Why Fury Road’s Heroes Are Better Than Ur Fav

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015



The thing about Fury Road is there are a lot of movies okay, a lot of movies where the main villain is some preposterously evil psychopath rapist zealot.

And in most of these movies, the main (male) hero is a toolbag. Just an utter toolbag. But we’re supposed to think he’s a stand-up guy because he’s not actively exploiting women 24/7 like that preposterously evil psychopath rapist zealot over on the other side of the film’s incredibly dubious moral line.

Firefly comes to mind, and its hero: Malcolm “It’s okay for me to call you a whore over and over because I haven’t actually physically punched, slapped or raped you” Reynolds

Guardians of the Galaxy comes to mind, and its hero: Peter “I can’t even remember the name of the woman I slept with last night and I forgot to get her home before leaving the planet in my space ship and stranding her but it’s okay because I’m not actively trying to destroy the universe” Quill

James Bond comes to mind.

Indiana Jones comes to mind.


All of them.

Fury Road is so refreshing because it doesn’t use Immortan Joe’s villainy as an excuse to brush off the milder sexism of the film’s male heroes.

Max Rockatansky is ZERO PERCENT sexist toolbag. He doesn’t leer at the half naked bathing wives when he first encounters them, not even for a millisecond, and not an any point later in the movie either. He never dismisses them as lesser. He never talks over them.  He never presumes that he knows better.

Nux has one single line in which he refers to the wives as “shiny” to one of his douchebag warboy pals back at the start of the film, when he still views them, and himself, as offerings that exist only to please Immortan Joe. But the moment he comes into actual direct communication with them he does a complete 180 and proceeds to behave in a completely respectful manner towards them. He is wholly respectful in how he looks at them, talks to them, and has physical contact with them.

I’ve already written posts about how Furiosa’s characterization avoids the more common (and sexist) female action hero tropes [X, X]. Plenty of blog posts and pro articles have explained at length the awesomeness of the various other female heroes in the film, so I won’t go into that here.

Point being:

In another film, Immortan Joe would have been presented as a freakish outlier, who mainly exists to make a male hero’s toolbaggery seem acceptable in comparison. After all – who’s going to notice a few sexist smudges on the hero’s shirt or the thin crust of misogyny caked to his shoes when he’s standing next to 80 metric tons of anthropomorphized rape sewage?

In Fury Road, Immortan Joe is presented as patient 0 of a toxic masculinity epidemic. He’s infected an entire culture with his misogynist, dehumanizing spores. The male heroes are either immune to his influence, or (in Nux’s case) are cured of it through the aid of strong feminist medicine. Either way, by the time we get 1/3 of the way through the film there’s not a single trace of his sexism in either of their systems. 

They’re clean.

I’m reblogging myself because I feel like this post didn’t get enough attention the last time around. 

Tiny corrections re: Nux. 1) he refers to the wives/sisters as shiny not to a douchebag warboy pal but to Max (though you could say he’s relating to Max as a peer at that point, which is pretty much true), and 2) he doesn’t transform the moment he comes into direct communication with them; they brawl by the rig (granted; could be argued not to be communication), but also later have the (admittedly brief) argument before they throw him off the rig, after which he’s still game for incapacitating/killing Furiosa to return them to Joe. He only joins Team Equality later, after he’s hit rock bottom.

Pedantic impulse satisfied. Please continue with the excellent commentary. Thanks.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/1IgbORo.