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Oh, what a day! What a lovely day! Patreon reward for Nova Quill/Firimil! · 5:59am Jan 31st, 2018

As we tick down the last few days in this month, I find I have a couple Patreon blogs to still get out, my last being this one regarding a not terribly great Star Wars Legends/EU book. Nova Quill/Firimill has asked for a piece on Mad Max: Fury Road’s WAR BOYS for her blog penned by me this month. Let’s fang it and maybe end up in Valhalla, shiny and chrome as we dive into what the War Boys represent in modern society in an attempt to peal a few layers away from the complex topics explored by in Fury Road.

Witness me, readers, because I’m about to talk about everyone’s favorite topic, toxic masculinity!

Hopefully it ends better than this guy…

Fury Road, if you didn’t already know, is a bit of a tone shift from director George Miller’s previous work in that it focuses a bit less on the evils of humankind and us depleting earth of natural resources in favor of mankind or malekind and how various unhealthy ideals in society end up creating a water shortage. I mean… there’s still car chases, of course. It’s a Mad Max film after all.

The War Boys serve as big-daddy patriarchy’s shock troops and stunt drivers. Honestly, Immortan Joe’s place in all this deserves his own blog, but perhaps that’s a topic for another time.

Oh, don’t give me that look! If I tried to tackle the whole movie, I’d be here until the end of the month.

While mostly avoiding info one can find from a wiki page on the War Boys, there are some noteworthy things to bring up. War Boys are picked as the strongest potential males from the ‘Wretched’, the lowest class of Immortan Joe’s society are also doomed to die basically somewhere around early adulthood due to them all having, likely radiation caused, cancer. Hence the “Fukushima” in their chant, “We are war boys! Kami-crazy war boys! Fukushima kami-crazy war boys!” In addition to glorifying machines, they glorify a memorable death on the battlefield, as they’ve been conditioned to value this as preferable to wasting away of cancer or blood poisoning.

There are some easy parallels here with what’s considered masculine in today’s culture. Instilling a love of fighting and mechanical things, for instance. Though, the latter being somewhat necessary for the War Boys as there’s not really much for them to do outside of wait for the next raid, patrol, etc…

When taken together, War Boy culture seems to mirror darker aspects of military service. Men hand-picked from the lowest rung of society with basically no other options. Encouraged to fight, and die for their beliefs which are instilled into them in the service. Something paralleled in the cult-like mentality prevalent in War Boy culture.

Hopefully, the cons of this system are apparent even if the movie is showing a sort of supped-up, hyper-hyperbolic version of them.

Flashy or no, you’re still going to die by fiery explosion…

I don’t want to get too personal here, but I do have acquaintances and old high school buddies who went into the military out of school, and the results aren’t pretty from my perspective. Certainly, aspects aren’t quite as bad as what’s depicted in the movie and the drilled in attachment to an “immortal” ideal say like America and, well… maybe not vehicles so much as firearms as a tool for continual freedom are certainly drilled to the point where their perspectives on things feels bent a certain, specific way. A way that may at least leave them stunted in other regards. Though, that last point is somewhat lost in the movie as there isn’t really any society for War Boys aside from what’s presented to them, life in the Wretched Vs. service as a War Boy. I’d say Nux’s attempt at romance with Capable, though she’s sort of figuring that out herself.

Usually though, War Boy just die, either by falling to the ravages of age cancer or they just die on the battlefield, witnesses or not, and are no longer useful to Immortan Joe. I’d say the first is a potential glimpse into militaries and governments no longer having a use for vets that have either been injured or are have aged past their usefulness. I mean, how big of an issue this is likely varies from country to country, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s at least AN issue. When coupled with the idea that death is glorified, it paints a pretty bleak picture that often suggests death in a war zone is better than wasting away living in a place you’ve served that rather not deal with you.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that everyone who goes into the military at a young age comes out with a specific mindset or is twisted mentally or physically, but I personally can have a lot more examples of those that fall into one or both categories than I do well-adjusted adults.

I’m going to post the cutest, non-sexual picture of Nux and Capable I can find now…

That’s better… Source.

Anyhow, the War Boys are in an interesting place is this commentary narrative as they’re both painted as part of the problem and victims in this mess. They’re important tools in Immortan Joe's quest to build maintain his empire the way he wants, but they’re still just tools. They also represent a group that helped cause apocalyptic mess the movie is set in, yet it’s debatable if they ever had a choice given societies makeup. This exchange between Nux and the wives sums it up nicely:

Toast: Look how slick he’s fooled you, War Boy.
Capable: He’s a lying old man.
Nux: By his hand, we’ll be lifted up!
Splendid: That’s why we have his logo seared on our backs! “Breeding stock!” “Battle fodder!”
Nux: No, I am awaited!
Capable: You’re an old man’s battle fodder. Killing everyone and everything.
Nux: We’re not to blame!
Splendid: Then who killed the world?

The issues brought up by the War Boys, like many of the issues presented in this film, are rather complex. Also, likely overlooked in favor of many of the films more feminist themes… which in turn maybe heightens a sort of real-world irony given the issue here.Like most things in this film, they’re done brilliantly, but there’s just so much to this film it’s somewhat hard to examine each message individually.

Still, the film isn’t flawless, and if I had to pick out one thing point out as a ‘con’ regarding the War Boys it’s that they’re maybe too effective at making their short and brutal lives look awesome. I don’t know about you all, but I maybe speed down the odd road or parking lot screaming “Witness me!” while my passengers chuckled nervously to themselves. The War Boys are supposed to be tragic on some level, but they’re part of the nitro that keeps Fury Road going at the insane speed it carries for most the film. I mean, subtle commentary on a problem in modern society or not, there’s no question that War Boy culture itself is celebrated from time to time.

Well, there’s another topic covered for the moment! Assuming I can keep it together, tomorrow I’ll tackle the prequel issues of Tag and Bink!

If you want to give me a topic to discuss, my Patreon is here. And you'll also get early access to chapters and have you.

Catch you in the comments, you crazy speedsters!

Comments ( 5 )


Seriously though, I did find the brief glimpses into the War Boys in the movie (I know the comics expand on it more) interesting and depressing in equal doses.

The comics could stand to do an entire War Boys series, to be honest. In general, the ideas explored in Fury Road need a lot more expanding upon. I wouldn't mind at all if Mad Max, at least the world as it exists in Fury Road, gets a bit more attention then a video game and mini-comic series. Fingers crossed for whatever the next movie might be.

I would just like to note here, as a veteran, that those that come out of training with the twisted mindset you described are in the minority, at least in the US. Those poor devils are the ones that get all the attention, though, so it's not surprising at all to me that the well adjusted veterans go virtually unnoticed by civilians unless we do or wear something that identifies that we served.

And yes, in many places around the world there is little opportunity for the veterans, and little to no assistance. That sad little tidbit does often lead to many of the other problems veterans face, including a horrendous suicide rate.

That's good insight provided. Thanks for the comment. :twilightsmile:

Nicd analysis. I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen one of the many videos discuss the war bous this way. At least not to this extent, with the comparison to old or injured vets.

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