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The ‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Exit Survey

Getty Images/Warner Bros./Ringer illustration

Buckle up, folks, it’s time to revisit the Wasteland. Our staff digs into the spectacle—and box office flop?—that was ‘Furiosa.’

Nearly a decade after the masterpiece that was Fury Road graced our screens, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has arrived. The fifth installment in George Miller’s postapocalyptic franchise had plenty of hype heading into its Memorial Day opening, but box office returns were surprisingly lower than expected. That doesn’t mean Furiosa isn’t full of heartstopping moments, which our staff is here to dissect—along with the performances of Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

1. What is your tweet-length review of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga?

Miles Surrey: George Miller doesn’t miss.

Austin Gayle: I left the theater wanting more Anya Taylor-Joy, more War Boys, and more car chases. But I don’t think I’ll ever get enough after Fury Road. George Miller has spoiled me!

(I also couldn’t unsee young Bam Margera as Praetorian Jack.)

Kat Spillane: Come for the action sequences, stay for Chris Hemsworth exuding charisma as Dementus and Anya Taylor-Joy serving face.

Alan Siegel: Just replace “overtime playoff hockey” with “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.”

Jomi Adeniran: Car go vroom, stuff go boom, time go zoom, box office doom.

2. Who is the MVP of the movie?

Gayle: ATJ. Hemsworth has his moments, but Anya is the star.

Adeniran: Hemsworth by a mile. He’s the only character with lines in the movie. He has to carry the entire narrative on his back, and he does a pretty good job of doing so.

Siegel: Picking the hero is too easy here. So let’s go with Praetorian Jack, for playing Kyle Reese to Furiosa’s Sarah Connor.

Spillane: Furiosa’s mom, what a badass. Similarly serving face.

Surrey: Miller, who, even at the age of 79, is doing action like nobody else on the planet. My theater had a collective meltdown when the bikers chasing Praetorian Jack’s War Rig transformed into paragliders.

3. What’s the gnarliest part?

Siegel: An easy choice: when Furiosa wakes up in that underground den beneath the Citadel where maggot-infested limbs are hanging on hooks like zombie Ibérico hams.

Spillane: The whole situation with Furiosa and her arm had me feeling some kind of way. Beware of maggots. Anyone with a maggot phobia, this might not be the movie for you.

Adeniran: I can stomach a lot of things movies throw at me these days, but Dementus losing his nipples to a Saw contraption of his own free will made me cringe like crazy.

Surrey: Avenging your mother’s death by capturing her killer and having a peach tree sprout out of his writhing body … that’s cinema, baby.

Gayle: I had to turn away from the scenes of the underground human meat market. That was vile, and also very reminiscent of an all-time horrific human livestock scene in The Road (2009).

4. How does Furiosa compare to Fury Road?

Adeniran: In the nicest way possible, it kind of doesn’t, in the sense that Fury Road is one long chase scene and the momentum doesn’t stop. In this movie, we’re constantly stopping and going, stopping and going. The War Rig and other action scenes are cool, but it’s not the same.

Surrey: I feel like the biggest complaint about Furiosa is how much it differs from Fury Road, which is a shame since audiences should meet this movie on its own terms. This is closer to a biblical epic, exploring how stories are emboldened and embellished as they are passed down over time. (Notice how the History Man recounts various scenarios about how Dementus died … the unreliability recontextualizes Furiosa’s entire journey as myth.)

Siegel: Unlike Fury Road, Furiosa takes a handful of deep, dusty, often pretty damn disgusting (and interesting) breaths in between War Rig runs and biker horde rides. The prequel is intense, but in a different way than its predecessor.

Gayle: I don’t think you can really say one is better than the other. They’re the same movie; Furiosa just puts more dip on the chip. And I think that should warrant even more praise for Taylor-Joy. She essentially replaces Max in his own saga and doesn’t skip a beat.

Spillane: I’m not sure anything could have the same impact Fury Road did. It feels singular. You can’t help but compare the two, but I think Furiosa holds up better if you think of it as an adjacent or even separate story. All in all, I was very content to be back in that Wasteland world.

5. Does this prequel change the way you think about Fury Road or reveal anything you hadn’t considered before?

Surrey: It certainly hits harder when Furiosa collapses to the desert floor and screams in agony that the Green Place is no more.

Adeniran: I didn’t know how the Organic Mechanic came to be in the service of Immortan Joe, but I didn’t think it would be as a throw-in in a trade, like he was Luke Ridnour in summer 2015.

Gayle: Furiosa definitely solidified the Many Mothers as badasses. It also hardens Furiosa even more than Fury Road does. Losing her mother and Bam Margera the way she did is wild, and that probably doesn’t even scratch the surface of what her life was like growing up in the trenches of the Citadel as a girl forced to pretend to be a boy who couldn’t speak. That’s grit.

Siegel: Naur for me. But it did introduce me to a man called Scrotus, a name I hadn’t considered before even though I grew up in a family with brothers who spent way too many hours hurling phallic insults at one another.

6. How would you grade Dementus as a warlord, and why?

Gayle: The nipples scene is iconic. Everything else was hit-and-miss for me [ducks]. I just don’t need to laugh with the murderous savages in the Mad Max universe. I want to laugh at them or fear them. Hemsworth’s Dementus objectively had more charm than Furiosa’s crush, Jack; that doesn’t work for me! Three out of five.

Siegel: An A; he’s remorseless, reckless, and strong and has impeccable comic timing and a good vocabulary?! (“Sorrow is more piquant, zesty,” he says while licking Furiosa’s tears.) Also, in case you’re listening out there in the Wasteland, Dementus, here’s my pitch: If you need a new guy with gray hair who tells tales that take many hours to finish, I can be your Oral History Man.

Adeniran: 2011 Finals LeBron. Son Heung-min one-on-one vs. the keeper when he played against Manchester City in 2024. Ryan Leaf vs. the Chiefs in Week 3, 1998. Nick Anderson at the free throw line to ice the game. Jimmy Garoppolo up 10 in Super Bowl LIV. The 2024 Denver Nuggets.

Just one of the worst choke jobs we’ve ever seen. How do you blow a 2-0 Gastown and Bullet Farm lead??

An F-.

Surrey: You know Dementus was a terrible warlord if he makes Immortan Joe—a man who enslaves women to produce milk and children—seem like he’s got a good head on his shoulders. But it’s more interesting to explore Dementus and Praetorian Jack as the two sides of Max Rockatansky: One is completely driven to madness after a terrible loss, and the other maintains an honor code.

Spillane: He kind of seems like a fun guy to follow, minus the whole bureaucratic mismanagement and general lack of strategy. Not sure you’d ever be bored by Dementus. Like if you had to pick one warlord, he has cute dogs and the gift of gab.

7. Anya Taylor-Joy. Discuss.

Gayle: Yes.

Surrey: She can run me over with the War Rig anytime.

Spillane: She has a singular face. Can hold your attention every time she’s on-screen, even without a ton of dialogue. She also kicks ass as an action star. What can’t she do?

Siegel: Her tête-à-tête with Hemsworth’s character in the final minutes is my favorite movie scene of the year so far.

Adeniran: She was really good when she had things to do! Her best work was when she was going bar for bar with Dementus at the end. If we had gotten more of that earlier on, it would definitely be a better movie and we’d be having a different conversation. She did well with what she had, but I wish there were more.

8. You can bring one souvenir back from the Wasteland. What is it?

Gayle: Give me a War Rig with the new spinning balls of death on the back. I’ll drive that thing to work every day.

Surrey: Something I can drive, like the paragliding bike. Why get stuck in New York traffic when you can fly over it?

Spillane: They accessorize really well, you have to give them that. I think I’d opt for one of the fun head adornments? Or a pair of goggles? Fans of Bravo will know that Summer House just had a doomsday party. I would love to throw one of those with some fun Wasteland fits.

Siegel: A peach from the Dementus tree.

Adeniran: Yeah, one of those peaches from Furiosa’s tree; they looked good as hell.

9. Furiosa is the worst Memorial Day weekend opening in 30 years. What do you think is the biggest factor behind its disappointing performance?

Spillane: It’s a strange one. It didn’t feel like an event movie, at least online or in the court of public opinion. It should have been, but it just didn’t click in that way. Maybe it was the prequel of it all or the lack of viral marketing stunts. I went on a Tuesday night in New York, and the theater was almost full. I wonder whether it will grow steadily. I hope it will; it’s an achievement of filmmaking that’s worth checking out and is a fun time at the movies. We must keep the summer blockbuster alive.

Gayle: It’s a prequel without any of the original stars from Fury Road, including Charlize Theron. It’s also the first movie in the five-part series that doesn’t feature Mad Max. Hemsworth’s Dementus brings some star power, but it’s not enough to fill the Hardy-sized hole in the film.

Siegel: I have no idea. But I do know that Fury Road, one of the best movies of the century so far, was only a moderate hit. In fact, it didn’t even crack the box office top 20 in 2015. It opened at $45.4 million domestically and in its first weekend finished behind Pitch Perfect 2, a comedy that won’t be getting a Criterion Collection release anytime soon. I don’t care if Furiosa doesn’t make a billion dollars. I’m just glad Miller got to make it.

Surrey: Since Fury Road is one of the greatest action movies ever made, it’s easy to forget that (a) it wasn’t a huge box office hit and (b) it earned a B+ CinemaScore grade from audiences. It’s not Miller’s fault that the normies don’t know greatness when they see it.

Adeniran: Because Atlas came out the same weekend, and why would you go to a theater when you could stay in bed and watch Jennifer Lopez and AI compete to see who can sound more robotic?

10. Miller is still talking about the possibility of Mad Max: The Wasteland. We just got the Fury Road prequel—what would you want out of a sequel?

Surrey: Sadly, it looks like Furiosa will be the last Mad Max movie we’ll ever get because of those aforementioned box office woes. But if Miller ever gets a chance to continue the story, I don’t have any requests—I’m just happy riding shotgun.

Gayle: Put Anya Taylor-Joy and Florence Pugh in a car together. Add Barry Keoghan and Bill Skarsgard in a car together. And then give Jesse Plemons his own car, motorcycle, or whatever. I don’t care what the story is. I trust you, George.

Spillane: Can we not do a sequel but a spinoff all about Praetorian Jack? Not trying to franchise this, but I need to know more!

Siegel: More Scrotus!

Adeniran: More War Rig madness, less Wasteland sadness. Fury Road was great because it wasn’t bogged down by the politics of the world. We were just kind of along for the ride, and as counterintuitive as it may seem, it made the world seem so much bigger. Just stick to making stuff blow up while a guy plays a wicked riff in the back, and I think we’ll be OK.

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