Misogynistic Max: Review of Fury Road

Those shitlords in Hollywood have done it again: they’ve made another “action” movie that spills so much testosterone on the floor that when we trip we fall back into 1955. Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth film in the once thought dead franchise, which for most people is a vague 80’s memory. The last film in this sexist series, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, was notable for Tina Turner starring as the last black woman on earth, and therefore, in Hollywood’s eyes, the villain.

This time around, the villain is a freshly butch Charlize Theron (notice how the woman lacking traditionally feminine traits, like long hair, is vilified) playing Imperator Furiosa, the leader of an postapocalalyptic army under the rule of an enlightened despot named Immortan Joe. This Patriarch rules over an idyllic desert realm where we first see him literally opening the spigot of government charity by bestowing water upon and ensuring the survival of even the lowliest of his followers.

In a shattered world of cutthroats and failure, this Immortan Joe (even his name, Joe, indicated his status as a champion of the people) stands alone as a symbol of order, both secular and spiritual. His appointment of a woman as the head of his armed forces, and a handicapped one at that, combined with the mercy he shows even the slow-witted and malformed (one of his sons, a crippled dwarf, is given high status and menacing employ) are all meant to show us his enlightened rule.

Then, what could laughably be called the plot gets going. Furiosa, in a bid for power, tricks Immortan Joe and absconds with the only unmutated women left in all of civilization. Joe, knowing that people are the only true resource and that children are our future, pursues. The only relatable feelings we get in the whole film is a father’s desperation to recover his wives. Of course he’s angry, but how is he to catch the traitor without hurting any the women? What can one do against this sociopathic, fury filed Furiosa who does not hesitate to endanger pregnant women, trade precious fuel to bandits, and make absurd promises to fool these women into participating with her plan for conquest (she promised them a promised land that, of course, does not really exist.)

Much of the remainder of the film is a long chase sequence where civilization is imperiled by a reckless woman. Even her, the mild subversion of Eve as destroyer is subverted itself.  What could have been a strong, if evil, female character turns out to be useless without big-strong-man Mad Max to help her. Time and again we see men fixing the escape vehicle, flying into danger, getting the drop on people, while the women in the back complain. Bit by Bit we see all the treaties, commerce, and organization of the small communities that make up this world crumble beneath the boot of Furiosa, until finally we reach this so called promised land and her plan is revealed.


A leader grits his teeth worrying about his people.

It turns out this promised land has long ago faded to dust. Apparently, it was a female dominated society blessed with abundance, but through the power of sheer girlish incompetence, the land turns black and useless.  Hear that ladies? Vote for Hilary Clinton and the world fucking ends! It gets worse. It’s revealed that this whole race through the desert was all just a ruse to lure Joe through a pass and cut her off with a rock slide, leaving the city, and his life work, undefended.

Of course, the women Furiosa has been lying to show no agency at all, and if they are angry about being stolen from a life of unparalleled luxury and privilege, we sure don’t hear about it. In fact, we know almost nothing about them, save that they are seen as so unreliable that must wear chastity belts. Director George Miller lets us know people can even recognize trees anymore, but some things never change, right? Fuck.

In a ending with despair reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Furiosa’s plan succeeds. We are treated to a scene of the remaining women in the capital opening up the floodgates and wasting all the water in celebration as Furiosa takes control, the clear foreshadowing being that this city will share the same doomed fate as the matriarchal place of her birth.  The moral of this story, if we are going to call sexist bullshit a moral, is that women are duplicitous and incompetent, and giving them access to power is actually the end of the world.

Can we stop giving directing jobs to old white men already?


Good Things

  • Non-Stop Action
  • Light on the CGI Horseshit

Bad Things

  • Perpetuates Stereotypes About the Duplicity of Post-Apocalyptic Women
  • When Charlize Theron is the Ugliest Girl in the Movie: Hollywood has set the bar too high.