Mad Max: Fury Road Ending Explained: Reclaiming One’s Own Humanity – /Film

Science-fiction films often ask the question, “What does it mean to be human?” They do this through aliens, robots, clones, and so many other metaphors. Even though “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a thrilling action movie, it’s also a science-fiction film that asks this very same question, but does it without any of the usual stand-ins. It just does it with people. Oftentimes, the answer to the humanity question comes down to self-consciousness, emotions, desire, or pure biology. In the case of George Miller’s film, it comes down to autonomy.

Every character we root for in “Mad Max: Fury Road” has had their autonomy taken away from them. Most explicitly, we have Immortan Joe’s wives, each of whom has been forced into this union with a monster purely to be broodmares. In the United States, where abortion and a woman’s right to choose have been systematically gutted (which has only gotten worse in the eight years since the film’s release), this is where the idea of autonomy hits the hardest.

Furiosa, Max, and Nux are all victims of having their personhood stripped away too. Furiosa was kidnapped as a child and raised to be a soldier in her abductor’s army. Here, she takes back her dignity and ability to make her own choices. Max was captured to literally be a blood delivery service for another person, a sack of flesh to pillage for resources. Nux was brainwashed to believe that dying for a tyrant was the greatest honor a person could have. Instead, his death comes on his terms to serve the people who also had their humanity taken away from them. People are unable to be people if they aren’t in control of their bodies, their minds, and their choices.

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