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Movie Review - Warner Bros' Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Fury is born.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a 2024 science fiction action film directed by George Miller, written by George Miller and Nico Lathouris, produced by Kennedy Miller Mitchell, Domain Entertainment, and Village Roadshow Pictures, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. This is the fifth film in the Mad Max franchise, although the fourth chronologically. It is a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road and will be followed by Mad Max: The Wasteland.


"If you find him, he's mine." - Furiosa

Plot


After being kidnapped as a child, Furiosa devotes her life to getting revenge on Dementus, a psychotic warlord who sets out on ruling the Wasteland.


The Sweet


So I've seen two of the Mad Max movies: Fury Road and The Road Warrior. I love Fury Road, but (hot take incoming) I despise The Road Warrior. I was excited for Furiosa, but I was also unsure which side of the Mad Max saga we were going to get: the good or the bad?


And I am happy to report that this is the good side.


What makes Furiosa so effective is the way that it both takes inspiration from and sets itself apart from Fury Road. Aesthetically, this film is very similar. We are taken on another odyssey across the Wasteland. The coloring, energy, and fast pace all feel very reminiscent of Fury Road, which is a good thing. This movie borrows the best subtle elements from that film and uses that as a base on top of which it builds it's own story.


And that's where Fury Road and Furiosa diverge. Fury Road was this two-hour long chase movie where Max, the film's perspective character, is thrown into the middle of this thrilling world of the Citadel and Immortan Joe and Furiosa. Furiosa builds out this epic tale spanning years. The story and goals are clear from the very beginning. There's an emotional, character-driven edge at the center, which I think is a nice change of pace from the other Mad Max movies.


And, of course, the action here is incredible. There are two elements to what makes the action in both Fury Road and Furiosa so exhilarating. The first is the practical stuntwork, which is used in all of the Mad Max films. Action feels more real and visceral when actual people are performing actual stunts, and George Miller clearly understands that. The second aspect is the creativity of the action. The Mad Max movies take place in the dystopian future, so the weapons should be different than what we have now. The machines they use should not feel like something we've seen before. And they aren't. Miller and his team of production designers create these memorable, exciting weapons and vehicles that feel like something that could exist, but doesn't. It just makes the action sequences more fun and more exciting.


Furiosa also does a great job of both using characters that we've already met in Fury Road and introducing new ones. Dementus, Chris Hemsworth's manic villain, is a very fun antagonist for this film. He brings the weird energy that Mad Max villains tend to have while also being incredibly unnerving and menacing at times. The best new character, in my opinion, was Praetorian Jack, who sort of acts like a stand-in for Mad Max. He has the iconic quiet demeanor while also being incredibly skilled and powerful, which just makes him cool. Immortan Joe is also brought back for this film, and he is as imposing as ever. I loved his usage in this film. He was used sparingly, but every time he was on screen, it was just awesome. I thought the characters were just great.


And, of course, we have to talk about Furiosa herself. As much as Praetorian Jack is a stand-in for Mad Max, it does feel like Furiosa emulates him as well. She is also very quiet and just communicates her emotions through intense stares and body language. Anya Taylor-Joy is great, but the actress who plays young Furiosa, Alyla Browne, is honestly just as good. Furiosa is just a great concept for a character, because the Wasteland is such a domineering, chaotic environment, and she just rides the chaos and takes control of every situation to fight for what she believes in. She's so much fun to watch and I hope we see her again in the next Mad Max installment.


I also think that this movie does a fantastic job of expanding the world of Mad Max. Every Mad Max movie is a pretty self-contained adventure. Furiosa sees the titular character travel across the Wasteland and explore these different places that we touched on in Fury Road but never really expanded upon. This is, scale-wise, the biggest Mad Max movie yet, and I think that's awesome. I always love exploring epic, interesting worlds, and we finally get to do that with the Wasteland in Furiosa.


The Sour


The biggest knock that I have on this movie is the runtime. I think Furiosa is too long. Every Mad Max movie is just about or under two hours long. Furiosa clocks in at 148 minutes, nearly 30 minutes longer than any other film in the franchise. And you can feel that length. It feels like Miller failed to cut off the fat of this movie. Scenes will sometimes drag on too long or feel unnecessary altogether, which really makes the movie weigh down and takes away from the pure, raw entertainment that it is providing.


I also think this film sometimes does not communicate the story to the best of its ability. The passage of time in the film can be very unclear. Obviously, there's a big jump when the Furiosa actress switches from Alyla Browne to Anya Taylor-Joy, but besides that, it isn't really made clear how much time has passed. There are certain things with Furiosa's character, like her relationship with Praetorian Jack or her rank within the Citadel, that just advance without us really understanding how that happened. For the film being too long, it does feel like we skip a few plot beats, which is very strange to me.


I also am not sure how I feel about the ending. The entire movie builds up to the confrontation between Furiosa and Dementus, and, without giving anything away, it feels like the resolution of the confrontation is unclear. There are multiple messages it seems to be conveying, and they feel like they are contradicting each other. It almost feels non-committal. I just didn't really understand the direction they took.


And, as much as I praised how this film connects to Fury Road and uses it as a good base on which it builds its own story, there are a few times that it feels like Miller didn't have restraint and stretched a connection to Fury Road. There are some specific moments and plot beats that are meant to tie in to Fury Road and they don't feel earned or necessary. This is a trend in movies nowadays; sequels always want to have surprise connections to past or future projects, and most of the time, they just feel unnecessary and forced. And Furiosa does that, too.


Final Thoughts and Score


Furiosa is a great addition to the Mad Max franchise that has amazing action, fun characters, and a cool exploration of the Wasteland. It's a bit too long, but action fans will have a blast with this movie.


I will go Savory here. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)

"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga"


Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 8/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Quality: 8/10


Directed by George Miller


Rated R for strong bloody violence, frightening themes and images, suggestive material, thematic elements


Released on May 24, 2024


2 hours and 28 minutes


Anya Taylor-Joy as Imperator Furiosa

Alyla Browne as Young Furiosa

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus

Tom Burke as Praetorian Jack

Lachy Hulme as Immortan Joe, Rizzdale Pell

George Shevtsov as The History Man

John Howard as The People Eater

Angus Sampson as The Organic Mechanic

Nathan Jones as Rictus Erectus

Josh Helman as Scrotus

Charlee Fraser as Mary Jabassa

Lee Perry as The Bullet Farmer

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