Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga


Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of a film. I don’t think saying that is too far of a stretch, mind you. Out of all of the action films that were released in the 2010s, Mad Max: Fury Road was inventive, visceral, nuanced, and had an energy to it that no other film of its time, or since, has replicated. It’s so good that I knew going into Furiosa that no matter how much I liked the film, it wasn’t going to be better than Fury Road. It just couldn’t.

For the entirety of this year, I was looking forward to Furiosa. After watching crap movie after crap movie after crap movieFuriosa was my light at the end of the tunnel. It reunites almost the entire Fury Road team and even if the trailer had me slightly worried with its mediocre use of CG, I had faith in George Miller. Was my faith misplaced? No, but there’s one thing that is imperative you understand before you go into Furiosa. It is NOT Fury Road.


Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Director: George Miller
Release Date: May 24, 2024 (Theatrical)
Rating: R

Furiosa is a prequel that shows how Imperator Furiosa became the woman she is. As a child, played by Alyla Browne, we witness how Furiosa was taken from the Green Place and became a prisoner of the leader of the Biker Horde, Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). While on the road seeking a place of bountiful resources, Dementus and the Biker Horde reach the Citadel, the home of Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), and declare war against him. Eventually, Furiosa becomes an adult woman, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, and we witness the extremes of the war, all the while Furiosa contemplates how she’s going to escape from the Wasteland and return home to the Green Place.

Compared to Fury Road, Furiosa is a much denser movie from a narrative perspective. The events of the film take place over 15 years, arguably longer if you want to consider the ending sequence, and we see a lot of the politics of the Wasteland present itself. While Fury Road excelled at teaching the audience about its world through the character’s actions, Furiosa tells its story more traditionally. There aren’t as many pieces of ambiguous dialogue as there were in Fury Road, such as where the Brides of Immortan Joe ask “Who killed the world?”, but instead it’s dialogue that’s blunter and to the point. Characters have in-depth conversations and negotiations, we learn the specific functions of places that were only mentioned in the previous film like Gastown and the Bullet Farm, and it feels that the film is making an honest-to-God effort at becoming easier to follow.

I’m of two minds about this. I love how much we learn about the societies that have developed in the Wasteland. Before, when we were following Max, we were only visitors in this part of the world and we were attempting to make sense of the Citadel and its purposes alongside Max. We were outsiders looking in, but Furiosa isn’t an outsider here. She has lived in the Citadel for years. She has been with the Biker Horde for quite some time too, so it’s easier for us to learn about the dynamics of each organization and become more invested in how the world develops simply through watching the events unfold alongside her.

Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Copyright: Warner Bros

On the other hand, it does make Furiosa a much slower movie. The action is sparse, almost by design, feeling at times like the earlier Mad Max films. When Furiosa is a child, we don’t see a lot of action or spectacle that you would associate with the series post-Fury Road. There’s a biker chase here, a torture scene there, and a War Boy being a War Boy, but action is reserved for when Furiosa is an adult. And I’m not going to lie, that took a little bit of time to realize and adjust to. That testosterone is there, but it’s related to the second half of the movie and even then, you’re not going to be as floored as you were when watching Fury Road. That’s not because these action scenes are “been there, done that,” but rather they’re not the main focus.

Where the movie does excel though is in its emotional core. Understandably, Furiosa is the main character of this movie and we really delve into her mind. We see the goal given to her very early in the film that she needs to return to the Green Place and we see her grow up and become a layered and nuanced character. Granted, most of this is through Anya Taylor-Joy’s acting once Furiosa becomes an adult, but the looks she gives, the decisions she makes, and the ways she interacts with people, whether it be Immortan Joe, her partner Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), or Dementus himself, elevate her into one of the best characters of the past several years, hand-down.

Furiosa describes itself as an odyssey, mirrored by the five-act structure presented in the film. It’s a lengthy sit, much longer than the original Fury Road, and one that feels deliberate again. Pieces are established and eventually brought up again, but shockingly enough, I think that Fury Road handled a lot of its narrative moments better. There’s just a level of artistry in Fury Road that doesn’t come across here. Subtle little moments and planning that made Fury Road such a compelling watch aren’t apparent here, making Furiosa blunter and more straightforward. As shocking as it is to say, Fury Road has more to say about the nature of the world than Furiosa does.

Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Copyright: Warner Bros

That isn’t to say nothing is going on under the hood in Furiosa, since it is a story about vengeance and innocence lost at its core. We see Furiosa ripped from her peaceful home and turned into this violent and destructive force, one that Dementus draws direct comparison to. There’s also an attempt at using this story as a metaphor for loss in general, but it’s not a cut-and-dry comparison. I do, however, see Furiosa as a great war allegory given how Dementus and the Biker Horde fight against the Citadel and their allies for almost the entire movie solely for the control of resources, nearly plunging the entire Wasteland into chaos. But no matter how much I talk about Furiosa’s themes, they’re just not as compelling as the ones that Fury Road so effortlessly conveyed through its excellent script and cinematography.

Speaking of, I should probably mention the technical aspects of the film and it should come as no surprise that George Miller can shoot a great action movie. The scenes of violence towards the end are immaculately shot and show that no one can make an action movie like George Miller. It was pretty clear at moments where there were some bad shot compositions and an overreliance on green screens at points, but those are few and far between. Much like Fury Road, most of the scenes are shot with practical effects and give this film a sense of believability and tangibility.

I was surprised early into the film at how little the score was present. The droning bass and bombastic drums that defined Fury Road didn’t factor in for most of the film, even when we started to get into the more action-heavy setpieces. It did create this effect that the action beats and the scenes we were watching weren’t over-the-top dramatic affairs but had the inverse effect of making these moments more serious and tense. Don’t worry, the beats do come and they are glorious, but key moments of the film are often handled in silence, making them strangely more compelling.

Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Copyright: Warner Bros

And that was my takeaway after watching Furiosa – it’s a strangely more compelling film than Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a movie that commanded my attention even during the film’s numerous quiet moments. Despite taking some time to adjust my expectations, I was fully enamored with each little moment that presented itself in Furiosa that shaped her into the woman she would become. It trades in the bombast and masculinity for a quieter exploration of how a little girl becomes a woman and how she never forgets her heritage. I think I’ll need to watch Furiosa a few more times before I can definitively say whether it’s better than Fury Road, but the fact that I’m even open to that possibility shows that there’s something special about Furiosa that I can’t quite put my finger on yet.

Yes, I made a lot of direct comparisons between the two films, probably to an unfair degree, but when you advertise yourself as a prequel to an Academy Award-winning action spectacle that was one of the most talked about movies of 2015, I’m gonna make those comparisons. Even when standing alongside its predecessor, Furiosa stands out for its commitment to telling the story it wants to tell and not just being a slapdash sequel to Fury Road that’s merely a greatest hits rendition of what that movie did so well. It takes risks, numerous risks, and most of them pay off. Furiosa is an epic in every definition of the word and will keep you glued to the screen at all times. It may not be a perfect movie, but it’s damn well one of the best movies that has come out this year so far.

After months and months of crap, it’s good to finally have some good food.




An epic in every word, while it may not be as bombastic and visceral as Fury Road, the character drama, world-building, and decade spanning narrative more than make up for the film's weaknesses.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.