I saw it described numerous places as a two-hour chase scene and that just sounded really tiring, especially combined with its over-the-top aesthetic. But it does know that viewers need quiet moments to catch their breath and the pacing works pretty well—though I misunderstood spoilers and thought the movie ended somewhat sooner than it actually did, so that was a little weird for me.
I've seen a lot of praise for the action scenes, particularly their use of actual vehicles. To me, something about the way the first vehicle sequence was shot didn't make it look any more or less "real" than good CGI—I think it may have been slowing down and speeding up things for effect? It wasn't very engaging, anyway, though not as distancing as the truly terrible opening sequence of Ultron. By the last big setpiece I was engaged, but that was probably as much emotional as anything. And, overall, the aesthetic was not particularly my thing (except for Imperator Furiosa, Charlize Theron's character, which (a) has her face and (b) is about the most simple thing in the movie).
Yes, it is about the toxicity of masculinity in a sexist world, and yes, there are lots of matter-of-factly disabled characters, including at least one and possibly two protagonists, depending on how you view things. (However, there is just one obviously non-white character.) But enough was done right about sexism and the female characters that three moments spotlighting male characters at the expense of female characters felt particularly jarring to me—not enough to completely overcome the overall effect, but enough to be distracting and unpleasant.
Finally for general comments, many of the logistics make zero sense, as people have noted. The majority of them I can accept as (a) the product of a deranged mind who doesn't care so much about efficiency as supporting a cult (the water distribution, human milk, gasoline wasting) or (b) the price of admission (Max's likely age). The one I can't actually handwave past is Furiosa having the position she does, actually; she's the only woman we see driving rigs or in a position of explicit authority over men, and I have no idea how she could've got there in this atmosphere. There'd be no movie otherwise, so, price of admission, but I care about her unlike Max, so I poke at the question. (Well, I care about Max, but only with Furiosa. I started getting into the action sequences when they started wordlessly working together, handing each other weapons and trading off shots; and as Chad tells me someone said, there is more chemistry in the bit with the shoulder rest than in the entirety of Ultron.)
Before I get into spoilers, the last thing I can say outside a cut is that that song "Matches" I mentioned last week is totally apropos to this movie. *puts on repeat*
Now, for spoilers. First a thing that is a moderate spoiler but is also an important content note/trigger warning that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere (though I haven't been reading a ton of stuff about this movie):
There is a not-super-graphic but unmistakable instance of violence against a pregnant woman and fetal harm that was also entirely gratuitous.
And now for the rest of the spoilers.
The other two moments of "really? It's all about the dudes now?"
First: the redheaded woman's easy acceptance and compassion toward the War Boy. I don't agree with everything abigail_n says in this review (spoilers), but I really felt there needed to be way more work put into this to make it sensible and not just "women are better than men"—which is just a pedestal all over again.
(One thing I don't really follow is "In the unforgiving world of this series, after all, one dictator isn't much different than the other. Furiosa might not keep a harem or train child soldiers, but she'll still need workers to do the backbreaking labor of pumping water from beneath the ground, and warriors to fight off the other tribes in the area." Yeeessss, but those things needn't be exploitative, if water is distributed fairly, efforts are made to reduce the manual labor, and fighters aren't brainwashed into it . . . ? I definitely agree, though, that the bit where Furiosa asks Max to drive when they go through the archway makes no sense. Who was she planning to have drive before then? Just a line about "I've told (someone) how to work things but she hasn't been able to practice, you'll do better" would have fixed that.)
Second: Max being the one to suggest they go back. (As an aside: my misinterpreted spoiler was that the movie ended at the decision, not at the return, so I was thinking, "that escape in the night was kind of mild for a movie-ending action sequence," and then "wait, how far are they going?") Yes, I can see it, Furiosa has spent seven thousand days working toward the Green Place, which is Not Here; but I really disliked Max taking the spotlight here, it just didn't feel earned—possibly because I thought the ghosts/hallucinations/whatever were tedious. If she couldn't have come up with the idea herself, I would much rather have had maybe the older women they found ask about the Citadel, realize it sounds pretty good in terms of water and agriculture, and they collectively come to the decision that they should go back and overthrow the patriarchy—if you still need Max to have an arc, let him decide to go his own way and then change his mind and decide to come help them.
The last shot, of Max slipping away and Furiosa ascending, the camera fixed on her until she disappears, is perfect and goes a long way for me, but yeah, those three bits felt like they were out of a different and much worse movie for me.
Vacation. Oh geez, make it stop. (NSFW.)
San Andreas. I am so fucking over the expectation that I will find the deaths of millions entertaining. Especially when the trailer ends with a super-cynical effort to mitigate its own disaster porn by linking to a disaster preparedness website. Fuck. Off.
Crimson Peak. Nice to see a trailer for something I won't see because it looks good at what it does. (I don't do horror. Which is too bad because, Jessica Chastain's face.)
Terminator Genisys. I like that they're starting with Sarah already badass, but do we really need to keep doing this? I don't think so.
The Transporter Refueled. I entirely checked out during this, other than to note that Jason Statham apparently is too expensive for these now.