Fury is a balls to the wall war film that finds every opportunity it can to show you that war is hell. That is a portrayal of war that we have seen numerous times before and in a less blunt fashion than on display in Fury. Yet at its heart, Fury is really a film about manhood and what it means to be a man during the Greatest Generation. This too is done very bluntly throughout the film, and that is a very dangerous game to play. Fury certainly stumbles along the way due to this, but at the end this is a film you can’t help but like despite its many flaws.
Fury follows the crew of a tank in the final stages of the Allies’ campaign against Germany in World War II. Crew leader Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) is not happy when a new recruit (Logan Lerman) is forced upon him just as they are about to go on a perilous mission to provide a safety net to the supply lines. The plot is really nothing special. It’s something we’ve seen time and time before (a lot of the film is very reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan), and director David Ayer tries to make up for this by ramping up the violence. I understand that one of the themes that this film is using is that war is hell (another theme that has been done way too often in war films), but a lot of the violence in the early sections of this film was over-the-top.
The film’s near fatal flaw occurs in the mid-section of the film as it tries to hone in on its other major theme, manhood. As soon as female characters enter the film, the film’s blunt use of its themes gets to be very dangerous with what message the film is trying to send. While the events that unfold in the mid-section’s breakfast sequence may be realistic, the film gives you the sense that some of the atrocities that are committed during the sequence are okay because the female character may have liked it and that there are more dangerous people out there in the world.
Yet somehow the thing I take away most from this film are not the faults of the first and second act, but how incredibly well done the final act is. The momentum and character arcs of the film all perfectly crescendo into a stunning final battle sequence that will give any war sequence in film a run for its money. It’s here that the performances of Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, and (the highlight of the supporting cast) Shia LaBeouf really shine, and it is also here that David Ayer reveals why this is a film worth making.
A stunning final act outshines the many faults of the first two acts in Fury.