credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Movie Review: FURIOSA (2024) ***

Furiosa is another entry into the Mad Max series of movies. This one serves as prequel to Fury Road, filling in the origin details of the titular character: stolen as a girl from a woman-friendly sanctuary, raised among the War Rig’s building and operation, seeking a way to get revenge and go home.

This is an extremely solid Mad Max entry. It lacks the symmetric narrative elegance of Fury Road, but it’s a respectable prequel that doesn’t feel inessential, either. I wasn’t sure how much they could really add that I’d care about. Of course, George Miller is the king of detail-oriented world building. He found places to elaborate.

Thanks to the convincing performance of a young Alyla Browne, I was riveted for a full half of the movie, and I genuinely believed the Furiosa she created. I also really enjoyed Chris Hemsworth (prosthetic nose aside) as a sick and charismatic Dementus. He hit all the right notes, which I understand to be challenging while working under a director as exacting as Miller.

Come to this movie for the vibes more than the set pieces. There is little of that tactile grandeur that made Fury Road such a blast to watch, but the process for making that feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is a more standard Mad Max. I think anyone who likes the broader Mad Max world will like this anyway.

On a more critical note, I just didn’t care for Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Her delivery in the last dialogue wasn’t especially compelling, which might have been the dialogue at large (it really dragged). But I also didn’t love watching her at any other point, either. She didn’t pull me in the way that the younger or older actresses did while playing the same character. I’m not sure what’s happening there — maybe she’s just a little too obviously Anya Taylor-Joy the whole time, maybe the difficulty of the shoot didn’t bring out her best performance… Who knows?

The movie is a post-apocalyptic pleasure to watch, and just the experience is enough. But Furiosa as a character is better without the added context. I tend to think we got everything we need to know about her in Fury Road. Miller and Max are best with less text. His props, costumes, and overall design are packed with visuals that offer plenty subtextually for people who want to know more about what’s going on. Adding more story doesn’t necessarily improve anything. And it nukes some of the mystery that makes Fury Road such a vibe.

Still, this movie would be entirely watchable as a double feature with Fury Road, and I think it would be pretty satisfying if you like the way George Miller does his world building. If for some reason you can only watch one, you should still watch Fury Road — it’s a truly great movie. Furiosa is a good movie.

(image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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