I’m writing this review with some hesitancy because pretty much everyone else I know loved this movie, critics are gushing about it and Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 98% score. I didn’t quite have the same experience, however, and I feel a bit awkward about it. I feel like I’m being a party-pooper.

Firstly, although there isn’t really anything to spoil in the movie, please be aware that I will be talking openly about everything that happened in it.

I’ll start with the fact that I am a big Mad Max fan. I’m not a super-fan who watches the films each year but I’ve certainly seen them all several times and thoroughly enjoy them. And I also love that George Miller took on this film himself at the age of 70 rather than handing it off to anyone else, and even has 3 more planned. Kudos to him for that. And I totally, totally respect the fact that he did most of the stunts practically. I love that. I love how Fury Road and the upcoming Force Awakens are bringing back practical effects. But while it was totally amazing in so many ways, I just felt this movie was lacking something.

I absolutely loved the first trailer when it was released last year. It was a work of pure genius. I could have happily watched that in a cinema for 2 hours on repeat. And there are so many things about the film that I love. The whole premise, like all Mad Max films, is just a total mind-f***. Miller’s imagination is incredible. The makeup, costumes, vehicles and sets are fantastic. And the cinematography is breathtaking in places. But I just felt the film lacked something in the plot or the pacing. It’s possibly the best chase scene in history, but that’s kind of all it was. And it was a chase scene that lasted for 2 hours. By the end of it I kind of felt immune to the loud noises and fast cuts and amazing camera angles and people flying everywhere. It was incredible but too much of it lessened the overall effect for me.

I would have preferred to have had some more slower sections, like all the other Mad Max films have had. Sections where you learn a little bit more about the characters or just get to realise what sort of desolate existence they are really living in and ponder about what happened in the past. That sort of side seemed to be missing from this Mad Max film a bit.

Hardy was ok in the role, but he was no young Mel Gibson. I don’t think I’m just being nostalgic there and it’s not meant to be a slight on Hardy. I actually really like Hardy but perhaps Miller wanted him to play this Max slightly differently. He did play the ‘Mad’ angle well but I think there were times where he just needed a little bit more dialogue or a little bit less ‘Mad’. I didn’t feel we really got much of a connection with Max. He seemed to just be a side character to Theron’s Furiosa (more about her later on in this post). Again maybe I’m too close to the Gibson version and maybe Miller wanted it portrayed differently this time. There’s even a fan rumour that Hardy doesn’t actually play the original Max at all but plays a grown up version of the Ferile Kid from The Road Warrior. But fan rumours are fan rumours.

I also felt that Miller seemed to spoil most of his big shots in the trailer: the helicopter/drone shot of the flares, the big explosion that happens behind Max when he’s on the pole, the wide shot of the big sand storm, the monster truck beetle jumping across the screen. These are things of absolute, sheer, unadulterated beauty and I felt they lost their effect in the film a bit because we had seen them in the trailer. And it wasn’t just a short version of them in the trailer. The shots in the film seemed to be exactly the same length as they were in the trailer. I felt he could have made more of them. Made them longer in the film. Lingered a bit. I’m not going to sit here and tell Miller how to direct or edit though of course but I just think these incredible shots got lost a bit in the fast paced action and this lessened their effect, as compared to their wow effect in the trailer.

There’s been a lot written about the feminism of the movie, for good and even for bad. To be honest I don’t think it’s a conscious ‘feminist movie’. It certainly revolves around women a lot and for the most part women are held in the highest regard, and that’s great in my eyes, but it was also Max who ultimately convinces Furiosa to return to the Citadel in the end and completely changes the path of where the women are going. I think it’s just great to see a plot that holds women in high regard and gives them a strong position. But the one main thing that I absolutely loved from this movie was Charlize Theron as Furiosa. I can’t stress that enough. I thought she was outstanding. The character was awesome and Theron was incredible. I could seriously watch her headline a Furiosa movie on her own without Max.

One thing I am surprised about is how many people are totally loving it. Mad Max films always had a bit of a niche audience but Fury Road seems to be keeping the masses happy which is interesting. I thought critics in particular would find holes in the plot but perhaps one of the reasons they are really backing it is because of its return to true film making with the practical effects, and I’m not going to argue with them if that is one of their reasons.

I’m just puzzled by a couple of reviews I’ve read where one said that the audience spontaneously started applauding at one point in the film, and a review of the Cannes screening said the audience applauded at three points during the film! I read this before seeing the film and I seriously could not work out what bits in the film could start an applause. I’m seriously confused. Perhaps they hadn’t seen the trailer and were applauding some of the cinematography? Perhaps. Particularly in Cannes where they are all film buffs. But normally when people applaud during a film it’s because of some big crescendo in the plot, but I just didn’t think this film had any moments like that. I would seriously love to know, so if you have any suggestions for what these moments could have been then please add them in the comments below.

As I said at the beginning I feel a bit awkward as I don’t want to be one of those internet haters, but I think I’ve explained the bits that I had some issues with and the main reason I’ve written this is because 99% of people I know say it’s almost a ‘perfect movie’ and I don’t quite agree with that so I had to write something about it.

I loved it and want more Mad Max from Miller but I’m also hoping he takes a slightly different angle with the next one. Let’s have a Furiosa origins movie!