Watched it last night, in a 500 seat theatre with nine other people......cinema is dying.
Anyway, to the film. Two hours of continuous sensory overload, but its not a "Mad Max" film. First thing to realise is that this is a vehicle for Charlize Theron to reprise her man-hating pro-feminist agenda which first appeared in "Monster". Indeed the whole film is a prolonged exercise in feminist propoganda, with only the women having any degree of characterisation. The women are all shown sympathetically: either as an extreme butch (but shapely) disabled lesbian tomboy who is acting in the guise of freedom, or diaphonously-clad sex slaves, or tubby milk-cows, or as part of a group of elderly biker wise women who owe much to Macbeth's witches. The men are all ciphers with minimal dialogue. Max himself has perhaps five lines during the whole film and is relegated to a supporting role in which he plays little deterministic part - he is simply a poor bloke being dragged along for the ride. Nothing like the Max of the earlier films. I suspect part of the reason for this is that Tom Hardy's Australian accent, isn't Australian...
Theron plays the lead role as a crop-headed aggressive one-armed lesbian. She's female, disabled and LGBT. Besides which her black-forehead warpaint is reminiscent of the tribesmen in both "Apocalypse Now" and "Fitzcarraldo". How many minority groups does that appeal to? And thats the point of this film: to bring live action film to cinema audiences who wouldn't normally go. The "warboys" - the androgenously made-up asexual young men who compromise the foot soldiers of the baddies - are so clearly intended to appeal to the gay S&M market while at the same time giving women something to look down on that its almost laughable. Just for the men theres a naked shot of a mature black-haired woman absailing down a rope, but its not titillating, and nor are the diaphonous gowns of the sex-slaves: in any other film they would have shown a glimmer of whats underneath, but not in this one. In short the "sexiness" of the dresses doesn't work - another result of the overt feminism at work here.
The whole film plays as a pro-feminist recruiting beacon with a message of "look how crap men are, we can live without them". An example is a scene in which Max can't hit a target with a rifle, using up all but the last bullet, so has to concede the weapon to Furiosa so she can show off her superior shooting skills. No, Mad Max this isn't
One last quibble - Therons character is named "Imperator Furiosa". Shouldn't that properly be "Imperatrix Furiosa"? Or is the masculinisation of the title another hint toward her sexuality?