Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review – Does Anya Taylor-Joy Capture the Fury of the Wasteland?

    Explore our in-depth review of 'Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review' to see how Anya Taylor-Joy steps into the iconic role and whether this prequel lives up to the high-octane legacy of Fury Road.

Long before we ever stepped foot on the Fury Road with Charlize Theron's Furiosa and Tom Hardy's Max Rockatansky, director George Miller and co-writer Nico Lathouris first spent years laying out the backstory of the world of Mad Max, including the life and origins of Imperator Furiosa. It was this screenplay of Furiosa's story that Theron would read as a background for her character, and after the success of Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga seemed like the obvious next choice, especially with a screenplay ready to go. After COVID delays and scheduling conflicts, the film is finally on our doorstep. It's no secret that although Hardy's Max had his own silent, brooding charm, Furiosa was the star of Fury Road. Her journey was at the center of the story as she tried to escape with the five wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) to take them to the Green Place. Furiosa's character struck a chord with viewers, as much as the non-stop high-octane action did.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review summary

"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Review – Does Anya Taylor-Joy Capture the Fury of the Wasteland?" explores whether Anya Taylor-Joy successfully steps into the iconic role of Furiosa in this prequel to "Mad Max: Fury Road." The review delves into the key differences between the two films, highlights the standout performances, and examines the pacing, themes, and new characters introduced in "Furiosa." While it acknowledges the film's strengths, particularly in its detailed portrayal of Furiosa's backstory, it also points out areas where the movie falls short compared to its predecessor. Overall, the review offers a comprehensive look at how "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" fits within the beloved Mad Max franchise.

  • Anya Taylor-Joy's Performance: Evaluate how Anya Taylor-Joy steps into the role of Furiosa, comparing her portrayal to Charlize Theron's iconic performance.
  • Differences Between Films: Highlights the key differences between "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" and "Mad Max: Fury Road," including story structure, pacing, and themes.
  • Character Backstory: Explores the detailed backstory of Furiosa, providing insights into her character development from childhood to becoming an Imperator.
  • New Characters: Discusses the introduction of new characters, such as Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) and Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), and their impact on the story.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Identifies the strengths, particularly in character development and performances by Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy, and weaknesses, such as pacing issues and underwhelming antagonists.
  • Comparative Analysis: Considers how "Furiosa" stands as a prequel and whether it lives up to the cinematic excellence and impact of "Fury Road."
  • Thematic Exploration: Examines the film's themes of revenge, loss of innocence, and survival in the harsh world of the Mad Max universe.
  • Cinematic Elements: Comments on the cinematography, action sequences, and overall production design, comparing them to the standards set by "Fury Road."

How Does 'Furiosa' Hold Up to 'Fury Road'?

Let's just get this out of the way first. The comparisons will be inevitable. Not only are these two films Miller's more recent works, but they are naturally tied together. However, these are two very different films. One of the main differences is timing. While Fury Road takes place over a matter of days, if not hours, Furiosa takes place over the span of years, nearly two decades. Fury Road plunges us immediately into the deep end, engulfing us in the hot flames of Immortan Joe's caravan, whereas Furiosa starts more conventionally. It starts from the beginning of Furiosa's story when she was a little girl (played by an unmatched Alyala Browne) and leads up through her kidnapping and her years with the Warlord Dementus (a lackluster Chris Hemsworth) and through to her time as an adult (an explosive Anya Taylor-Joy) becoming the Imperator for Immortan Joe (now played by Lachy Hulme). Because of the nature of this story, the pacing and tone are completely different from the previous one. The heart-pounding action that was Fury Road is not fully present here, and in some respects, the story is weaker for it.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

It's clear that Miller has a vision for Furiosa and has dedicated many years to her creation. She's fully fleshed out in a way Max never has been​​​​​​, and this origin story feels like one of mythic proportions, with parables being bounced around as we watch Furiosa learn time and time again that the Wasteland will take everything from her. However, there is such a thing as too much information, and unfortunately, Furiosa falls victim to a problem that Fury Road never had. There are parts of the film that feel like a pure info dump, like Miller is filling in a picture that's better left bare. For anyone who has ever been curious about the world of Mad Max and, more specifically, about the war for dominance between the Warlords, prepare to have your curiosity sated.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

Speaking of these warlords, the newly introduced Dementus pales in comparison to Immortan Joe. While Joe feels like a nightmarish inevitability, with his zealous warboys and obsession with breeding, Dementus feels more like a pesky cockroach who simply won't die. Yes, he's cruel, and he is sadistic, but who isn't in this world? Furiosa's grudge against him is personal, but once that is taken away, Dementus feels flimsy. Joe had a robust supporting cast to instantly fill out his development without Miller needing to do much explaining, but Dementus is often seen monologuing, obsessed with his own voice and power. Considering that both Browne and Taylor-Joy are so compelling on screen, Dementus is unnecessary, and he quickly overstays his welcome. It was jarring to me, going into Furiosa and expecting the action I got in Fury Road only to get a much more unevenly paced film. Thematically, Fury Road is a story about redemption and triumph over an oppressive force, while Furiosa is about revenge and a total loss of innocence. The two stories serve different purposes.

'Furiosa' Breaks an Origin Story Up Into Chapters

Typically, we might see the rising action, climax, and falling action throughout the entire length of a film, but Furiosa breaks this up into five chapters. The result of separating the story into parts means that the runtime of 148 minutes feels more noticeable; the pacing for some chapters is relentless and energizing, while others feel like slow burns. The episodic nature of this format might not appeal to everyone as it robs the film of a more cinematic quality. In the first chapter, a young Furiosa is kidnapped, and we are plunged into action immediately. Her mother, Mary Jo Bassa (Charlee Fraser), acts as a one-woman army — following her daughter's captors from the Green Place all the way back to their camp. This is, by far, one of the most tense sequences. We know that Furiosa will eventually end up as an Imperator, so there's a looming dread that, despite all of Mary Jo's determination, ultimately, she will fail. It's equally frustrating to watch a young Furiosa make the mistakes that will lead to her capture, knowing that they are reasonable for a child while also wishing that she'd make the right choice instead.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

Each segment of Furiosa plays with tone. While the opening chapter is about Furiosa's introduction to the Wasteland, the subsequent chapters follow her as she learns bitter lessons from the cruel Dementus. Her time with Dementus is marked by anarchy and survival, at all costs. Furiosa witnesses Dementus' brutality firsthand and is largely silent, an observer and student to his brand of ruling over his gang. This chaos comes in stark contrast to the order of Immortan Joe's gang. As a girl, it's nauseating to watch Furiosa get lecherously eyed by Rictus (Nathan Jones), only for her to realize that the only way to survive as a woman with Immortan Joe is to eventually become one of his wives. The film culminates when she meets Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke). Her life changes as the story takes a sharp romantic shift. As she becomes determined to escape Joe's and run away to the Green Place with Jack, the conflict between the Warlords catches up to them. Consumed by her need for vengeance at this point, we finally see the full transformation, taking us from a precocious young girl into the enigmatic woman we first meet watching Fury Road.

What works with Furiosa is how detailed the telling of her story is.

Furiosa is an intrinsically interesting character and I always felt like I was rushing to get back to her story in this film. The problem is that Furiosa isn't just about Furiosa. The lore of the war between Warlords fills up a lot of time, and honestly, Dementus, Immortan Joe, and the other characters at Gas Town and the Bullet Farm simply aren't interesting enough to warrant the time they get on screen. The politics at play drag the story down, and I get the sense that Miller might have had a more svelte story if this extra fat was trimmed away. As valuable as the information about the politics of Gas Town and the Bullet Farm is for the actors, the viewer does not need to know so much information. Adding these elements dilutes Furiosa's story of vengeance.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy Are Magnificent as Furiosa

The absolute highlight of the film has to be the two actors leading the film, and, no, I'm not talking about Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. Though much of the marketing for this film centers around Taylor-Joy's older Furiosa, a large part of the movie sees Alyla Browne's young Furiosa as our leading character, so much so that, at one point, I forgot Taylor-Joy was even in the film. Browne has the potential to go far in this industry as the young actor easily slips in and out of the different phases of Furiosa's life.

The transition from Browne to Taylor-Joy is also incredibly seamless. The two actors are chameleons and when Taylor-Joy takes the lead, there are moments when she looks and acts so much like Charlize Theron that it feels like there's some movie magic at work to meld the two together. But there is not. That's all talent, and it's impressive, to say the least.

What is also a surprise is the natural romantic chemistry Taylor-Joy has with Tom Burke as Jack. The effect is instantaneous. The moment they meet, that chemistry crackles off the screen. Though the relationship feels a bit forced and needs more development to make it feel less rushed, Burke and Taylor-Joy make up for those shortcomings. The two characters can tell a whole story by simply sitting next to each other on a war rig, and it is reminiscent of Max and Furiosa in Fury Road, where the tension is so palpable there's no need for dialogue.

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

Unfortunately, where the film falters is with its other star, the aforementioned Chris Hemsworth. Complete with a giant nose prosthetic that feels both unnecessary and also does little to hide Hemsworth's natural swooniness — Dementus is not a role that Hemsworth slips into easily. The character is over-the-top, braggadocious, and ambitious, but the performance never slips into the truly sinister as it should. It's difficult to see the performance and not see Thor, God of Thunder, and Avenger underneath it all. From the washboard abs to the red cape, the costuming does Hemsworth no favors. He sticks out like a sore thumb and by the time we pass the midpoint of the film, his character feels extraneous. It's not that Hemsworth isn't leaning into Dementus, he is, but this character simply seems to be an ill fit for the actor. Unlike Charlize Theron in Monster or even Colin Farrell in The Batman who became essentially unrecognizable for the role, there are times when Dementus just looks like Chris Hemsworth in the Wasteland being an asshole. The film did not do enough to buff away the Marvel shine.

'Furiosa' Stands Strong on Its Own, But Still Lacks the Spark It Needs

I have no doubt that there will be fierce Furiosa defenders. At my screening alone, there were people saying Furiosa is better than Fury Road. And, to some extent, Miller deserves this praise; Furiosa deserves this praise. For the first time in this franchise, the story is centered around a female character and feels so wholly fleshed out and explored it's brilliant. But Furiosa still lacks a spark. It's being weighed down by Miller's world-building, doing a disservice to Furiosa's origin.

The production design is still as amazing as it was in the first film, but Miller's vision lacks refinement here. Cinematographer Simon Duggan (The Great Gatsby, 300: Rise of an Empire) does not have the same sweeping visual eye that John Seale had in Fury Road. We lose some of the size and scope of these battles on war rigs and the roaming caravans of bandits. Fury Road is undoubtedly an action flick first, but Furiosa is much more of a character study. Similarly, while Junkie XL returns as the composer, there are whole chase sequences and action sequences that are devoid of his heart-pounding compositions that had me wondering, Why are we sitting here in silence?

Furiosa A Mad Max Saga Review

At the end of the day, perhaps if Furiosa was released first, plunging us into Furiosa's introduction without knowing where she'd end up, the film would have had a stronger impact. But because it is a prequel, it will struggle under the shadow of a film that is technically and cinematically superior. Held up by Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy as stellar leads, Furiosa can be inspiring at the best of times — an Edmond Dantès-level story about revenge. But, at the worst of times, the film feels as bloated and unwieldy as The People Eater, dragged down by too many ideas. Does the good outweigh the bad? Just barely, but not enough to dethrone its predecessor.

Conclusion: Navigating the Fury Road Legacy

In conclusion, "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" embarks on a journey to explore the origins of one of cinema's most captivating characters. While it endeavors to carve its path through the wastelands of prequel storytelling, it occasionally stumbles over the weight of its own ambitions. Director George Miller's dedication to fleshing out Furiosa's backstory is commendable, yet the film often finds itself entangled in unnecessary exposition and underwhelming antagonists. Despite its shortcomings, the performances of Alyla Browne and Anya Taylor-Joy shine brightly, breathing life into the character of Furiosa at different stages of her tumultuous life.

However, the film's episodic structure and uneven pacing detract from its potential impact, leaving it overshadowed by the cinematic brilliance of its predecessor, "Mad Max: Fury Road."Ultimately, "Furiosa" stands as a testament to the complexity and depth of its titular character but falls short of reaching the dizzying heights set by its predecessor. While it may not surpass the legacy of "Fury Road," it remains a worthy addition to the Mad Max saga, offering fans a deeper understanding of the enigmatic Imperator.


  • Is "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" a direct sequel to "Mad Max: Fury Road"?
    • No, "Furiosa" serves as a prequel to "Mad Max: Fury Road," delving into the backstory of Imperator Furiosa before the events of the iconic action film.
  • Can newcomers to the Mad Max franchise enjoy "Furiosa"?
    • While familiarity with "Mad Max: Fury Road" enhances the viewing experience, "Furiosa" can be enjoyed as a standalone film, offering a compelling narrative that sheds light on Furiosa's origins.
  • Are there any Easter eggs or references to previous Mad Max films in "Furiosa"?
    • Yes, "Furiosa" contains subtle nods and references to previous entries in the Mad Max franchise, rewarding longtime fans with moments of nostalgia and connection.
  • How does Anya Taylor-Joy's portrayal of Furiosa compare to Charlize Theron's performance in "Fury Road"?
    • While both actresses bring depth and intensity to the character of Furiosa, their interpretations offer distinct nuances reflective of the different stages of Furiosa's life portrayed in each film.
  • Will there be more films exploring the Mad Max universe following "Furiosa"?
    • While no official announcements have been made, the success of "Furiosa" may pave the way for further exploration of the rich and dystopian world established by George Miller in the Mad Max series.

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