George Miller's long anticipated follow-up to Fury Roadis a meditative prequel that I didn't quite expect. Sure, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has the same DNA and all the meticulously crafted, high octane racecar action offered in its predecessor, but also offers a deeper plot and thoughtful thematic through line.

Many are calling it one of the greatest prequels ever made, and I certainly don't disagree. There's a lot to unpack in this narrative backstory for the titular Furiosa, so let's skip the hoopla and jump right to it. Start your engines, or whatever. Vroom.

Spoilers ahead!

Furious Road: A 'Furiosa' Summary

Furiosa's opening scene is a bit of a jarring contrast to your typical expectations of George Miller's decades spanning sandy, apocalyptic The Wasteland: a beautiful, colorful, lush green garden we know and love in Mad Max-ian lore as The Green Place. This is where we meet young(er) Furiosa, palling around with her sister Valkyrie and far from the agent of vengeance we meet her as in Fury Road.

This innocent and jovial fruit hang is short lived, however, when she stumbles upon scavengers later to be revealed as members of Demuntus' clan. Furiosa admirably—if not recklessly—does as Furiosa does and sneaks to cut the gas line to their choppers (with her teeth!)

As you can imagine (or probably saw already if you're reading, right?) she's found, captured, and taken back to Dementus' camp.

So goes the catalyst of the rest of Furiosa. When captured she's able to send a warning cueing her mom Mary Jo Bassa (cool) to chase after her in a totally rad horseback/motorcycle/sniper/sandstorm sequence that eventually leads to her mom's capture and eventual execution at the hands of Dementus, tragically witnessed by Furiosa.

This of course sets into motion the rest of the movie (you've seen it, probably), setting up Furiosa's revenge arc against Dementus, as well as the rivalry between Dementus and Immortal Joe that acts as the backbone of Furiosa's plot.

But, most importantly, before all this cruel tragedy prompting a decades-spanning (fury!!!) road of vengeance, Mary Jo Bassa gifts Furiosa a a seed from The Green Place as her final act. One hell of a Chekov seed that Furiosa holds near and dear to her for the entirety of an ambiguous timeline that clocks to be roughly 15 to 20 years.

More on that seed later.

Furiosa and Dementus Throw Down (With Elegant Dialogue)

After the simmering rivalry between Immortal Joe's The Citadel and Dementus Gas Town surrounding Furiosa's central plot escalates to the 40-Day War, Dementus is inevitably defeated, left with almost nothing. Once dwindled down to his main crew, more or less, Dementus attempts to escape, Furiosa in tow chasing him down to make good on her promise of avenging mommy dearest.

After a clever but fruitless (for now!) smoke and mirror chase sequence where Dementus attempts to bail obscuring his identity and characteristically putting his followers in danger as he makes his desperate last effort to make it out alive (not without a very funny “We’ve done some mighty things together. Uh, good-bye”). Furiosa of course dwindles down his henchman, but Dementus seems to escape in a sand storm.

Cut to Dementus camped out in a makeshift tent sleeping off the storm, seemingly safe, reaching for his canteen that he quickly realizes has been punctured in his snooze. Then, bam, Furiosa's silhouette above. Then, bam, we're gearing up for a little fight, until Dementus is very quickly defeated, chained up by Furiosa. But it doesn't end there...

Look, we love a long-anticipated climactic showdown between a titular hero and a gonzo villain. We love a nice fight between them where they do action at each other—we loved, in a recent pop culture example, that sick last duel in Dune: Part 2. But despite all the stellar action Miller delivers in Furiosa, the final showdown between Dementus and Furiosa is a mostly tame dialogue scene analyzing what it means to be human in a world that renders The Wasteland, and what drives people to become a Dementus versus a Furiosa.

It's extremely well written, and as a big fan of multilayered dialogue I adored the self reflection at the heart of it. Dementus, in his last bit of charmingly off-kilter schmooz, says:

“You are a freak. You could’ve nicked me in the night, but you didn’t. So you must be that other thing. Are you that thing?”

“Fifteen years ago, there was a woman,” Furiosa replies.

“Do I get a clue?” he asks. “Was she your mother? Sister? Did she scream? The ones that yell the least don’t stick."

“My childhood, my mother—I want them back,” Furiosa screams. “I want them back!”

“That’s how I feel!” he says. “My own magnificent beauties, taken unjustly. I too crave revenge.”

“Despite what you did to her, she was magnificent."

“Someone worthy of me,” he replies, somber. “Just two evil bastards out here in the Wasteland … We seek any sensation to wash away the cranky black sorrow. We are the already dead, you and me.”

Then, after a bit of back and forth and punching and stuff, once Dementus finally realizes all is lost for him, he retorts one of my favorite lines in the entire Mad Max franchise regarding his defeat:

“The question is, Do ya have it in ya to make it epic?”

I love this exchange so much, not only in how it humanizes Dementus, but also in the larger existential question at the cold black heart of the Mad Max franchise. In a world as lost as Miller's The Wasteland, what is humanity? What is hope? Is there a point in trying to be good, or is it truly a matter of deafening motorized brutality and bartering your life to make it simply as high in the hierarchal food chain as possible? How close are the ethics of our current state of existence deep rooted in this belief system?

Heavy stuff.

Furiosa doesn't end it here, however. After a bit of narration from The History Man (we love The History Man) it takes a bit of an ambiguous turn to myth of how exactly Furiosa enacted her final vengeance. We get a couple quick shots of the mythologized could-bes until The History Man reveals Furiosa personally told him exactly how she punishes Dementus for taking everything from her...

What Happens to Dementus?

The Ending of 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' Explained

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Warner Bros.

Furiosa cuts out his tongue and turns him into a fucking tree!

The Chekov fruit tree of all Chekov fruit trees, Furiosa plants the seed she's held onto, the final heirloom of her mom and The Green Place, inside Dementus. Still seemingly alive in some capacity Dementus is forever imprisoned (as a tree!) in The Citadel, creating one of the best cinematic visuals of retribution this guy can note.

The unexpected, full-circle symbolism of punishing Dementus with the seed passed to her from Mary Jo Bassa is thematically brilliant. It's cruel in a meaningful way, expressing the inherent discourse Dementus and Furiosa exchanged in their final showdown. Furiosa somehow finds the perfect revenge, showing her own inherent anger and cruelty in a somehow beautiful way.

I was blown away.

This leads to a montage bit that bleeds into the credits tying Furiosa and Fury Road together that's less interesting but a nice bow on the timeline. This is a Fury Road prequel, remember?

That about does it here. What did you think of that ending? Think Dementus will return as a tree man and reclaim his vengeance? Let me know.

Also, there's a post-credits sequence I missed. I have no right to speculate because I didn't see it. But here is Screen Rant's take for all interested.