In which our hero, Max Rockatansky, and seven other people drive something less than 100 miles while using largely improvised weapons to fight off a huge band of maniacs and berzerk warriors also using largely improvised weapons to stop them. That's pretty much the whole movie, in a very minimal sense.
From an action standpoint, the movie never stops. Even the quiet points have key characters held at gunpoint. And the loud points, well, the loud points are amazing. They make you want to look away, but the visuals are so amazing that you can't.
But then we have to ask who the heroes of the movie actually are... Is Max a hero? I've been reading the "How to Train Your Dragon" series of books by Cressida Cowell and I think that gives us a pretty good definition of what a hero is. It's something along the lines of someone who fights for what is right, regardless of the consequences or the final outcome. Max definitely isn't a hero by that definition. Even in the original Mad Max, Max wasn't a hero. He wasn't fighting for some universal sense of right, he was blindly trying to stop inevitable change. Then, after he lost everything, he was ineffectual in getting revenge and succeeded only because the bad guys made terrible choices. In this movie too, he's ineffectual. He's blown up, dragged around, shot. He'll fight, but it's because he just wants to be a bard in some quiet place, not out of any sense of fighting for what's right.
Is Furiosa the hero then? She is if your definition of hero relies on people who fail to understand how the world works. Frankly, she's Christopher Columbus. She thinks that she has some great idea that everyone has overlooked, but, in reality, she's wrong and only succeeds in the end through luck. Columbus thought everyone else was wrong and the Earth was small, would would allow him to sail west to India. He would have died if there hadn't turned out to be a set of continents in his way. Similarly, Furiosa would have killed everyone through her quest if Max hadn't said "hey, lets just go back".
Obviously Immortal Joe, the Bullet Farmer, and the People Eater aren't heroes either. Their lives are based entirely on oppressing everyone around them and trying to continue the oppression for as long as possible.
Are the wives heroes then? They definitely make motions in that direction. They make a daring escape from captivity (and convince Furiosa to help them escape) and they were willing to pay with their lives for what they thought was right. Unfortunately, given the limited resources of the Citadel, it seems like they've only postponing the inevitable.
My vote for the real hero of the film in Nux, the war boy. In any situation that he's in, he works to do his best. And, when faced with a true right or wrong situation, he fights to help the wives. In the end, he even sacrifices himself. Never mind the fact that you end up with the same negative from the wives...
In the end, the movie left me with a couple big questions...
Why are the names only ridiculous outside of the movie?
What's with the silver spray paint? Is it literal spray paint so the war boys can be "shiny and chrome" or is it something symbolic? Or are they just huffing before they die?
Onward! It sounds like Tom Hardy signed on for three more sequels.