Theron New Dystopian Franchise Hero

Casey Miller, Editor-in-Chief

I’m here to tell you about the best feminist, dystopian, vengeance-oriented, 2 hour car chase movie that I have ever seen. Mad Max: Fury Road is rocking the cinematic world, as Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson as the title character, and Charlize Theron steals the show as Imperator Furiosa, a badass rebel in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

It is no exaggeration to say that the women in this film carry a much stronger presence than any of the men. The plot focuses on one main event: a car chase across the desert as tyrant Immortan Joe chases traitor Furiosa, who has absconded with his 5 wives (who are essentially sex slaves). Furiosa aims to take the beautiful women (played by models Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Riley Keogh, Abbey Lee, Zoë Kravitz, and Courtney Eaton) to the “Green Place” where they will be safe and Huntington-Whitely’s character can have her baby.

While often scantily clad in simple white cloth, the wives also show mental and physical fortitude on their journey. The women suffer, yet strive for liberation from their violent “husband.” Though it is the Mad Max franchise, Theron’s Furiosa is the true protagonist here. With more lines and more scenes than Hardy’s Max, Furiosa is a character who would sacrifice herself for the future of the young and enslaved women of this so-called society. She’s more powerful than Max can ever be; the best scene comes when Max hands over his gun to Furiosa, as he knows she’s the better shot. Really, this movie is just Max riding alongside the larger-than-life, moral compass and feminist role model Furiosa.

Beyond the feminist message, the cinematography is nearly as impressive as the characters. The stunts alone are incredible, with a grand 150 stuntmen, including Cirque de Soleil performers and Olympic athletes. Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing short of an action-packed car chase with explosions, gore, and heavy weaponry.

This episode doesn’t feel like a sequel. We get a few tiny flashbacks from Max, but they remain just random faces and voices, likely thrown in to signal “no, we aren’t totally throwing out the franchise!”

While Theron was impressive, as the supporting character Nux, actor Nicholas Hoult gives one of the best performances of his career. I can still hear his iconic line, “What a lovely day!” as he drives through a lightning-riddled sandstorm in the ultimate dystopian landscape.

This movie could have been a hot mess with a sloppy storyline and endless, boring action. But with franchise’s originator  George Miller at the helm, there is clear direction.

Hardy revealed in May that he is signed on for the next four Mad Max films, and Theron will be back for the next film as well – and hopefully many more after that.