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Can George Miller’s Mad Max Prequel “Furiosa” Keep the Franchise’s Flame Alive?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

With Mad Max: Fury Road being one of the most highly-acclaimed and widely-loved blockbusters of all time, this new prequel had humongous shoes to fill. Mad Max fanatics and general viewers alike prayed that this film would step up to the plate with a similar grand scale of epic storytelling that Miller is so well known for. So, as a fan of the Mad Max franchise myself, I decided to see it. And while this movie is undeniably a serious feat of moviemaking, I have some thoughts. So, without further ado, here is my take on why Furiosa is very, very good (but not necessarily great):

The Story is Incidental

It’s no accident that the majority of the Mad Max films are big rigs crashing into each other. I would argue that most people don’t watch Miller’s movies because they want a strong story. They want action! This film was similar to the rest of the franchise in the sense that it explores larger-scale themes through physical expression. This makes for visually exciting films, but it doesn’t necessarily emotionally engage audiences within the story. Viewers don’t need to work as hard to immerse themselves or emotionally connect with characters because the film does the work itself. While this type of storytelling is brilliant and can lead to stunning shots, it doesn’t always leave a lasting impression with watchers.

A Little Too Long For My Liking

This most recent installment of the Mad Max franchise is the longest of the series, which I find to be unnecessary. Something so inherent to the success of the older Mad Max films is that they are absolutely jam-packed with strong action scenes back-to-back, with little to nothing else. While these action-packed scenes are definitely present in Furiosa, there is a lot of time-lapse that occurs throughout the movie which makes it drag on for a little longer than needed, like when little Furiosa was trucked around in Dementus’ cage for a quarter of the film.

Too much chit-chat

Much like Mel Gibson’s performance, Anya Taylor-Joy took on the quintessential Mad Max persona: stoic, silent, and only speaking through gritted teeth. However, I felt that this beloved persona was oftentimes being sacrificed when Furiosa would break her silence at less pivotal moments throughout the film. By keeping her character silent longer, it makes it all the more powerful when she actually chooses to speak. And now that we’re talking about talking, don’t even get me started on Chris Hemsworth’s chatty portrayal of Dementus, who is one of the most talkative characters in the film. Although his final monologue works to establish more of his character, I can’t help but feel that it would seriously benefit from some word cutting and more action. After all, this is the Mad Max franchise, is it not?

chris hemsworth in his villain era

In his performance of Dementus, Hemsworth portrays himself as a cocky and desperate man who thirsts for power. In the film, Hemsworth takes a comedic route that is very new to the ultra-serious, ultra-dangerous Mad Max films. While I don’t necessarily think the added “comedy” (debatable) was required for his character, I do think his performance heightens that of the stoic natures of the characters around him. Not to mention, as an actor, Hemsworth usually plays the handsome, smug hero, so viewers can tell that he is trying to impress audiences with this role switch. Personally, I felt that this is taking away from the magic of truly immersing yourself into his character’s story. Also, did they really need to make him wear a prosthetic nose?

where’s my war boys?

This critique is my own personal gripe, but it needs to be said. One of my all-time favorite characters of the Mad Max world was Nicholas Hoult’s war boy portrayal in Mad Max: Fury Road. This had me asking one question throughout this film: what about the war boys? In Furiosa, there was little to no deeper exploration of the war boys, which I found to be truly disappointing especially since there was plenty of opportunity for even just a moment of personal connection with them. Considering how interesting and vital they are to the world-building elements of the wasteland, I found this a bit underdeveloped.

whose movie is this?

When I bought tickets to this movie, I bought them because I wanted to know Furiosa’s story (which was what I expected because this movie is literally called Furiosa). Nonetheless, I truly couldn’t help but feel that this was Dementus’ movie. Yes, this is a revenge movie in which Furiosa avenges her mother’s murder. However, even in Furiosa’s final moments with Dementus—moments in which she should be experiencing catharsis through finally getting her revenge—the focus remains on Hemsworth’s character, not allowing audiences to truly experience the satisfaction of beating the bad guy (which Mad Max fans live for).


“To get home… Furiosa fought the world.” She will return with a vengeance. Experience #F#FuriosaA #M#MadMaxaga in theaters May 24. #a#anyataylorjoym#movietokf#filmtokm#movietrailert#trailerchrishemsworth

♬ original sound – Fandango

Despite its flaws, Furiosa is a commendable addition to the Mad Max saga, showcasing some serious skills on behalf of director George Miller. While the story may lag at times or be a bit vague on who it surrounds, one thing is for sure, this film delivers on spectacle. While Furiosa may not reach the heights of its predecessors for viewers like me, it still offers a thrilling ride, proving there’s something to be taken away from the captivating nature of the wasteland.

Autumn Morgan is a third-year Film & Television major at UCLA who grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She thoroughly enjoys being overdressed and reading women’s divorce fiction. In her free time, you can find her laying by a river eating fruit.