This has been a great year for movies. And it's not over yet (can't wait for The Revenant, The Hateful Eight and The Peanuts Movie).
And as I was thinking about some of the movies I've enjoyed the most so far, I started to notice some things they have in common, so here it goes...
As usual, there will be spoilers, so if you haven't watched The Force Awakens, Mockingjay Part 2 or Mad Max Fury Road, you can stop reading.
5. They're all sequels to very long series: This is neither good nor bad, but they are all part of something bigger than a trilogy. However, the only one that feels like clousure is Mockingjay Part 2, as Fury Road is more of a reboot, and The Force Awakens sets the tone for the last three (that we know of) of a trilogy of trilogies.
4. The main team has to infiltrate the bad guy's fort: Whether they needed to get to President Snow's mansion, Inmortan Joe's Power Cave (or wathever the place from which he ruled the wasteland was called... which I just checked and it's called The Citadel) or The First Order's Death Star on steroids; in all cases, the main plot involved the need to get to the villain's domain, overcoming a series of death threatening obstacles.
|Knock Knock / Who's there? / The heros, hahahaha YOU LOOSE|
3. A brainwashed young man has a change of heart: As anyone who drinks a black sugary carbonated mix of chemicals and enojys it will know, brainwashing is powerful. But these movies do a great job reminding us that there is something more powerful than that.
In all three films we have a young man (Finn from The Force Awakens, Peeta from Mockingjay Part 2, and Nux from Fury Road) whose mind has been messed up by the bad guys, but somehow their true conscience manages to break through and they become a key person in the day-saving activities of the hero's crew. Whether they were raised and trained like Finn and Nux, or went through a Clockwork Orange-style session of Ludovico Technique (known in The Capitol as Hijacking), these guys are psychological time bombs waiting to meet the right girl to swap sides.
|His beaten mind says KILL but his eyes say WHAT I'M I DOING?|
2. An evil dictatorship Vs. heavily armed rebels: These movies won't end with a surrender and the ressistance knows it and it's ready to fight big fire with sneaky fire. On one side, we have armies of face-covered men defending a tyranical system (The First Order's army, The Capitol's "Peacekeepers", The Citadel's War Boys) enforced by an evil dictator-like ruler with absolute power (Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens, President Snow in Mockingjay Part 2, and Immortan Joe in Fury Road). On the other side, we have a diverse group of dissidents willing to sacrify themselves for a cause they feel very strongly about.
|You can bet this won't end with a peaceful protest and a referendum|
1. An action woman as a lead character: True, these are movies with more than just one protagonist, but Rey (The Force Awakens), Katniss (Mockingjay Part 2) and Furiosa (Fury Road) certainly make the plot advance in their respective universes. They are strong, have an objective beyond "finding love" and, unlike the Marvel Designated Women, their personalities are way more than a pair of boobs that know karate.
When it's time to put a lightsaber/arrow/bullet in the big bad's heart, they are more than able and willing to do so. And yes, they're young, white and attractive (armless Charlize Theron is still Charlize Theron), but they are not all about looking pretty or using their looks to seduce their way into their goals. And besides that, there were also strong female characters of all ages and shapes, which is not something you see often: you had beloved Princess Leia as the main example in The Force Awakens, hated President Coin in Mockingjay Part 2 and the brave Vuvalini of Many Mothers in Fury Road.
|Let's do this!|
Three very different movies that are not so different after all when you try to see the big picture.