Damn good movie, you should see it, lots of fun. You know that feeling you had as a kid when the circus performer jumps from one trapeze to another? This movie is like that through most of the running time. The bar for action movies has been raised.
There are a number of interesting topics to consider in this movie. The apparent rationality of seemingly irrational behavior given fundamentalist religious belief. The true nature of mankind when resources are scarce. The inclusion of strong female characters who are not trope bounded feminist. The kinematics of putting a ladder on the back of a truck and jumping onto another truck from it... while moving. All important topics worth considering.
However, I am not going to focus on any of those things. Instead, I will be an ass and focus on the one part of the movie that I didn't quite enjoy. The lack of appreciation for Immortan Joe from the film.
Don't get me wrong, Joe is clearly a really bad guy. Slavery. Violence. Rule by Force. Deception. Deification. This guy is no Saint. I am not going to defend him as a man. Morally, he is repulsive.
But so is every other Great Man in history whom we now worship. Caesar, Ghenghis Khan, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, you can just go on all day. Most of these men supported slavery. All of them were willing to force the sacrifice of other lives for their own ideals. Many of them either believed in or encouraged their own deification. By the modern measures of a moral human being, these people were all rather awful. And yet, the net benefit of the actions of most of these men ended up having disproportionate effects on our world. Truth be told, we are probably all better off because of the things they did.
I am not saying that the movie should have let Joe "win" (whatever that may be). I am just saying that it would have been interesting if he at least got to make his case for his own rule at least once.
I mean really, it is amazing that anything short of an actual god could perform some of the miracle he maintains on a regular basis. He has built an empire out of nothing but poverty, want and need. He keeps the vehicles running. He keeps the water flowing. He has raised and cultivated hydroponic fields in the freaking dessert. They have a limited but stable food supply. He was evidently able to pump water from below the earth. Joe obviously knows and values good engineering. Joe obviously understands the value of putting the right person in the right job. Joe evidently allows men and women to rise equally up to at least Imperator. There is large, complex, and maintained engineering at the Citadel. Joe has enough control over his society to maintain blood pools for aenemics for gods sake! I mean that is some high level administration. This is thanks to a charismatic and bloody ruthless tyrant like Joe. No arguments about the morality of it; these miracles have a high cost in human suffering (I assume slave labor for fields, raids for fuel), but by God (Joe), he keeps the damn trains running!
Without people like him, without the collective will of empire/civilization, humanity would just slowly dwindle unto death. It takes monsters like Joe to actually unite factious human beings into forces for effective change. Think about it. Every other clan in the film seemed to be just scrapping by, making due on less every year, all are clearly in decline. The Citadel was growing. It was gaining and centralizing power. In a world of dwindling resources, without people like Joe, humanity is doomed.
They never let Joe make an argument in his own defense. It would have been nice if Max had been able to truly see all that Joe had accomplished and asked himself it this was really worth destroying. I also thought it would be interesting if Imperator Furiosa originally worked with Joe because he brought stability and peace (after the violence of conquest), but eventually had come to feel the ends don't justify the means. Maybe the parallels between a character like Joe and Saddam Hussein were a little too close for comfort; so that entire story was scrapped. Still, I think it would have been neat.
Given the choice between a monstrous tyrant who provides stability and a slow death in isolated freedom, I would choose the tyrant every time. Tyrants are only human, they die, but the legacies and foundations they establish can last for thousands of years.
tldr; "Vote for Joe. Everything else is slow death."