Imagine that the kernel idea of the original Mad Max movies - a post-collapse desert world given over to brutality, drought, and near-barbarian levels of struggle for survival - was a laser. Now fire that laser down the intervening decades from 1979 where those decades contain prisms called Cirque de Soleil and Bandaloop and Burning Man and a thousand outdoor festivals and Maker culture that repurposes everything it can lay hands on and body modification and oh my god how much metal has there been in the 80s, 90s, and onward and whatever progress we've managed to make in thinking about women as equals(*). Refract the idea through all those prisms and that is this movie.
The movie doesn't really have a plot so there's nothing to spoil. There's a maguffin and it's an excuse for an epic car chase/motorized gladiatorial combat.
All that said, it's a good movie. It's good for how it treats its subjects. It's good for having a fine sense of pace. It's good for making clear what motivates the characters to do what they do. It's good for not talking down to anyone, either in the movie or the audience. It's good for being so incredibly fucking METAL.
It's good for Tom Hardy putting the "mad" in Mad Max. It's good for Charlize Theron playing a character that is at once so real and so fantastic that you can't help living through her. It's good for pushing the bounds of what people think science fiction can be and it's good for being thoroughly fantastic and over-the-top without ever once jumping a shark.
I give this film +1 for making Theron's character obviously disabled, having that character's disability and compensation for it be part of the story and the action, but not making her be pretty nor making it a focus. I mean, it's her arm and it's there and nobody so much as mentions it.
And oh my god is it metal. From the screaming guitar soundtrack to the fire-blasting guitar to the mentions of Valhalla and un-subtle swipes at ubermenschen. Yeah, it's metal.
4/5 stars. Would see again. I expect there to be sequals, which I will also want to see.
(*) Don't get me wrong, Tina Turner was awesome, but she was a one-off.