Furiosa Makes the Original Mad Max Required Viewing

Furiosa Makes the Original Mad Max Required Viewing


  • Imperator Furiosa’s relationship with Max was one of the emotional high points of
    Fury Road
  • Both Furiosa and Max are characters motivated by revenge due to traumatic losses in a violent world.
  • Viewing
    Mad Max
    is essential to fully understand the bond between the characters in
    Fury Road

While Max is the titular protagonist of Mad Max: Fury Road, most viewers agree that Imperator Furiosa was the film’s stand-out. A hard-edged survivor, she risks everything to help a group of women escape a life of slavery. It’s a role that challenged gender roles, and Charlize Theron’s performance as a feminist action hero was highly acclaimed. Her bond with Max Rockstansky proved fascinating, with the two forming a strong emotional connection despite the wasteland’s violent nature. Knowing a good thing when he sees one, director George Miller promptly got to work on Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. More phantasmagorical than its kinetic predecessor, the film explores Furiosa’s backstory before Fury Road. In doing so, Miller revisits the narrative structure of his first Mad Max film.

Mad Max is a franchise known for its fluid aesthetic, as George Miller has never been one to shy away from visual experimentation. Each film evolved the scope and world of its character, gradually leaning into the setting’s surreal nature. In that regard, the original Mad Max is an outlier, especially when compared to Fury Road and Furiosa. Shot on a shoestring budget, Miller’s directorial debut was a scrappy exploitation film far removed from the grandeur of his later work. While Furiosa is an operatic coming-of-age epic, Mad Max is a glacial slow burn that favors a more subtle approach to world-building. Despite their differences, the two films mirror each other, and both are necessary to fully appreciate Max and Furiosa’s connection.

Both Furiosa and Mad Max Are All About World-Building


Mad Max Fury Road & 9 More Action Spectacle Films Critics Actually Loved

Critics often turn their noses up at big-budget action romps, but sometimes they can’t help but give into a high-octane adventure like the rest of us.

The Mad Max franchise is synonymous with high-action thrills. Both The Road Warrior and Fury Road are famous for delivering groundbreaking car chases on a revolutionary scale. However, George Miller is more than an action maestro, as he is one of the most imaginative filmmakers working today. A long-time practitioner of visual storytelling, Miller has always been obsessed with building detailed fictional worlds. Many of his films are about observers in a deeply idiosyncratic setting, and the Mad Max series is no exception. Each installment, even the relatively reviled Beyond Thunderdome, develops the wasteland as a textured environment. The original Mad Max is no exception, even if it’s the franchise’s most down-to-earth entry.

Due to the progressive overtones of his work, it’s easy to forget George Miller got his start in exploitation. A shining example of the genre, Mad Max is a grungy thriller capitalizing on society’s fear of imminent collapse. The film portrays a world in decay, overrun with crime while on the verge of anarchy. Biker gangs fill the streets, and the police grow more ineffective with each passing day. One of the film’s most amusing ironies is how the cops look just as brutish as their criminal counterparts. As a member of law enforcement, Max Rockstanky witnessed firsthand how violence consumes his community. Failed by the institutions designed to maintain order, he abandons civilization and embraces the incoming chaos.

Furiosa may be significantly more far removed from reality, but it shares Mad Max’s dedication to world-building. While the original film showcases humanity succumbing to savagery, Miller’s newest installment builds an ecosystem upon the ashes of madness. A vengeful observer, Furiosa is forced to bear witness as various warlords try to maintain capital within the wasteland. Power-hungry men like Dementus and Immortan Joe see the apocalypse as a perfect backdrop for their burgeoning despotic empires. They create a culture of brutality, denying Furiosa’s title character a peaceful life. Whereas Max feels betrayed by the establishment, Furiosa is entrapped within an institution shaping a violent dystopia.

Furiosa and Max Are Both Characters Motivated by Revenge


Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga Has the Same Story As This Underrated MCU Movie

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has a lot in common with one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most tragically overlooked movies – Black Widow.

Furiosa introduces viewers to a character deeply wronged by the world around her. Taken from her home as a child, Furiosa is forcibly adopted by wannabe warlord Dementus as a surrogate daughter. The insecure manchild torches her mother at the stake, inspiring a deep sense of hatred within the girl. Miller’s film shows the wasteland takes everything away from Furiosa, losing her family and lover to the violence of men. Once the character reaches adulthood, she can only survive by serving those who perpetuate such depravity. Furiosa lives for revenge, spending her life plotting to murder Dementus. Max has similar motivations, for he too has lost everything in the wake of society’s dismantlement.

Before Max Rockstanky became a mythic figure of folklore, he was a simple family man. Mad Max devotes a large chunk of the runtime to establishing its main character as a loving husband and father. An unwilling witness to increasing violence, Max tries to keep his loved ones safe from the cruelties consuming the world. Unfortunately, a vicious biker gang begins to stalk his family, leading to tragic consequences. The police refuse to take the situation seriously, costing Max’s wife and child their lives. That act of brutality proves to be a breaking point, and Max becomes an avenging angel of death. Both Furiosa and Rockstanky are molded by tragedy, sparking a deep connection between the two.

Mad Max and Furiosa Reveal the True Emotional Connection Fury Road’s Leads


10 Ways Furiosa Makes Mad Max: Fury Road Better

The context provided in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga makes the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road even better in retrospect – especially regarding these scenes.

In many ways, Fury Road‘s ethos is built upon Max’s relationship with Furiosa. At the beginning of the film, these two warriors are strictly allies out of convenience. Max only cares about his own survival, while Furiosa views him as a vicious animal akin to a war boy. Neither is willing to trust the other, but they’re bound together by the violence around them. Without an ounce of superfluous exposition, Furiosa and Max form a deep respect for each other. Their bond is wordless but profound, with the rogue imperator inspiring a radical change within the franchise’s title character. Furiosa is a savior, not a survivor, and motivates Max to play a less passive role in his own narrative.

George Miller’s leads tend to be spectators, surrogates for the viewer to explore a fantastical world. Characters like Pig In The City‘s Babe and Happy Feet‘s Mumble are effectively blank slates audiences can project themselves onto. The events of Mad Max force it’s title character to become Miller’s archetypal protagonist, an anonymous nobody passing through a surreal landscape. Broken by his personal losses, Max is a shallow husk of a man. He’s not an active protagonist, as he has nothing left to care for in a desolate wasteland. Much like Max, Furiosa is a survivor grappling with grief, though she is a far more proactive figure.

Furiosa reveals the traumatic nature of its title character’s backstory, revealing a woman not too dissimilar from Max himself. Both characters lose everything they care about to savage cruelty and are subsequently forced to embrace a violent lifestyle. However, Furiosa resolves to become an agent of change, fighting against an oppressive world order. She risks her life to save Immortan Joe’s wives, fighting tooth and nail for their freedom. Max sees himself in Furiosa and resonates with her perseverance in the face of trauma. The imperator’s willpower pushes Rockstanky outside his role as a bystander and moves past his sense of apathy. By creating such distinct parallels in their character arcs, Miller adds a powerful layer of subject to their dynamic.

Furiosa and Mad Max Are Required Viewing to Fully Understand Fury Road

Action Mad Max: Fury Road – Imperator Furiosa


How the Original Mad Max Trilogy Connects to Fury Road & Furiosa

Over the course of five films, the Mad Max timeline and the stories of Max and Furiosa have become increasingly connected.

Max and Furiosa’s connection is one of the great action team-ups of 21st-century cinema. It’s refreshing to see a man and woman develop such an intense bond built on camaraderie instead of romance. These characters flip gender dynamics within the genre, giving Fury Road a great deal of narrative heft. Much has been written about Miller’s blood-caked fantasia as a feminist work, many of which focus on Max’s relationship with Furiosa. Both are three-dimensional roles with their own emotional arcs, a rarity in genre filmmaking. With that being said, one can only fully understand the depth of their friendship by watching both Furiosa and Mad Max.

George Miller’s sensationalist apocalypse franchise has definitely outgrown the original film in terms of scale. It’s a series known for over-the-top spectacle and gonzo visuals, neither of which are present within Mad Max. Furiosa and Fury Road are perhaps the apex of Miller’s flair for gorgeous access, and surreal masterstrokes in genius world-building. Stylistically, they couldn’t be more different than the first film. However, there are many structural similarities between Furiosa and Mad Max despite their contrasting aesthetics. Both are about worlds built on violence and characters fueled by vengeance, and Fury Road serves to unite these broken souls. While formally disparate, viewers need to see Mad Max and Furiosa to properly understand why they make such an effective team.

  • Furiosa A Mad Max Saga New Film Poster-2

  • Mad Max Poster