In a post-apocalyptic Australia where food and water are scarce, an enclave called the Green Place is one of the few areas with both. There, a young girl, Furiosa, is kidnapped by raiders working for biker warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). After Dementus engages in a war with Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), peace negotiations result in Furiosa being sold to Joe as a wife. Years pass and a grown-up Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy), along with Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke), plans to escape the clutches of Joe.

Miller continues utilising his distinctive directorial style of his previous Mad Max films with this instalment, to which the multiple pulse-pounding action sequences can attest. Ranging from an opening sequence that involves the young Furiosa being kidnapped all the way through to her infiltration of the Citadel, Miller never lets up on the pace and intensity, whilst also mixing in enough black humour to keep the tone fresh and unique.

The world-building expands beyond the previous entries to include some novel characters and settings, such as the unhinged Dementus and the chaotic, quasi-industrial realm of the Citadel, whilst also elaborating on previously-established elements in ways that serve to illuminate rather than spell out their origins. This is helped by the impressive production design from Colin Gibson, which really emphasises the unique, man-made nature of the various settlements that make them stand out from other science fiction universes.

However, it isn’t just the aesthetic that makes the film work, but also the performances. Taylor-Joy excels as the young Furiosa, not only embodying the strength and ruthlessness that Charlize Theron brought to the role in Mad Max: Fury Road, but also providing a greater degree of subtlety, particularly in her non-verbal moments.

In addition, Hemsworth chews the scenery as Dementus, really getting the most out of his early scenes that play up the character’s bombast and intimidating nature, however, it’s the latter scenes that show the character’s more human vulnerabilities that allow him to truly shine, providing Dementus with an extra dimension that pushes him beyond the realm of previous villains in the franchise.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to prequels, but it certainly stands out from the rest in its establishment of the origins of a well-loved and iconic character in an entertaining and engaging way. Miller, Taylor Joy, and the rest of the cast and crew have produced a stunningly unique work that will be remembered in years to come, when other similar prequels have been long forgotten.

In cinemas nationide now