After several decades of hemming and hawing in the face of the evidence that movies about female heroes and/or starring more than one woman can be financially successful, I suspect that Wonder Woman finally was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before Wondy, we had the moderately successful Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; coming next year, we will be #blessed by Ocean’s Eight. However, the thing about the latter two films, both reboots of previously all-male franchises, is that they are movies where the gender of the protagonists is incidental. That’s why it’s possible to reboot them with women; there’s no reason a lady can’t bust a ghost or rob a casino as effectively as a dude.
Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I have been obsessed with Mad Max: Fury Road for the last few months. I’ve seen it three times so far, and since the original Mad Max film was pretty underwhelming by comparison, I’ve been digging about the internet for fuel to feed the fire of my obsession. Naturally, I was pumped to learn that Vertigo is publishing a series of tie-in comics, so I rode forth to purchase them last week with a furious fixation. Unfortunately, much like the four puny cylinders in my orange Honda Element, the Mad Max: Fury Road comics felt wildly inadequate compared to my newly elevated expectations.
If you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, you’re really missing out. It’s more or less a complete feminist masterpiece, set in a strangely intriguing post-apocalyptic sci-fi world, with lots of awesome explosions. There are so many things I could say about the film, but today I’m going to stick with the way it plays with religion. Fury Road isn’t a movie that hits you over the head with a moral or a message (unless you count the wives shouting “We are not things!”), but like all good science fiction, it has a lot to say. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity of the film’s use of religion. It shows us how the power of faith can be used both to inspire the best in humanity and to utterly destroy it.
Let’s start with this: I have never seen any of the original Mad Max movies. I barely know enough about them to understand pop culture references to them. And one week ago, I had no intention of seeing Mad Max: Fury Road at all.
Then this happened: Men’s Rights Activists the internet over started pissing their pants about the movie’s blatant feminist agenda. Now, I don’t consider myself a spiteful person by a long shot, but if doing something is going to make bigots angry, sign me right up. If it has the added perk that I get to watch lots of explosions and cool action on top of that, well, that’s just gravy. While the pessimist in me felt that there was no way that the movie could be as bad (which is to say, good) as the MRAs claimed, I was determined to give it a go. My (also deeply skeptical) mom and I hit the cinema on Monday night to take this so-called feminist screed into our eyeballs.
And holy hell, I loved it.
(Trigger warning for discussion of rape below the jump—nothing explicit. Also, spoilers.)
It’s probably bad form to write a post reccing a fanfic from something that you haven’t written the actual review of yet. To that I say: I do what I want. Tomorrow you’ll get a bona fide Mad Max: Fury Road review from me, but today, I’ve got a delightful Furiosa-centric fic for your reading pleasure.
When Furiosa is named Imperator and given the War Rig to drive, she does not feel anything. It growls under hands. She paints her face in engine grease and she drives like a demon, but her dreams are empty, and the green place does not exist. She does not see the Wives anymore, she avoids them because Angharad still looks at her like she has the answer. She avoids them because they are too much like the many mothers from her childhood. Women who she had loved and who had loved her.
Angharad tells the Wives that they are not things and Furiosa beats her fist bloody against a wall because it’s too dangerous. These girls will get themselves killed with things like hope and things like freedom. Furiosa is calm water, but Angharad bandages her split knuckles with a strip from her dress, and looks at her like she knows every truth.
When Angharad becomes pregnant, she comes to Furiosa with a plan.