Posts Tagged ‘Tom Hardy’

Before we start, I’m telling you now that there will be spoilers for Mad Max: Fury Road. You’ve been warned. Proceed.

Like a massive amount of people this weekend, I saw Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller’s return to the Mad Max franchise thirty years after the last installment, Beyond Thunderdome (1985). How was it? So good, guys. So very good. You should all go see it so we can all incessantly talk about how perfect of an action movie it is and how George vhs-mad-max-fury-road1Miller should be given back the reigns to the scrapped Justice League movie from 2007. Tom Hardy does an admirable job taking over the role of Max from Mel Gibson, but what everyone’s been really talking about isn’t the titular character but the real hero of the movie, Furiosa, played fantastically by Charlize Theron. Though Max finds himself in the middle of a long drive down an endless, unforgiving road the movie is really about Furiosa and her search for redemption as she tries to smuggle the brides of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) back to the idyllic home from which she was stolen as a child. It would be very easy to launch into a review of the movie, but I think the phrase “GO SEE IT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT’S SO GOOD!!” is sufficient enough. Instead, I wanted to talk about Furiosa and her namesakes, the Furies – primordial deities of Ancient Greece who punished people for insolence, oath-breaking, unjustified murder, and anything else that might be construed as destruction of the natural order.

Descriptions of the Furies, or the Erinyes, often relegate them to a triptych of goddesses with interchangeable features like snakes for hair (not to be confused with the Gorgons), dog’s heads, bat’s wings, bloodshot eyes, and coal black bodies. It’s really more up to the author in question. Even the tri-goddess motif is subject to authorial whim since the Ancient Greeks didn’t exactly have a set number of cthonic revenge deities. We mostly have Virgil and Dante to thank for the three named Furies, Alecto (“unceasing”), Megaera (“grudging”), and Tisiphone (“vengeful destruction”). The triptych also works on a thematic level with other triple goddess groups such as the Fates, the erinyesCharities or Graces, and the Muses; there were originally only three Muses, but more were added. Still, nine muses fits with the “Power of Three” theme that’s carried over into modern day Pagan and Wicca practices and their pop culture equivalents like The Craft (1996) and Charmed (1998-2006). Fun fact: Charmed had an episode where the sisters were turned into the Furies (“Hell Hath No Fury”). But then again, they were turned into just about everything, so make of that what you will.

The Furies have actually made a fair number of appearances, and honorable mentions, in television, movies, and literature. As a trio, Xena: Warrior Princess used them in a handful of episodes, mainly as combatant figures sent by other gods to mete out punishment; they were also the main antagonists in the video game God of War: Ascension. As far as inspiration goes the Female Furies of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World were the ruthless bodyguards of the god-like despot Darkseid – and formerly led by one of my favorite heroines, Big Barda; and Barbara Stanwyck starred in the gripping Western, The Furies (1950), about a woman who cunningly gets hold of her family’s ranch after her father disowns her. The commonality of women in the position of protagonist and antagonist, sometimes Female_Furies_001concurrently, could be interpreted as harkening back to the idea that the Furies themselves were not necessarily malicious deities. Depending on your perspective they were either dispensing justice or executing unfair punishment. Or it’s just a happy accident.

The use of the word “fury” has had a long tradition of use in popular culture as well. Mad Max: Fury Road notwithstanding, we’ve also seen the rise, fall, and rise again of the Fast and the Furious franchise with the latest installment, Furious 7, giving the biggest finger to the laws of physics for the sake of pure entertainment that ever was given. If we go back a little further, William Faulkner’s 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury has been a staple of American literature classes for decades, the novel’s title coming from a soliloquy in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth wherein “the sound and the fury” is our need for significance in a meaningless existence. Indeed, the use of “furious” and “fury” in a modern day setting has been more closely associated with anger whereas the Furies depicted in the plays of Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles, and the poetry of Virgil and Dante were more concerned with “fury” as an extension of justice.

In Mad Max: Fury Road we get an amalgamation of these varied depictions. For starters, the second half of the title reveals not just where most of the action takes place, but it also indicates that Max isn’t the singular hero of the film. If anything, Max is just the means to an end for us so we can meet Theron’s Furiosa. It can’t just be coincidence that the leading woman is named Furiosa and she’s driving a war rig across Fury Road. If Miller and co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris had wanted to be subtle (they didn’t), then there were better ways to go about it. FURY ROADFuriosa fits the duel role of protagonist and antagonist, a badass driver looking for redemption by saving a group of women and a foil for Max, in the beginning, who will do anything to survive. More to the point, Furiosa is the one to enact punishment and get revenge on Immortan Joe. As the supposed main character, Max has little to do with Joe’s demise. If he did, it wouldn’t make sense. After the brides, Furiosa has the most dramatic and narratively satisfying resolution in killing him and bringing down his tyrannical regime. If Max were the one to do so, then it wouldn’t ring true.

The culmination of Furiosa’s efforts to get the brides to her childhood home, however, unwittingly results in the creation of another form of the triple goddess motif, the maiden-mother-crone. Reunited with the remaining members of her people, all of whom are women, Furiosa becomes the “Mother” figure, the woman of middle age to the “Maiden” brides and the older “Crones” of her former home. Again, this may not have been the intention, but it sits there and whether you realize it or not you’re watching three generations of women fighting back in order to survive. Yes, Max is there and helps facilitate the plan to take on Joe and his army, but the heavy lifting is done as much, if not more so, by Furiosa, the brides, and the clans-women. Oh, and Nux (Nicholas Hoult) is there too.

There is so much to love about Mad Max: Fury Road. Charlize Theron’s Furiosa kicks all kinds of ass, even with one arm, and Tom Hardy looks like he’ll have no problems picking up the reins of the franchise. George Miller is so on point with a frenetic, fast paced, and gorgeously realized dystopian world gone mad but he also succeeds in giving us a cast of characters capable of meeting and exceeding that madness. It’s beneath the surface, however, that we see Fury Road‘s place in the long tradition of women looking for justice and my God is it glorious. Well done, Mad Max. Well done.

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With the release date of August 5th, 2016 looming on the horizon and an April, 2015 start for shooting already in place, it was about time that a cast was announced for Suicide Squad, the third film in what will be Warner Bros. and DC’s Cinematic Universe following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Yes, we’ve been bombarded with rumored cameo after rumored appearance of every hero and villain in the DC Universe for Bats vs Supes, but now we have some confirmation for the next film in the franchise and the cast is definitely interesting.suicide_squad_0023

The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X, is a group of villains in the DCU put together to go on deadly missions for ARGUS under the ever watchful eye of Amanda “The Wall” Waller. Some are in it for the redemption while others just figure it’s exchanging one prison for another. They’re at Waller’s beck and call and if someone should think of breaking ranks and running off, the explosives grafted onto their spines tend to keep them on the straight and narrow…so to speak.

The film will be written and directed by David Ayer, best known for movies like Training Day, End of Watch, The Fast and the Furious, and Fury. Warner Bros. President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Greg Silverman, said of Ayer and the cast:

We look forward to seeing this terrific ensemble, under Ayer’s amazing guidance, give new meaning to what it means to be a villain and what it means to be a hero.

 

Here’s the official cast thus far:

Will Smith – Deadshot

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Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn

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Jared Leto – The Joker

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Jai Courtney – Captain Boomerang

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Cara Delevingne – Enchatress

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Tom Hardy – Rick Flagg

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So, yeah, Warner Bros. isn’t skimping on the star power, that’s for sure. Rumors still persist that Jesse Eisenberg will reprise his role as Lex Luthor in the film as well, which could make sense if they were setting up the political angle Luthor is often steered towards since it gives him and even more insidious position as a politician draped in the American flag while conducting less than legal operations on the side. For Superman killing purposes, of course.

AMANDA_WALLER_batman_062011The inclusion of the Joker gives me reason to believe that the movie might follow a similar narrative to the direct-to-video movie Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) that featured several of the same heroes in the cast breaking into Arkham Asylum to extract information from the Riddler’s cane. The storyline eventually crosses paths with Batman’s B-plot about getting information about a dirty bomb Joker planted somewhere in Gotham. I could see Ayer taking inspiration from this since I don’t think Joker would ever be an actual member of Suicide Squad. He’s more of a reason to bring Harley into the fold, though it’s worth assuming that he’ll be at least one of the primary antagonists. The other, of course, being the squad’s creator, Amanda Waller.

Waller remains the holdout in terms of the main cast, though it’s rumored that Warner Bros. is looking at Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, and Oprah Winfrey with Winfrey possibly being their first choice. So…I really hope it isn’t Oprah. Unless the idea is to get a lot of free promotion out of Oprah’s name and brand, which I wouldn’t put it past the company, I think her being in the film would be a huge case of stunt casting. I know Oprah has quite a few dramatic roles under her belt, but I just don’t see her pulling off the pragmatic malice of Waller. Although, if she does end up getting cast. I imagine the Book Of The Month reading is going to start looking very different.Suicide-Squad-Oprah-Amanda-Waller

For my money’s worth, Spencer or Davis would make a great Waller, but I could also see Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett who took on the role in Green Lantern, Pam Grier who played her on Smallville, or even the woman who voiced Waller in the DC Animated tv shows and movies, CCH Pounder. All of them are phenomenal actresses and would bring the right amount of badassery needed to pull off the role.

Until then we can only speculate, though I know the question we all have in our minds is whether Jared Leto will be as memorable of a Joker as Caesar Romero?

But what do you think of the casting choices and who do you think would make the best Amanda Waller?

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