‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’: What Do Critics Say? What Do You Say?

Published: May 24, 2024

Following up what is considered one of the greatest action movies of the last decade is no easy feat. But that was the task facing George Miller as he set out to make a prequel to his Oscar-winning 2015 blockbuster, “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The result, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” tells the origin story of the Imperator Furiosa, the breakout character who first appeared in “Fury Road” — played by Charlize Theron then and Anya Taylor-Joy now.

The new film hits theaters on Friday, but critics weighed in when it premiered at Cannes last week. Comparisons with the other films in the “Mad Max” series (and especially the beloved “Fury Road”) were inevitable, and critics seem to agree that “Furiosa” feels heavier and sadder — but it’s less unanimous if that’s a positive or a negative. Read what they had to say, and let us know in the comments what you think of the movie.

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: “Scene for scene, ‘Furiosa’ is very much a complement to ‘Fury Road,’ yet the new movie never fully pops the way the earlier one does. As it turns out, it is one thing to watch a movie about warriors high-tailing it out of Dodge on the road to nowhere. It’s something else entirely to watch a woman struggle to survive a world that eats its young and everyone else, too. Miller is such a wildly inventive filmmaker that it’s been easy to forget that he keeps making movies about the end of life as we know it.” Read more.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “What it all adds up to is a movie that can be darkly bedazzling, and that will be embraced and defended in a dozen passionate ways — but it’s one that, to me, falls very short of being a ‘Mad Max’ home run.” Read more.

David Ehrlich, IndieWire: “Does ‘Furiosa’ deliver the kind of system shock that made its predecessor feel like such a violent rebuke to superhero-era Hollywood? Absolutely not — though its two bona fide set pieces both eclipse the most electric moments of ‘Fury Road,’ while also iterating on them in fantastic new ways (the much-hyped ‘Stowaway to Nowhere’ sequence is an out-of-body experience). But Miller’s decision to shift gears ultimately proves to be his prequel’s greatest strength.” Read more.

Stephanie Zacharek, Time: “Miller is going for something majestic here, and ‘Furiosa’ does at times look imperiously handsome: he and cinematographer Simon Duggan know how to make the movie’s trillion or so mounds of sand look positively silky. But despite its many, many action sequences, and a symphonic cacophony of motorbikes vrooming in the sand, the movie, divided into chapters with droney titles like ‘Lessons From the Wasteland,’ evolves into a slog that’s working hard to persuade us we’re having a good time.” Read more.

Odie Henderson, Boston Globe: “The majority of this origin story for Furiosa is not only unnecessary, it’s nowhere near as captivating as the earlier film. Why did I need such detailed explanations for a character whom Miller and Theron had previously embodied with such glorious mystery and pathos? Why show a world whose loss Theron already conveyed in that iconic shot of Furiosa kneeling in the sandstorm? I long for the days when I didn’t have to be told every damn thing about a movie character or event.” Read more.

Dana Stevens, Slate: “To Miller’s credit, there’s never a sense that he is recycling ideas or cynically milking his own franchise. The stunts may be created using a mix of practical and digital effects, but the result still feels handcrafted and personal, with admirable contributions from production designer Colin Gibson, costume designer Jenny Beavan, and editor Margaret Sixel.” Read more.

Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: “It feels like with this fifth Mad Max installment, Miller is trying to add operatic heft and seriousness to what started in 1979 as a fun, rip-roaring smear of nightmarish, postapocalyptic motor oil. In that case, ‘Fury Road’ was fantastic, but ‘Furiosa’ is just fine.” Read more.

Tara Bennett, AV Club: “‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ officially enters my tightly regulated library of highly regarded prequels because Miller is entirely interested in building up an inner life and history for Furiosa that can exist without ‘Fury Road’ and still be a damn fine movie. And then Miller executes the pinnacle prequel trick of turning the relationships, connections, and losses collected in ‘Furiosa’ into subtext that makes the already sublime ‘Fury Road’ even better.” Read more.

Joshua Rothkopf, The Los Angeles Times: “If the movie has a deficiency (and it does), it’s not one of exposition but euphoria. The ‘Mad Max’ universe was never all that cautionary, not if you yourself ever wondered how you’d make it through societal meltdown and what kind of mohawk you’d get. … ‘Furiosa,’ to its distinction and detriment, ends up being too self-regarding, too downbeat. It takes the fun out of survival.” Read more.

Source website: www.nytimes.com