Skip to main content

Is Furiosa a worthy follow-up to Mad Max: Fury Road?

Anya Taylor-Joy shields herself from fire in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024).

There aren’t many modern action movies as universally acclaimed as Mad Max: Fury Road. Released in 2015, the fourth installment in writer-director George Miller’s Mad Max franchise is a surreal, gasoline-soaked action movie of the highest order. An orgiastic procession of mind-boggling stunts, car chases, and explosions, it’s action filmmaking at both its most elegant and crude. Now, nearly 10 years after that film hit theaters, Miller has returned with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, his long-awaited Fury Road prequel. Starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, it tells the story of how Charlize Theron’s Fury Road scene-stealer transformed from a kidnapped young girl into the head driver for a possessive, brutal warlord.

Expectations have been high ever since Furiosa was announced, but skepticism among die-hard Mad Max fans began to grow after the film’s first trailer was released. Put off by some of the seemingly unfinished visual effects featured throughout the teaser, some fans suddenly felt forced to wonder whether or not Furiosa would truly be able to recapture the magic of Fury Road. But few could have expected that Furiosa would try to cast a different spell altogether. Unlike Fury Road, which relentlessly hits you over the head until you’re left dazed and practically concussed, Furiosa mesmerizes you.

Furiosa is a different kind of Mad Max movie

Both films offer overwhelming experiences, but whereas one is assaultive, the other is hypnotic. Across its 148 minutes, not a single one of which is wasted, Furiosa traps you in its own measured, deliberate rhythm, making you feel every step that its heroine takes on her journey across a cinematic wasteland that only seems to grow more hopeless and unforgiving with every return trip Miller makes to it. Comparing the two now seems both foolhardy and necessary.

Chris Hemsworth leads an apocalyptic motorcycle gang in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Mad Max: Fury Road is an engine-busting chase that kicks into high gear after just a few seconds and doesn’t ever come to a full stop until its credits roll. Furiosa is, conversely, a slow march through Hell. It’s a longer, slower blockbuster than Fury Road — one that so thoroughly takes its time exploring its heroine’s story that its ostensible star, Anya Taylor-Joy, only shows up around the film’s midpoint. Visually and tonally, Furiosa feels like a natural extension of Fury Road. In terms of its pace, length, and structure, though, it’s almost the complete opposite of that film. It tosses out the lean style of Fury Road — a thriller that speaks only in brilliant, but concise shorthand — in favor of a more meditative, literary approach that places a heavy emphasis on the epic, mythological nature of Furiosa’s personal, vengeance-fueled story of loss and redemption.

To enjoy Furiosa, you must do this one thing

Those who go into Furiosa expecting it to be as constantly adrenaline-pumping and fast-paced as Fury Road will, in other words, be disappointed. That doesn’t, however, mean that Furiosa is itself a disappointing follow-up to its beloved parent film. In certain instances, the prequel proves that it’s capable of delivering set pieces that are so deranged in their construction and jaw-dropping in their execution that they could have easily been featured in Fury Road. Its action sequences are not Furiosa‘s biggest priority, though. The film’s interests are more psychological and environmental because its story is less about literally fighting for a better future and more about how hope is lost and kept alive in a world in which human hopelessness has transformed the very Earth.

Tom Burke stands between Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures

Furiosa follows its titular protagonist as she loses her home, mother, identity, arm, and the only man she’s ever been able to love (Tom Burke’s Praetorian Jack) over the course of just 15 years. She comes from a place of “abundance,” full of trees, life, and hope, and finds herself trapped in one devoid of all of that. Along the way, Miller further fills out Fury Road‘s desert wasteland. The film’s villain, a psychotic warlord named Dementus (Hemsworth), tries to take over not only the Citadel, a fortress of vegetation, shade, and freshwater, but also its two neighboring communities, Gastown and the Bullet Farm, both of which are similarly defined by their resources. When Dementus arranges a meeting with the Citadel’s leader, Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), he doesn’t demand money or surrender, but weekly shipments of food and bullets in exchange for continued trade with his recently conquered Gastown.

In Furiosa‘s world, basic necessities like food and water are rare commodities to be fought over and controlled. As important as those resources are, though, the battle at the center of Furiosa isn’t one for oil or bullets, but between hope and hopelessness. By killing her mother, stealing her from her home, and then killing Jack, Dementus repeatedly tries to take Furiosa’s hope away from her. Miller and co-writer Nico Lathouris make this explicit when Dementus captures Furiosa and Jack. “Where were you going, so full of hope?” he asks, before bellowing, “There is no hope! For you, for me, for any of us!” All the while, Furiosa carries with her a seed from the Green Place, given to her by her mother just minutes before she died. The seed naturally becomes a symbol of hope — a belief that something new, beautiful, and worthwhile can still be grown even in a world as inhospitable as the one Furiosa has found herself in.

A road warrior’s origin story

A bloodied Chris Hemsworth holds a gun and a steering wheel in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Jasin Boland / Warner Bros. Pictures

Throughout the first half of Furiosa, things only happen to Anya Taylor-Joy’s young warrior. A newcomer to the wasteland, it takes Furiosa many years to become the kind of capable road warrior she is when she’s introduced in Fury Road. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that Furiosa‘s first real, extended Fury Road-esque action sequence only comes after its biggest time jump when its protagonist is given the chance to prove herself on Praetorian Jack’s war rig. By the time of Fury Road, Furiosa has already learned how to take control of her own life — and it’s her ingrained, personal level of agency that allows both her and a similarly capable Max (Tom Hardy) to communicate mostly through their explosive actions in that film.

At the end of Furiosa, she finally achieves that agency. She steals a vehicle from Immortan Joe’s sons and ably carves her way through Dementus’ few remaining foot soldiers before catching up with her unsuspecting tormentor. As she beats him and demands that he return her former life to her, Dementus argues that they’re the same. “You crawled out of a pitiless grave, deeper than Hell,” he remarks. “Only one thing will do that for you. Not hope — hate.” Moments later, he tells her that they’ll both do anything to “wash away the cranky black sorrow,” but while he insists that there’s nothing she can do to balance the scales of her misery, Furiosa finds another way.

Hope over hate


She doesn’t kill him. Instead, she traps him in the Citadel and turns him into a fruit-bearing tree. She plants a literal seed of hope in him and lets it grow. Five years later, it bears the fruit she needs to not only convince herself that there’s a better life worth fighting for, but also Immortan Joe’s seemingly doomed wives. When Furiosa subsequently ends with a montage of Joe’s wives preparing to leave the Citadel, the journey they all take in Fury Road somehow seems even richer and more desperate than before — and their victory all the more hard-fought.

Furiosa may, therefore, not have been the prequel that many Fury Road fans were expecting, but it’s one that more than earns its connections to that film. It may not be as rip-roaring or outright thrilling as Fury Road, but it’s just as carefully and exuberantly made and even more emotionally compelling. It’s a prequel comprised of unexpectedly bold, subversive decisions, and it complements Fury Road so well that, together, the two form a double feature that is as satisfying as a great novel. It’s an epic in every sense of the word.

Furiosa is now playing in theaters nationwide. Mad Max: Fury Road is available to stream on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
5 best spy TV shows you should watch right now
Luciane Buchanan and Gabriel Basso in The Night Agent.

The shadowy world of secrets, lies, and undercover operations conducted mysterious characters has always intrigued fans and critics alike. Countless spy TV series have captivated viewers over the years, with many more still to come as the genre enjoys no shortage of modern stories and creative approaches that will undoubtedly keep it thriving for years to come.

For viewers looking for the best spy show on the small screen today, there is a diverse selection that showcases different sides to the secretive realm of espionage. From the action-packed adventures of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan to the deadly cat-and-mouse game in Killing Eve, these contemporary classics capture the essence of the spy genre and are a master class in tension and suspense. Prepare for intricately woven tales of deception, riveting high-risk missions, and emotional explorations of the complex personal lives of those who live in the shadows.
The Night Agent (2023-present)

Read more
The 10 best movies on Tubi right now (June 2024)
Mark Wahlberg pulling Will Ferrell's tie in a scene from The Other Guys

Tubi is a free ad-supported streaming service (FAST) offering tons of great movies. You don't need to sign up for an account or provide a credit card number or even use a trial period. Just visit the site, search for a movie, and start watching. It's that easy. You can sign up (for free) if you want to access enhanced features, like watchlists, recommendations, and parental controls. But there's no obligation to do so. The only catch is that you'll have to sit through the occasional ad while you watch.

You also have to keep in mind that the selection of movies available on Tubi is constantly changing. When you see one you want to watch, it might not be available the following month. But you'll also find new titles from one month to the next. That's why we keep this list updated for you, highlighting the best movies you can watch on the streaming service. From classics like I, Robot that are more topical today than ever to relatively new titles like Ford v Ferrari, these are the 10 best movies on Tubi right now.

Read more
Best Paramount Plus deals: Get your first month free
Paramount Plus logo on an Apple TV.

Many of the best streaming deals will be found among the best live TV streaming services, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a standalone service or two worth turning to for some savings. Paramount Plus is a standalone streaming service that has tons of great content and some affordable ways to subscribe. From movies to sports, there’s always something new on Paramount Plus, and we’ve got all of the ways to save on a subscription. This includes a way to watch Paramount Plus for free. You can also save on some ways to put a Paramount Plus subscription to good use, such as with phone deals, tablet deals, and laptop deals, or you can scale up your viewing experience by checking out the best TV deals going on right now.
How to sign up to Paramount Plus for free for a week
The best way to go about watching Paramount Plus for free is by utilizing the Paramount Plus free trial. This is a pretty easy free week of access to claim, as all you have to do is sign up for a Paramount Plus account. The free trial is good for seven days, and it will give you full access to either the Paramount Plus Essential plan, which is regularly $6 per month, or the Paramount Plus with Showtime plan, which regularly costs $12 per month. Utilizing the Paramount Plus free trial is a great way to watch a particular sports event without having to commit to a monthly subscription, or to simply explore the Paramount Plus library to ensure there’s enough you’d like to watch before subscribing.

How to get a discount on a Paramount Plus subscription
If you're a student you can enjoy 25% off a Paramount Plus Essential monthly subscription. To do so, you simply need to verify your student credentials. You'll need to be a college or university student currently enrolled at an accredited, Title IV higher education institution to qualify.
How to save on your Paramount Plus annual subscription
An annual Paramount Plus subscription is a valid option if you're in it for the long term, as extended subscription will grant you some savings. Anyone who signs up for the Paramount Plus Essential plan for a year pays just $50 while the Premium plan costs $100. It works out as cheaper than subscribing on a monthly basis.

Read more