Thanks to various non-movie related responsibilities, I have not yet seen Mad Max: Fury Road. And due to the fact that it doesn’t open here in the United States until tomorrow evening, I’m guessing that’s the case for many of you, as well. But after watching this trailer for the 100th time…
I’ll admit that I can’t wait. With only a few days to go, I’ve been seeking further confirmation that the next Mad Max will live up to every one of my mind’s insane expectations. Of all the major releases of summer 2015, this is perhaps the one that carries with it the greatest excitement. Avengers: Age of Ultron was a fine film that delivered what we wanted (more Avengers action than can be contained by standard screen sizes), but Fury Road promises something dirty and visceral and unhinged. The sort of unbridled insanity that other franchises can’t touch because they want kids to buy their merch.
Fury Road will save us from this neat and clean blockbustertopia, it will delivers us into a world of dirt and grime that explodes at 100 miles per hour. Or at least, that’s the expectation.
That’s the thing about expectations. They can often lead you down the path toward disappointment. So to stave off this disappointment, I sought out reviews from those who have seen it. The kinds of voices that I’ve trusted for years. Friends and cohorts who if necessary, would shoot straight and true, urging me to temper my own expectations and remember that modern summer cinema is more often writing hype checks that its movies can’t cash.
Upon inspection of the reviews from my most trusted sources, this does not seem to be the case. Apparently Mad Max: Fury Road is just as awesome as I’ve imagined. Let’s explore the big quotes that have us excited:
1. A kick-off from Keith Phipps at The Dissolve really sets the mood:
The engines start revving before the first image appears in Mad Max: Fury Road. And the noise only occasionally lets up before the closing credits roll. It expands into a symphony of combustion, burning nitro, rolling tires, crunching metal, explosions, and the occasional whirring chainsaw.
2. From our own Rob Hunter, there is mention that even though Tom Hardy’s Max is the titular star, it’s Charlize Theron’s Furiosa that has us most intrigued:
Hardy’s Max is our guide through this mad world, but Theron’s Furiosa is the heart. Both deliver characters hardened by their history, but while Hardy offers brief and subtle glimpses into his soul Theron allows the softness to occasionally break through her rigid surface. She creates a character whose life and plight we can’t help but care for and about, and it’s again a welcome intrusion into big budget summer entertainment.
3. Jen Yamato confirms just as much at The Wrap:
George Miller’s sequel/reboot is one prolonged kickass car chase through the desert featuring death-defying stunts. But the biggest surprise is Charlize Theron’s one-armed Furiosa.
4. And Theron’s near-dominance of the film, as well as the film’s feminist themes, are further reinforced within Devin Faraci’s glowing review at Birth.Movies.Death:
Theron is so fucking tough, and there are large sections of the film where it’s as if she is straight up jockeying with Hardy for ownership of the film. There’s a tendency for genre films to create female badasses by removing their femininity (the James Cameron thing), but Theron always feels like a woman, even if she has a steampunk mechanical hand and an alarming proficiency with firearms. Her goal isn’t vengeance or domination, it’s to help these women who are sex slaves of Immortan Joe.
5. You may ask, “but what about the action?!” Here are some thoughts for David Ehrlich at Time Out, who is notorious in his dislike of most big action blockbusters:
Marrying the biting frenzy of Terry Gilliam’s film universe with the explosive grandeur of James Cameron, Miller cooks up some exhilaratingly sustained action. But the key to this symphony of twisted metal is how the film never forgets that violence is a sort of madness.
6. The very thorough review from Drew McWeeny at Hitfix further confirms the visual poetry of George Miller’s movie:
“Fury Road” is told in movements, long sweeping rolling set pieces that evolve over the course of a half hour or more of sustained action choreography. At the same time, Miller’s telling this emotional story involving Max and Furiosa…
7. I’m already sold, but in case you need a little more of a push, here’s the big finish from Matt Patches at Esquire:
Miller takes a painter’s approach to realizing Fury Road’s apocalyptic visions. Reds, yellows, and sky blues mix and layer with consistent beauty. The film’s trailer played up an electrifying sandstorm that, on the big screen, is up there with John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath. When Hell isn’t swirling, the film’s still a sight to behold.