YMMV: Mad Max

The entire series:

  • Fanon Discontinuity: While the sequels are much better known outside of Australia than the original, most fans consider the third film the weakest of the original trilogy. Beyond Thunderdome does, on the other hand, skew toward being a Guilty Pleasure emblematic of mid-1980s science fiction, and it's the one that's generated the most well-known pop-cultural phrases.
  • Fountain of Memes: As the films basically codified the post-apocalyptic genre, it naturally inspired loads of pop-culture catchphrases.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The cry of a crow is always a bad sign.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Mel Gibson playing a burnt out cop whose wife was murdered.
  • HSQ: The chase scenes in the sequel movies up the ante on automotive chaos.

The first film:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: While most viewers take it for granted that Max's wife is mortally wounded in the end of the first film, it's actually not certain. The doctor states that she's "salvageable" in spite of her catastrophic injuries. This puts Max's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in a different light, given that he might actually have a critically injured wife still alive and counting on him to survive. The sequels wipe this away by making Max's entire family unambiguously dead, giving him truly nothing to lose.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Toecutter, as all it takes to finish him off is chase him down until he gets run over by a truck. The Lord Humungous too, as he and Max are never directly face to face at any point in the second film until Max smashes into his vehicle with the tanker truck.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The film was meant to show the dangers of reckless driving.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Max suffering a nervous breakdown from the tragedy in his life becomes harder to watch in light of Mel Gibson's own real life personal problems.
    • Plus his speech about how worried he is about becoming just as bad as the criminals he fights.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Vindicated by History: With the success of its sequels, Mad Max has been hailed as a sci-fi classic and a major example of what can be done on a low budget if the film crew is talented enough.

The second film:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is the Lord Humungous genuine in his attempt to get the refinery settlers to walk away or was he lying? This is actually discussed in universe as there is a division amongst the settlers as to what to do until Max offers to bring them a truck.
  • Awesome Music: The music for the opening narration is both bleak and stirring at the same time.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Lord Humungus.
  • Even Better Sequel: Mad Max 2. The first film was a hit in Australia, but the sequel was released in America as The Road Warrior because not many Americans had even heard of the original film yet.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: All the talk of Max driving the tanker takes on a much darker tone when we learn that the tanker is full of sand. The townsfolk are clearly in on the plan so they are recruiting him for what was probably seen as a suicide mission. This is reenforced by the concern shown for Papagallo when he announced that he would drive the tanker.