There is absolutely no reason not to love the fast paced Mad Max: Fury Road! And those who find reasons and arguments against it are simply forgetting the basic fundamental truths that they are either stupid or too blind to understand that Mad Max: Fury Road is the ultimate action movie!
For some perspective, I must confess that I have not seen any of the previous Mad Max installments and I’m grateful that this movie allows the viewer to be completely oblivious and still have so much fun. But it also makes me question the general negative buzz revolving around the fact that Mad Max (Tom Hardy) isn’t in the spotlight as much as he should. Firstly, I don’t understand why it’s such an issue because Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is amazing, and secondly, there’s just the right amount of Mad Max who doesn’t say much but rather takes action. Another argument against Mad Max has been in regards to the feminism it portrays which just goes to show that a lot of the criticism that has been said about Fury Road is just some guy who’s male ego got hurt because there were too many women in this movie.
Besides, there have been also comments about how the makers of this movie probably haven’t even seen the Mad Max trilogy, which is the most ironic thing I’ve ever read. It’s also surprisingly refreshing to witness a re-imagination come on screen by George Miller, the same guy who wrote and directed the original trilogy that begun more than 30 years ago. It is also the reason, in my opinion, why it’s almost impossible to criticize the so called differences between the trilogy and Fury Road. That, and the fact that we have come a long way since the 80’s when men were saving women into a time where women are just as bad ass and capable of protecting themselves. Miller recognized this and instead of making a completely different post-apocalyptic movie, he took Mad Max and told a new story, with new characters, with a new perspective (most likely), and with the new technology, created a movie that is simply mind blowing.
Mad Max: Fury Road has a simple premise and yet, when trying to summarize it, it becomes less simple and there’s a temptation to tell the whole story. It’s also surprising, since the two hours in the cinema were mostly filled with exciting action sequences, hand to hand combat scenes and insane car chases. But don’t be mistaken, Fury Road has a plot and a rather interesting one that involves Furiosa saving multiple women from the hands of a self proclaimed God Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). It just happens that Mad Max is thrown into the action without his consent where his only focus, in the beginning, is to survive. All of that happens in the very beginning, and by that time the movie has already edged its way into your bloodstream and your begging for the action to stop just to catch a breath or two. But there’s no stopping Mad Max. Fury Road keeps going, and it doesn’t slow down to give you the back story, it doesn’t slow down to create relationships – it is simply a fast paced action, going from point A to point B with a twist.
Story aside, the biggest element of Fury Road is the world itself. The post-apocalyptic Earth that is lacking water is grim and yet so beautiful. From sand dunes to muddy fields, Fury Road, though completely filled with blood, bodies and deformed humans, is also beautiful. Even everything metal designed for this movie, the cars, the hardware, the clothes, has that hint of perfection which is why the world Miller created seems stunning among its ugliness. Miller himself said that every element in the new world is taken from the destroyed world and given a new meaning – for instance the mouth guard Max wears as a blood bag is a simple gardening tool. Considering that and knowing that the movie contains a lot of elements, it is honestly visually stunning and interesting to look at. In addition, after seeing the movie twice already, I must admit that every explosion, every crash, ever death is also fresh, intriguing and well placed. And since everything from the action to the wardrobe to the weapons is happening all at once, nothing is really insignificant and every little action sequence balances itself out while placing attention to detail.
Part of the charm Mad Max: Fury Road possesses is its color scheme that is very simple. There is the yellow, almost golden and bright part where the biggest element is the sand dunes. Then there’s the red, almost crimson shades that dominate during the sand storm and explosive sequences. But to balance out the brightness, that actually takes up the most of the movie and allows the elements to shine more, the movie does have couple of blue hue moments. That’s when the movie is truly beautiful because for some reason, the darkness, the muddy fields and the starry sky is what ties the whole madness together. Another interesting color decision is in regards to the war boys who are painted white. They are, in their essence, boys and men who are the suicide bombers of our time, killing themselves for the cause, knowing that they will walk to Valhalla and live again. The fact that they are white-skinned, makes them a contradictory – white is the color of peace, the color of innocence and in a way, since they really don’t know better, they are not evil but brainwashed. Which makes Nux’s (Nicholas Hault) character and his growth from a war boy into an actual human more than natural and reasonable.
Like already mentioned, I have now seen Mad Max: Fury Road twice and considering the fact that upon now I have steered away from spoilers, I can’t avoid them any longer. So when you have not seen it, which I won’t understand, do not read passed this point if you want to avoid spoilers:
After already knowing how the movie ends, and knowing what motivates Furiosa and seeing the growth of Max, the second viewing gave me a lot of thought. Not only did it make me see the subtle sadness in Furiosa from scene one, which I somehow missed the first time, and the way she changed her course on that supply run and started to carry herself from that notorious point of no return. Theron’s Furiosa is strong, she is brave and yet, she is still a woman who deeply feels for the women she is trying to save, but especially for the home she lost as a child and wants to see again. The devastating scene where she has just found out that the green place no longer exists is the culmination of that sadness and angst she has kept for all those years, through struggles we can’t imagine. So the visually stunning scene where she screams by providing us with her only emotional outburst feels powerful and yet heartbreaking. What makes me love Furiosa the most though is the fact that she is still able to trust. Max is holding her gun point, he has said few words, has beaten her up, shot bullets towards a pregnant woman, stolen the truck and she trusts him to give him the starting sequence despite all of that! She trusts him, because she sees something in him and despite all his wrong doings up until that point, she puts her life into his hands since it’s the only way. There’s no time to question it, it’s trust in its purest form and I believe Max, seeing it as a sign of strength, from there on out, is willing to save her, and her mission, no matter what.
And then there’s Max… Since I have no reference point, I feel like I came into his story in a point where he is simply acting upon instinct. He believes that he is mad, or either everybody around him is mad, or possibly both, and yet he keeps on fighting and surviving. From the beginning he is seen strong and even after being captured, he doesn’t stop fighting. Since for me his past is relatively unknown, being aware of only the fact that he has lost his wife and child which constantly haunts him, his character is very interesting. He seems animalistic, scary and mad but the fact that upon seeing beautiful women bathing he still focuses on surviving and isn’t, not once, tempted to take one of those women with him. This to me means he has still humanity left in him – the kind that is destroyed in so many other male characters in Fury Road. Tom Hardy’s performance is thrilling as well, never allowing himself to be completely aware while being slightly mad and should I even mention his hauntingly sexy voice? Alright, I had to mention it because it would be stupid not to. Anyways, as a cherry on top, the thing I noticed and appreciated the most about Max’s story line was the fact that his insanity saved him. Right in the midst of the final battle he gets shot, but the hallucination of his daughter saves him, which gives his character a whole new perspective. The fact that he is mad is actually the reason he is alive, his madness is what drives him and pushes him towards survival and all of that happens while he is still the kind of guy who tries to save people, despite the fact that he has failed at it in the past.
This brings me to the final scene, which has Max leaving Furiosa to pretty much rule the citadel Immortan Joe had built. His purpose was served, he was able to save somebody and it was all he wanted to do. The fact that he left was the only possible solution in this situation, not just for the next movies but because of his character. Max is the kind of man who keeps going, keeps moving and just never stops, even when there’s this possibility for him to kick his legs up and rest in the middle of all the madness that is the world in the Mad Max universe. It even makes sense because here we have an action movie where the action never stops, and then we have the leading man, who never stops surviving and for him, the surviving part is trying to undue his mistakes in the past. May it be alone, with his thoughts, or with female warriors taking down large armies – Max can’t stop saving himself while trying to save the ones who need saving.
So there you have it, the short summary of Mad Max: Fury Road that doesn’t even come close to capturing the spirit of the movie. This is, without the doubt, THE action movie of the year, THE action movie of the decade and possibly, the best action movie I will ever see because it has it all. It is 99% action and yet, it has heart, it has characters, it has strength, it has beauty, it has great performances and even though it’s weakest points are the breeders, it doesn’t really matter. There are fresh elements, there are nostalgic elements that borrow from a time that is long gone and there is the strength of the CGI combined with live action sequences that are truly amazing. Fury Road starts and never stops, it keeps going and hopefully it keeps going as far as providing us with another installment because I can’t imagine a world where that wouldn’t happen. Besides, Miller already has the next story all figured out so there’s nothing else to do than to wait patiently until the fifth Mad Max movie premiers and oh what a lovely day it is going to be!