF?

    Maybe there is still hope for Hollywood. Looking at critics and stuff it looks like it might have an actual impact.

    But I guess we can at least have trust in the game industry to disappoint us. The Mad Max game looks like it has the the usual bearded bro protagonist…puh…for a moment i thought i was actually living in the future =D

  8. 0

    This movie wasn’t originally on my radar at all, but people all over the internet (okay, really just Cleolinda and Noelle Stevenson and now you guys) have been telling me how good it is! I’m so close to the end of this semester (one take-home final and one lab writeup to go), and have made my partner promise that we’ll see this as soon as all my work is in.

  9. 0

    This film felt like such a revelation, like that movie we had been asking for when asking for a female led action movie. Our prayers were answered and answered awesomely. It’s not perfect, yes. But it’s a huuuuuuuge step forward, steps I hope other people will follow in.

    The epitome of feminism, for me, was when one of the wives (The Dag) comments to an elderly Vuvalini (Keeper of the Seeds) about how she thought “they were above that”, referring to the violence. And then the Keeper of the Seeds goes on to say that because of the circumstances and the people that fuck everything up they needed to adapt and use violence. But she still carried the seeds and hoped for more.

    I thought that was as feminist as anything could get!!

  10. 0

    Sorry, I didn’t like it.
    You know how there is PWP, Porn without Plot in fanfiction?
    This movie was AWP Action without plot.
    I went to see it because of the aforementioned feminism, which was there and great and such a relief, but there were so many logical loopholes (What do these people eat? How do they survive? How do they produce gas??) that I had a hard time tuning out and whenever I managed to tune out the absurdity, the guy with the guitar threw me.
    It was amazingly beautifully shot and I was super happy about the representation of disabled folks, but not my cuppa tea. I need more story.More world building and myth.
    I’m happy so many people liked it, though, because it’s got its heart in the right place and is very unHollywood.

  11. 0

    Zoe wasn’t literally the only POC in the film. Courtney Eaton, who played Dag, has Cook Island Maori and Chinese heritage.

    There were also quite a few indigenous Australians in the crowd scenes.

    (And one of the people in Max’s flashbacks was an indigenous man, but since those people were all people who Max let die, it probably doesn’t count).

  12. 0

    I’ve already seen it twice and I’m still trying to drag more friends to go watch it!

    To me Fury Road is one of the best “show, don’t tell” mainstream films and I actually like that it doesn’t go on lengthy expositions and lets you connect the dots via visual cues or implications and thus also allows for a quiet complexity that unveils itself in further viewings.

    Will definitely be going for a third watch~

  13. 0

    excellent movie. yea it’s not perfect but it’s on the right path. i wanted more women of color and i wanted the Wives to have more lines, but the movie did deliver on major fronts. I was so, so happy mad max and furiosa didn’t kiss. a romance would have been so absurd and infuriating, given the circumstance. you know wat’s funny, when the naked bait lady climbed down and all the vuvalini approached the rig and the bait lady pulled furiosa’s head to hers, i literally thought “HELL YEA THEYRE GONNA KISS IM SO HERE FOR THIS” lol but either way, im fine with it. some people were complaining that the Wives were nothing but objects in this film- precious cargo if you will. like i said, maybe a few more lines of dialogue wouldve shown us more personality. I wish there was Furiosa merchandise, like any Marvel character lol.

  14. 0

    Ah, my GF and I just saw this yesterday, mainly because of this review. We weren’t impressed by the trailer (if I hadn’t known I would have guestimated there were like 2 women in the film from the trailer), but after re-skimming the review, we decided to go. We also were wholly ignorant of the Mad Max franchise (literally in line we were like…is this a sequel? I haven’t heard of Mad Max 1. I’m sure everyone in line was dying.)

    I didn’t think I’d like a 2 hour car-chase-and-things-blow-up movie, but I was strangely invested. When I got home, my arms were sore cause I was clenching my fists the ENTIRE TIME without realizing it. Laura, I totally second the “WAIT THAT IS TONY FROM SKINS” sentiment. We just started watching that show, and we were confused as to why douchebag Tony was everywhere in our lives. Stop it, Tony.

    Anyway, I normally don’t love the genre, but I enjoyed this movie for many of the reasons already mentioned: strong women characters holding their own, it passes the Bechdel test, it doesn’t exploit depictions of sexual violence. I still didn’t know any of the wives’ names, though, and I couldn’t watch any of the Vulvani getting hurt (NOOOO, JUST LET HER PLANT THOSE SEEDS IN PEACE Y’ALL).

  15. 0

    ”But how in the hell is Zoë Kravitz the sole black person in this future earth?! Am I to infer that when hell broke loose the people of color were the first to go?”

    That’s pretty much exactly how I inferred it, especially since some of the earliest scenes of the film included forced head shaving, forced tattooing, and an eerie salute. Plus neo-nazis are all about their Norse mythology, so when everyone started shouting about Valhalla, the white supremacy behind this nondescript society seemed pretty clear. I also found it historically appropriate that the only black character had been cast as a sex slave, since slavery is wrought with a history of rape for the purpose of producing more slaves. These points gave me a lot of ecofeminist feels, which were especially compounded by the mother’s milk scene. I’m transitioning back to a vegetarian diet this week, as a result.

  16. 0

    I JUST saw it this week on Monday at the second (or third??) string movie theater in town that’s still playing Pitch Perfect 2 and Insidious: Chapter 3. OMFG I was not prepared for how much I would love Mad Max!!!! Since Monday I have done nothing but think about how I need to go back and see it again. A friend of mine asked me to write a review of it for her movie blog, so I am excited/nervous about that! I love reading folks’ reactions to it on here!!! Thank you all for putting your thoughts, feeling, and conflicted bits out there!! All of it

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