Yeah, but Clint and Laura’s new baby ending up identifying as a girl and preferring to go by Natasha and Nat is so smug about her little niece and Clint just “of course Nat was right again” as he plays Kung Fu cheerleaders with his kids.
One of the things I love most about Mad Max: Fury Road is how the women consistently resist the narrative of toxic masculinity that defines their world and recreate these powerful pockets of humanity through trust.
Probably the most obvious example is the way Furiosa chooses to trust Max with the sequence to her rig, despite having absolutely no reason to do so. Up until that point, Max has threatened all of them at gun point, actually shot Angharad, fought pretty viciously with Furiosa, and tried to steal her war rig. The only reason he didn’t get away with it was because she had the sequences set, and now she’s telling him those sequences, and trusting him with the lives of the five women she’s helping to escape.
From a strictly practical standpoint, that doesn’t make any sense. But Furiosa is very deliberately choosing to trust this nameless half-feral man, insisting with her trust on seeing him as human. She asks him for his name because she respects him as a fellow human being, and when he doesn’t answer, she gets a little frustrated and gives him a derogatory name, it’s true, but she still trusts him with the sequence to her war rig. She checks to be sure he has it. She explicitly tells him to drive as fast as he can when she calls, to protect the others.
She doesn’t appeal to his better nature. She talks to him as if she already knows he will follow it, as if she’s completely certain of his human decency and his willingness to protect other people.
And Max responds to that. Maybe he doesn’t even fully realize what he’s doing, or maybe he does, but either way, that’s the moment that Max stops behaving solely like a hunted animal. He responds to her trust with trust of his own. When she gets back in the rig, they naturally fall into protecting one another, trusting one another to watch their backs, working as a team to escape the canyon. They don’t even need to talk to each other. They just know.
And, later, Max falls asleep in the passenger seat. I mean that’s huge. Here’s a guy who only hours before was absolutely terrified of everyone and everything, grunting and scrabbling wildly at his muzzle and always keeping his gun trained on one of them, and now he’s comfortable enough to fall asleep in Furiosa’s presence, knowing she has easy access to several guns. When he wakes up, startled out of a traumatic dream, she soothes him and he lets himself be soothed. He feels safe with her.
But it’s not just Max, and it’s not just Furiosa.
All of the women extend that same trust to Max. At no point is there ever a discussion about whether or not they can trust him. From the moment he puts down the gun, no one is ever suspicious of him. They are never afraid of him, either. They trust him as a driver the same way they trust Furiosa. They trust him to take care of the Bullet Farmer when he leaves them in the bog. At no point does anyone ever wonder if maybe he’s going to betray them. And then he comes back, with bullets and guzzoline and a wheel, and they’re just worried about him maybe being wounded.
And all of the women (and Max too) extend that same trust to Nux. Capable is the first to trust him, as Furiosa was the first to trust Max, and they are (understandably) a bit leery at first, but that really doesn’t last long. Capable vouches for him, and they respect her view. She says he wants to help: okay, he wants to help.
And after they escape the bog, they all just naturally accept Nux as another member of their little found family. Again, at no point is there ever a discussion of whether or not they should trust him. In any other movie, there would have been, if not with Max then definitely with Nux. In any other movie, they’d either have gone the route of Capable being the only one to trust him, while all the others remained wary, or else of having just one vocal holdout against trusting him. But that doesn’t happen here.
The women extend trust to Max and Nux not because it’s been earned, but simply because they are all human, and they have all been victims of Joe in different ways, and in this wasteland of a killed world, the women choose to acknowledge both their own humanity and the men’s. And that makes such a difference. People who are treated as fully human (for the first time in a long time, or possibly the first time ever) respond to that with gentleness and decency and reciprocated trust.
The same theme plays out with the Vuvalini. Furiosa is one of them: that’s enough. She brought the women: that’s enough. She says the men are reliable: that’s enough. No one has to prove they’re worthy of trust. No one has to go through a trial period of being distrusted before finally being accepted.
This is a community built on trust and shared humanity, and I love that so much.