Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa holds the tenuous position of following up Mad Max: Fury Road, the defining moment of the 2020s. It would be hard to hold failure against it, but at the same time, for Furious to be anything less than sheer brilliance would be devastating.

So why the fuck is Furiosa a better movie than Fury Road?

Perhaps part of it is how Fury Road makes itself half of Fury Road‘s story. After seeing Furiosa, you’ll see Fury Road as the second part of a greater story about Furiosa. This franchise is no longer about the titular Max – it’s the story of Joseph from Genesis, a tale of a woman stripped of the Eden in which she was born, gouging the landscape in search of something new. There’s no Manifest Destiny because there’s no destination; these last two movies are the story of a woman’s cries of revolt in an endless desert.

And Furiosa explores this angle more than its predecessor, which was ultimately a triumphalist thrill ride. That’s by no means a flaw of Fury Road — it’s why everybody rightly fell in love with it. But Furiosa challenges the myth of the badass – as my girlfriend Janet pointed out, it asks “oh, you want the myth of a heroic girlboss? Well, here’s that with all the fucked up monstrosity that entails.” Moreso than Fury Road, Fury Road explores the contours of the patriarchal societies of the Wasteland. It has much more to say about the experience of the oppressed than Fury Road did. Hell, it’s more Biblical and difficult than Fury Road got in its best moments.

I don’t want to say much more because you really should just go watch this movie. Furiosa allows its protagonist to be an operator of the great mechanism of history, the “fifth rider of the apocalypse.” It’s beautifully structured, explicitly invoking Eden at the beginning and the end, and transcends its predecessors. This is as good as blockbusters get.…

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