Well guys…it’s been a while. Don’t worry, I have a good excuse. I wrapped up a pretty grueling move, caught up on a lot of work, and went on a vacation.
There was also my anniversary. That’s right. My wife has made it two years without totally murdering my face (though I do notice that her butcher knife creeps ever closer night after night, but I’m sure it’s nothing).
For our anniversary, my wife and I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. I think all of the loud noises and scary crazy people made her nauseous, and it no doubt jostled up the growing semi-person inside of her.
I, on the other hand, was totally blown away by the movie.
It should without a doubt be the biggest hit of the summer. But, it won’t be because of this pesky Avengers movie lurking about.
(Age Of who? Is that that dog brand you can buy at the K-Mart? Why would they make a movie about that?)
Anyway, if you are on the fence about which movie to see this summer (you know, because movie tickets cost $18, requires a two-year subscription to Mindless Movie Goer magazine, and it gives the devil permission to crash on your couch a few days out of the year), let me decide for you. Go see Mad Max.
You know, because I’m on the internet.
And that makes me smarter than you.
(I knew the whole time. I just wanted to give you hope that you’re smarter than me, which you’re not. Loser)
(God, I get distracted).
ANYWAY, here is literally (by which I mean metaphorically) every reason Mad Max: Fury Road is better than Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Oh, and spoilers (kind of).
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD VS AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
BATTLE OF THE SUBTITLES!!!
1. Mad Max’s Villain is Actually Villainous, and We Know Why
In my last blog post, I talked about how Ultron was kind of wishy-washy, and he seemed to flip back and forth on what he was doing or what he wanted. Did he want to become human? Or was he better than humans? I don’t know. Both, I guess.
But, in Fury Road, we are faced with a villain that has very clear motivations from the very beginning: Immortan Joe. We know what Joe is all about from the get-go. He is a ruthless, power-hungry warlord who keeps his followers under control by depriving them of water (and no doubt other vital things). The movie does this without any expositional dialogue. It is all from the context of the world (and a particular scene that drives this idea home and moves the story forward).
It is also clear rather early on what Immortan Joe wants during this movie. After Furiosa takes off with his slave-wives, he makes it immensely obvious that the most important thing to him is getting them back. It is also made clear that Immortan Joe wants these wives to produce healthy children to take his place. Granted, this is often displayed through somewhat clunky, in your face dialogue, but at least it is clear and understandable. Immortan Joe also never wavers from this position. He doesn’t have other things on his mind. He doesn’t dick around trying to accomplish other tasks. He wants what he wants, and he pursues it.
Immortan Joe is also fucking terrifying. Not so much in frame or stature like Ultron, but just in the things he does. It’s clear that Joe is a fucking lunatic, and he leads a whole lot of other lunatics on a high speed chase through the desert. This is a man who will kill you because…well, he doesn’t need a reason. He’s just like that. He doesn’t try to be witty or charming. He just fucks people up.
(Wow, really busting the f-bombs in this section. Momma would be so proud.)
2. The Action Was Meaningful and Awesome
Referring back to my last post, I also criticized the action in Age of Ultron. Well, that still stands. Especially when you compare it to the INTENSE PULSE-POUNDING SPHINCTER-CLENCHING MOTHERFUCKERY THAT IS MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Seriously, the action in Fury Road is just beyond awesome. But why? It has just as much, if not more than, Age of Ultron. Why is it better?
Well, let’s take a look.
First, let’s look at the opening scenes. Both start with an action sequence (Avengers invading the Hydra base, and Max in a short-lived car chase). What are the biggest differences between them?
Well, context for starters. See, Age of Ultron starts with action. Like, one of the first things you see is Thor slamming into someone. Fuck if I know who the guy is, but Thor is tearing his shit up so he must be the bad guy, right? It’s probably a solid three minutes before someone (I think it might have been Cap, but I don’t remember) says something about the place they’re raiding being a Hydra base. At that point, you’re like “Oh, it’s Hydra. Now this fight scene makes sense. Maybe Thor wasn’t just being a dick.”
Now let’s examine the opening sequence to Mad Max. We see Max staring at a barren landscape, talking all doom and gloom. Then he eats a lizard. Then some people chase him and throw exploding spears at his car. Then there is some crazy exposition, and then Max gets chased by
ICP fans more crazy people. Then the rest of the movie happens.
So what’s the difference?
Well Fury Road gives us a little more context throughout the opening sequence. He says something in his opening monologue about not knowing who is crazier, him or everyone else. Then some crazy people chase him. We know they’re crazy because Max alluded to it in his earlier statements. So we at the very least know what kind of people they are and why they are dangerous. Sure, we still suffer from “Who the fuck is that?” syndrome for a few minutes, but that is part of the mystery of the story.
The action in Fury Road is also significantly stronger than Age of Ultron because we learn about the world and the story through it. In Age of Ultron, all of the action sequences are simple breaks in the story. They look nice, sure. But they don’t necessarily drive character motivations until the end of the movie. For instance, when Ultron crashes the Avengers’ party, the scene would have had just as much resonance if he had flown away or self-destructed. The whole 2-3 minute action sequence literally adds nothing to the story. Same with the Hulk vs. Iron Man sequence. The only thing that scene did was potentially set up plot elements for a totally different movie.
Now look at Fury Road. 90% of the movie is driving cars and said cars exploding. Yet, it is during these sequences that we learn the most about the world and its inhabitants. We learn the crazy religion Immortan Joe and his followers abide by, we learn about the roles of women in this society, and we see Max change from an instinctive survivor to a post-apocalyptic human rights activist (well, if we stretch our imaginations a bit that’s what he becomes).
3. Fury Road Understands Story Structure
This also technically applies to the action sequences. In fact, it applies to that more than anything. Because Age of Ultron does understand story structure. It has an exposition, rise and falls in action, a climax, and it ties it all up at the end. So, if it follows the right structure, why don’t I give a shit by the end of the movie?
Well, most of it lies in the action.
Since Age of Ultron starts with lots of action, the audience has nowhere to go. The movie literally starts with a raid on a Hydra base, and there is even some super vs. super action. Compared to this, most of the fight scenes in the movie seem to be relatively small in scale. That’s because an effective action movie builds the intensity of the action in parallel with the intensity of the story.
Fury Road does this almost perfectly. The movie starts with a short chase that is just long enough to tease the audience with what is to come. Then there is a super long car chase, which climaxes with a huge sandstorm. A short break in action, then there is a longer car chase with more guns and more cars getting torn to shit. Then a break for story stuff. Then the final car chase, which is literally crazy. Like seriously. This is the moment when George Miller pulls out all the stops. This is when the movie gives us everything we have been promised. There is also some blood (which the movie is surprisingly sparing on). It also has one of the best villain kill-offs I think I have ever seen.
The reason I (and no doubt you) care more about what is happening in Fury Road as opposed to Age of Ultron is because the action builds with the movie.
Well that’s my two cents for the day. So yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road is better than Age of Ultron in pretty much every way, at least from an action/story standpoint. What did you guys think of the movie? Which did you like more? Dish it out in the comments.
New post on Wednesday. I’m not sure what I’ll talk about yet. Probably Kung Fury. Have you watched that shit? Well, you should.