Furiosa Reviews Are Inspiring Great Joy – And Great Fury – From Critics

After nearly a decade, director George Miller has returned to the Wasteland with "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga." The film serves as a prequel to 2015's Oscar-winning, dangerous epic "Mad Max: Fury Road," which has garnered a reputation as one of the greatest action films ever made. Miller enlisted Anya Taylor-Joy ("The Queen's Gambit") and Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") to tell the tale of Furiosa years before we met her in "Fury Road." With the film hitting theaters this week, critics have weighed in, and while many are praising Miller's latest, others have vocally disliked it. So, what are critics saying about the long-awaited film?

The latest entry in the "Mad Max" franchise centers on a young Furiosa (Anya-Taylor Joy) who is snatched from the Green Place and winds up in the hands of the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). As he goes to war with the Immortan Joe for control of the Wasteland, Furiosa is forced to survive many trials as she tries to find her way home.

As of this writing, "Furiosa" holds an 85% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. While that's not as high as the 97% rating "Fury Road" holds, it seems like the majority of critics have enjoyed what Miller has put together after all these years. But taking a deeper look, that raw number might be a little misleading. So let's go over what critics are saying exactly, good and bad, to get a better sense of how people feel about it.

What do the critics who love Furiosa have to say?

On the positive side of things, /News's BJ Colangelo gave "Furiosa" a perfect, glowing 10/10 review, saying that it "will undoubtedly go down as one of — if not the — greatest prequel films ever made." She also added that "'Fury Road' is an even better movie because of 'Furiosa,'" while calling the new film Miller's "magnum opus." So not only is she saying that "Furiosa" is, itself, perfection, but that it adds even more to what many already consider to be a perfect film.

Writing for the Arizona Republic, Bill Goodykoontz had a similarly glowing review, saying, "'The question is,' Dementus asks, 'do you have what it takes to make it epic?' Miller answers that question with a resounding yes."

Ian Sandwell, writing for Digital Spy, did have a small word of caution for viewers, saying, "'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' is not 'Mad Max: Fury Road.' But it is another singular cinematic experience that needs to be witnessed." So don't go in expecting a repeat of what came before, but something else entirely that is also, per Sandwell, worth witnessing.

Writing for Den of Geek, Matthew Byrd said that the new film "shocked me repeatedly with its grotesque imagery, general brutality, and dreamlike philosophical sequences." Byrd also added that, "It's not that we haven't seen such things in other movies, but rather that it's hard to remember the last time we saw such things in a movie that will likely be one of the year's biggest blockbusters."

Miller relies more on CGI in "Furiosa," even though he didn't go so far as to de-age Charlize Theron. Dana Stevens, writing for Slate, shared that the end result is still very satisfying, saying, "The stunts may be created using a mix of practical and digital effects, but the result still feels handcrafted and personal."

What about the critics who don't like Furiosa?

What about those who didn't enjoy the film? That's where things get tricky with "Furiosa." As of this writing, the majority of critics liked it, if not loved it. But those who didn't? They really didn't.

"For me, this isn't cinema. It's not even movies, but rather a joyless, pointless, pretentious and inartistic slog," wrote Mick LaSalle for the San Francisco Chronicle in one of the more scathing reviews of Miller's fifth "Mad Max" film. "It's visually monotonous and tonally random, casual when it should be serious and then, out of nowhere, self-important. It's awful," he added, not holding back one bit.

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Joshua Rothkopf was particularly hard on Miller's use of CGI in "Furiosa" saying, "Too much of its blood and fire is the work of computers, and for the first time, that work is obvious." Much of the praise for "Fury Road" has always been connected to its use of practical effects, such as crafting a real flame-throwing guitar. Rothkopf added that "there's something very un-Mad Max about this; the tactility of the earlier films fed into the realness of potentially surviving the fall of civilization."

"You soon reach the point where you're sick of sand, sick of explosions, sick of off-puttingly sadistic violence, and sick of thunderous drums bashing away on the soundtrack, and yet the film keeps piling on more and more and more of them," wrote Nicholas Barber for the BBC in another takedown of the prequel. He also added that the film "seems like one of those spin-off graphic novels that plug the gaps between two films in a franchise, but which don't quite match up to the films themselves."

"It gets so busy with all the revving, and the roaring, and the non-stop decimation of faceless computer-generated creatures, that you feel completely uninvolved. And unmoved," said Shubra Gupta for The Indian Express. "I couldn't wait for it to get over," she added bluntly.

Where might you fall on this spectrum? You can find out when "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" hits theaters on May 24, 2024.