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Small Batch: 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa.
Jasin Boland
Warner Bros.
Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa.

Another sequel, another chance for Hollywood to hurl metal hither and yon and make with the flashy summer blockbuster blow-'em-ups. Yawn, right?

So you might think. But I asked Chris Klimek to help me unpack why so many critics are praising Mad Max: Fury Road as something altogether different. We discuss the original Mad Max trilogy from our different perspectives and analyze how Fury Road fits in — or doesn't. Chris, who wrote a great review for NPR, wonders how a sequel to an '80s franchise can seem inventive. We discuss what Charlize Theron brings to the (sand-blasted, diesel-soaked) table, and we touch on the gratifyingly rich discussion that's emerged over the movie's possible status as a feminist parable.

Oh, and make your day better by reading The Toast's excellent discussion of the film.

What Chris and I don't talk about: why Tom Hardy spends so much of the film with a mask covering his soft, pillowy lips. Which, let's be clear, is the filmmaking equivalent of taking Gretzky off the ice to hawk beer in the stands.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.