Top 20 Films of the 2010s–#20

27 Nov

By Tanner Smith

Another decade comes to an end, which means it’s time for movie lovers such as myself to look back at all of the movies released within the decade and narrow down which ones stood out the most for them. And if you look at my ridiculously long list of “honorable mentions,” you’ll see that it was tough for me to single out even an extra 30 for a top-50, let alone a top-20–but there are 20 movies I DIDN’T mention, and those are the selections I will be looking at one-by-one.

Let’s begin with my #20 choice–one of the greatest, most riveting, most brilliantly made, and yes, most financially/critically successful action movies to ever grace the silver screen:

20) MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

“OH WHAT A DAY! WHAT A LOVELY DAY!”

George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is awesome. There’s no other way to put it. It’s simply awesome in every aspect I can think of. Miller waited 30 years since 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (which I still like, maybe more than I should) to bring “Mad Max” big to cinemas. Now, with a new cast and more resources thanks to a bigger budget, he has created “Mad Max: Fury Road,” in a few ways a sequel but in other ways a reboot. Either way you look at it doesn’t matter–at least, it didn’t matter to me. It’s one of the greatest action movies I’ve ever seen.

In this high-octane, unbelievably effective post-apocalyptic tale, set in a harsh desert wasteland where civilization has collapsed, Tom Hardy struggles to survive as the title role. Water is precious. Freedom is a long ways away. And everyone needs gasoline to fuel their many awesome-looking vehicles that brave the desert from time to time. That’s really the only setup we need for a story that’s as straightforward as they come.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a two-hour chase movie. It begins as a loner, Max, is captured by a warlord named Immortan Joe and his bloodthirsty pack of “war boys” to be one of their blood donors to fuel them and ready them for battle. But as Furiosa (Charlize Theron) defies Immortan Joe and flees with Immortan Joe’s five wives to release them from captivity and deliver them to a better place far from him. One of the “war boys,” Nux (Nicholas Hoult), joins his pack along a manhunt in stopping Furiosa, bringing Max with him. After losing the others in one hell of a sandstorm (mixed with lightning!), Max joins forces with Furiosa, Nux is put into the mix as well, and they work together to avoid Joe’s cronies before fighting them off in the name of freedom for them all.

Lots of pyrotechnics, impressive visual storytelling, amazing gadgets and vehicles built for the setting, a badass hero, and a deadly atmosphere to combat it all–all of that is what “Mad Max: Fury Road” delivers for us. The CGI is used to add layers to the environment and is not cartoonishly over-the-top, and the editing isn’t as fast and incomprehensible in the same way Michael Bay makes millions of dollars with his mindless action flicks. Here, a lot of the setting is practical, computers are used to make it look more fitting (with a lot of oranges and reds to create a color scheme that spells out what this environment is like), and we’re also treated to long tracking shots to get a feel for where we are–a great counterbalance for the crazy closeups that often appear to show the characters’ determinations. But the badass hero isn’t Max after all–it’s Furiosa. She’s the one with purpose, determination, a plan, and numerous ways of gaining the upper hand–and Theron has to play the role with minimal dialogue, using mostly her facial expressions to constantly get across what kind of person she is and what she’s up to. Despite having the title role in four movies (he is “The Road Warrior” after all), Mad Max has never really been the most important part of this franchise’s environment anyway–it’s always been the world around him, as well as the characters he comes across, that he interacts with that made it all interesting.

And even better–you don’t have to have seen the other “Mad Max” movies to get into this one.

Oh, and about Immortan Joe’s five wives, for whom Furiosa races to seek freedom–they’re all supermodel-like, as if they’re being prepared for a magazine shoot. At first, I wondered why this was necessary, until I realized, this is how Joe prefers to see them, as they’re often referred to as “breeders.” Thus, they flee to seek their own identity and independence. But they’re not useless either–each of them proves their worth one way or another.

So, we have Max, Furiosa, Nux, and the five women going up against Immortan Joe and his colorful baddies in one extended action scene after another in which Max and Furiosa have to devise one improvised plan after another. It’s never boring–it’s paced fantastically and with carefully chosen dialogue and some emotion to make sure we can catch our breath and learn a thing or two about them and their situation.

Oh, and there’s a blind metal guitarist whose guitar shoots flames…I don’t know why that’s a thing, but I love it!

“Mad Max: Fury Road” runs for two hours. It goes by very fast. Every time I watch it, I don’t get tired of it. I just sit back, relax, and have myself a hell of a good time.

3 Responses to “Top 20 Films of the 2010s–#20”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top 20 Films of the 2010s–#19 | Smith's Verdict - November 29, 2019

    […] Continuing my countdown of my favorite films of the past decade, here’s a recap: 20) Mad Max: Fury Road […]

  2. Top 20 Films of the 2010s–#18 | Smith's Verdict - December 1, 2019

    […] my countdown of my favorite films of the past decade, here’s a recap: 20) Mad Max: Fury Road, 19) Fruitvale […]

  3. Top 20 Films of the 2010s–#17 | Smith's Verdict - December 2, 2019

    […] my countdown of my favorite films of the past decade, here’s a recap: 20) Mad Max: Fury Road, 19) Fruitvale Station, 18) […]

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