Mad Max: Fury Road Review
Reviewed by Owen Bush.
When the first explosive trailer for 2015’s epic reboot/sequel ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ dropped, expectations were largely mixed, making it appear that the film was another step into the direction of dramatic danger of both over-exposure and a lack of real plot compared to modern day, vigilant blockbusters. Luckily, director George Miller spans the sequel into a state of uncompromising brilliance – while the plot may be as simple as a level of Mario Kart, it doesn’t stop this Mad Max instalment from being a leap away from complexity and into simply stunning artwork.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the first time we’ve seen the titular, dubious psycho for 30 years; and with a new face, improved technology and a larger range of direction, he’s back with rich colour and texture. However, George Miller refrains from making him too different from the original style of Mel Gibson’s sophisticated and mental original. Tom Hardy is the new Max, whom surprisingly adds wit and charm to his rampaging counterpart – Hardy is with ease with this role (especially due to his mere amount of lines) and makes sure Max sustains the essence of the past films as well as improving on the stepping stones Gibson laid out for him.
However, although the title of the film may suggest otherwise, Charlize Theron, aka Imperator Furiosa, in-fact takes the blazing heat and heart of the film as she rides along the exquisite Namibian desert whilst wielding her mechanical metal arm as a furious weapon. I mean, if anything sounds less epic than that, let me (and George Miller) know. Theron is striking as Furiosa – the character booms into the film, almost as if she’s always been there, thanks to Miller’s stealthy writing, and whilst this isn’t ‘Furiosa: Fury Road’ (which is an ironic title), the character has the most depth and beauty, allowing the story to almost find its roots within the second act. Incredibly, Fury Road has a ton of heartfelt drama as the action dances around the heat, and it’s so refreshing to see as it balances upon its simple plot.
Another thing that surprised me when walking away from this film was the ongoing sense of strong, independent women in the film and this is also hugely refreshing from the norm set by usual high-budget blockbusters. Max – unlike many other hits, doesn’t depend on its women for sexual appeal, but rather as characters who are just as fierce – and sometimes more so – than the men in the film. Zoe Kravitz as ‘Toast’ especially shines; whilst she may have a limited role in the movie, I hope her elegance and determination continues as this new Mad Max saga begins.
Nicholas Hoult lights as Nux – the inspired-by-evil, shaven-headed shambles. He adds a lot of character and charm to a film that sometimes treads low on happiness. Hoult, once again, proves to us how dynamic he is as an actor, and I’m sure this will open up yet more gates for the actor as he tumbles back into the X-Men saga next year. Nux is a fun and frivolous character – whilst he does have some heartfealt moments, he shines best as he screams his virtues into the sunset – ‘what a lovely day!’.
Mad Max also has one of the grimiest villains we’ve seen in blockbuster history recently, Hugh Keays-Byrne is Immortan Joe: a disgustingly awesome attacker against Max and his pals. Immortan Joe is a gift of a villain, and although Joe and his brothers may seem a little hilarious in their nature, it almost reflects Fury Road’s sense of creativity and diversion from the norm – which again, as previously stated, is so refreshing in a movie world now, where even the most creative films still fall into the same mistakes made by many big-budget thrillers. Max isn’t totally perfect, yet its questioning moments are ran out by its epic originality and also diverse take on a apocalyptic blockbuster. The music also works tremendously with the film; it sets the tone and matches the intense setting that always conveys such beauty and richness around the characters. Specifically, the guitar-bungee guy (you’ll see) is a hilarious addition to the movie, but also acts as a guidance of bold sounds as the tension bolts up through the epic sequences of fire and glory behind Immortan Joe and his men.
Yes, this strong Mad Max sequel hasn’t got the most complex plot, and sure, it hasn’t got dashing amounts of character development from its core member, but frankly, that almost works in a opposite way and is a strange, but honest, positive for the film. Mad Max: Fury Road was written as an all-guns-blazing epic romp, and its simplicity is unique from a range of hugely complicated films in the box-office today. The complicated twists-and-turns that feature way too often only confuse the audience and move away from the sophistication of modern thrillers, while Fury Road makes sure that all it needs is the high-budget chase scenes and excruciatingly epic explosions, as well as the rich directing and fun characters – in the end, why do you need anything else? This is exactly why George Miller’s 2015 blockbuster is a killer, because it refrains from the repetition we see so often in the movie business, and Mad Max: Fury Road proves that simplicity is key.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a road away from the hectic stance of many high-voltage blockbusters today – it’s exuberant with hefty amounts of colour and imagination. Refraining from the norm, yet not forgetting it’s past self, Fury Road leaps the Mad Max saga into a rolling new sense of awesome, and I’m sure George Miller won’t refrain from continuing the saga from this intoxicating, integral sequel.