There was an outcry of “What is this? Mad MAXINE?” after the debut of one of the best action films of the 2000s. Did they watch Mad Max, or The Road Warrior, or Beyond Thunderdome? If they did, they’d know that, in the ranking of interesting characters in that series, Max ranks just above one of the nameless child extras, and just below sand.
Don’t get me wrong, Max is cool. He does a lot of neat stuff. But after Mad Max (which seems to be more of an origin story for Max’s blond friend than Max himself), Max crosses over from being a character to being like an unlockable weapon. When you’ve suffered in the desert for long enough, and have managed to not be a total piece of shit, Max rolls through. That’s the fun of him. Since he’s on an everlasting, aimless quest to survive, he becomes a helpful tool for all the people who aren’t so great at surviving or need a little help in remaining un-slaughtered by flamboyant dust truckers.
His quest isn’t one of revenge. It might’ve been at one point. But he never made a Batman-like oath to rid the world of dirtbike perverts. Nor is it one of redemption. That dude will live with his demons forever. Instead, Mad Max is the wasteland version of the guy who shows up at your party, is awesome, and then leaves, never to be seen again. “Remember when that dude came in, bought everyone shots, saved us from being brutally murdered by the thong-wearing warlord, and then disappeared? That guy was AWESOME.”