'Mad Max: Fury Road': What the Critics Are Saying

George Miller's post-apocalyptic action flick stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.

Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in director George Miller's R-rated sequel to the post-apocalyptic franchise he started with Mel Gibson in 1979. The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow title is expected to open in the $40 million range.

See what top critics are saying about Mad Max: Fury Road:

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy writes, "This madly entertaining new action extravaganza energetically kicks more ass, as well as all other parts of the anatomy, than any film ever made by a 70-year-old — and does so far more skillfully than those turned out by most young turks half his age. ...  While very similar to its predecessors in almost every way, the film has devilishness in its details: the tribal-style makeup, the endlessly inventive vehicles and armaments, the wild costumes and facial adornments, radiantly scorched locations that resemble ― and yet go beyond ― the series' previous wasteland evocations, and a society equally lawless but more entrenched than those seen in earlier films (one that is, in fact, presided over by the same imposing actor who played the chief bad guy in the original Mad Max in 1979). And then there's the new leading actor, Hardy, who's so ideal a replacement for Gibson that one wouldn't want to imagine anyone else having taken over the role."

Miller brings the film to its two-hour length "by coming up with innumerable new elements to keep the action compelling. ... Mad Max films are known for the moments when the cars' superchargers are engaged for surges of speed, and it's clear that Miller's personal superchargers are in excellent working order. The colors are bold, the Namibia locations look like Arizona on steroids, virtually all the action looks real (thoughts of CGI only intrude with the massive dust clouds and certain personal and vehicular wipeouts), cinematographer John Seale's cameras are everywhere they need to be to record the action maximally, and Junkie XL's score hammers and soars. Second unit director and stunt coordinator Guy Norris clearly deserves major credit for delivering much of what's most eye-popping onscreen, and the film never sits still for more than a moment or two."

The Boston Globe's Ty Burr calls it not a reboot, but "a power-up — an outrageously kinetic, visually inventive, dramatically satisfying demolition derby that pits the matriarchy against the patriarchy while standing as the action film to beat for the rest of the summer, possibly the decade. It may be the best thing Miller has ever done. ... The action choreography is propulsive and astounding, a fusion of production design, editing, high-octane (and often gorgeous) camerawork, and the spectacle of vehicles of insane description bounding around and over each other. ... For all the mayhem (surprisingly unbloody), Mad Max: Fury Road works because it tells a story that feels both fresh and eternal. Miller has given us a new chapter in the age-old tug-of-war between man and woman, conqueror and nurturer — one that is far from didactic and full of gray areas while tapping into current discontents in subtle ways." Plus, "Hardy gives a rock-solid performance that never stoops to showboating: He’s there to serve Miller’s vision the same way Max is there to serve Furiosa’s mission. Hardy and Theron complement each other beautifully, dedicating themselves to hurtling their characters from point A to point B without getting killed, yet allowing Max and Furiosa to grow in almost invisible ways."

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Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips says, "This is a maniacal chase picture, as if you couldn't tell from the trailers, many times more expensive to make than Miller's first two Max's back in the late-20th century. The new film carries a full but not suffocating load of digital effects that actually look like Miller oversaw their creation, rather than simply turning them over to people he'd only met on the phone. And the real star of Fury Road is second unit director Norris. Here, too, the collaboration with Miller appears seamless. ... The story's thin, thinner than it seemed in the earlier pictures, but crucially director and co-writer Miller delivers several variations on a signature shot. It's one he didn't invent but that he relishes more than life or fossil fuel itself: the low, asphalt-scraping car's-eye-view perspective as the vehicle barrels down the road, with a faster vehicle (or three) coming up fast on the left and then zooming past, en route to someone's last ride." Though "there are patches of Fury Road when the flourishes get to be a little much, ... Good for Miller for making a big-budget movie that doesn't feel like the studio was breathing down Max's neck every second."

New York Daily News' Joe Neumaer explains, "What helps make it whirr and roar is a minimal use of CGI. Director Miller has kept an element that made Warrior and Thunderdome special: super-real smashes and crashes. ... Yet it’s not just the action that benefits. The story’s theme of undaunted hope in the midst of appalling inhumanity makes it the rare summer event flick that has its brain stuck right next to its gas pedal." Of the leads, "Theron’s stump-armed, raccoon-eyed, ferocious Furiosa is one for the ages. With a metallic appendage and a knife in her side, Furiosa commands attention, whether driving like the Devil, pausing for reflection or howling in rage. Hardy is compellingly odd. Muttering to himself and able to take an arrow or a bullet, he’s a brute with kind eyes and a twitchy distraction that comes from his damaged psyche."

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw notes, "Extravagantly deranged, ear-splittingly cacophonous, and entirely over the top, George Miller has revived his Mad Max punk-western franchise as a bizarre convoy chase action-thriller in the post-apocalyptic desert. ... This film does not appear to run sequentially from the previous trilogy; it’s more a general reimagining of the first, or the overall raddled mood-scape of all three. ... [It] is almost a silent film in its way. Dialogue is at a minimum, and when Max says anything it is usually preceded by an eccentric rumbling, mumbling mmmm'sound, like a macho Mr Bean."

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