Just saw Mad Max: Fury Road last night. I know it's still a relatively new flick so I won't do any spoiling here. I just wanted to say, that as a far as action-y popcorn movies go, it's my number one pick of the year so far.
I was really excited for Fast and Furious 7 but it just didn't do it for me. There were things I liked about it but it just didn't measure up to the fifth and sixth installments. Mad Max had better action, better vehicular warfare, and an overall more cohesive and less schizophrenic story structure.
I also liked it more than Avengers: Age of Ultron. Heresy, I know. But that movie, for the handful of cool things that were in it (I'm looking at you, Vision!"), there was a lot that seemed like a rehash of the first Avengers movie. Even more than that, I don't like the idea that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is veering away from stories about heroes who just so happen to occupy the same universe to stories about setting up the next big crossover. I actively avoid mainstream superhero comics for that reason.
But back to the new Mad Max flick.
First, isn't not just a Mad Max story. In fact, it's more of a story about the people around Mad Max. He's there and Tom Hardy does a serviceable job of being the lone badass who gets swept up in other people's problems. We're all good there. You get to see him be tough and resourceful and a force of nature, for the most part. But the show really belongs to Charlize Theron's character, Furiosa. She's the real hero here. She's the one with agency and a backstory and a desire to see good done where Max just wants to move on to the next stretch of bad road.
Second, it's an action tour de force. Tons of practical effects. Tons of great fight choreography. And lots of post-apocalyptic headshots and pummeling. As far as action goes I'd rather see that than Dominic Toretto's showdown with Shaw the Elder or the Avengers taking on wave after wave of Ultron copies. The fights had stakes. You had to guess that at least some of our heroes would survive but I honestly couldn't tell who was going to walk through Death's door as the scenes played out. It was great.
Third, even though this is part of the Mad Max franchise it doesn't have the weight of being a sequel or reboot. To be honest, I'm not sure if it's meant to be one or the other. However, I will say that I was happy to be able to sit down and watch a movie and not feel like I paid $12 to hunt Easter Eggs or wait for a plot point that's only in the film to set up a sequel or prequel or spinoff or something. This was it's own movie and I appreciated it. I'm sure they'll give us a sequel. In fact, as I watched the film, I thought it'd be great to do a sequel called "Return to Thunderdome" and cast Angela Bassett as the same character that Tina Turner played in "Beyond Thunderdome." It'd be crazy trippy.
Last, and certainly not least, it was just plain fun. I haven't watched a Mad Max film in a LONG time but this definitely has me wanting to take a stroll (or drive) down Memory Lane and see what I missed on those first viewings as a little kid.
Overall, this may be the only movie I've seen so far this year that I can recommend with little to no reservations or caveats. Have at it!