I believe the Fast and Furious films comprise the best action film franchise of this generation, and arguably any generation. Some series have better singular entries (Die Hard, Speed) and others have more pathos (The Dark Knight), but I can think of no other fictional universe that incorporates as much humor, joy, earnest positivity, and moral confidence into what, at its most base level, is a vessel for expensive cars and spectacular set pieces.
The series has been an antidote to its homogenous competitors, despite its lead, the late Paul Walker, being the definition of a sterile, white male actor — bleached tips and all. While the franchise's handling of gender and sexuality hasn't always been on the level, each film has taken a step towards greater inclusivity.
Skeptics would be remiss to mistake this tangled drama, which has enough intrigue, romance, and family bonding to rival the juiciest telenovela, for just another throwaway matinee starring beefy bald dudes and women in belly shirts zipping through exotic settings. However, I understand not everyone has time to watch six films, especially if they'd like to be caught up on the story before watching Furious 7. To help, The Verge video director Philip Robibero and I created a recap of The Fast and the Furious through Fast and Furious 6. Credit to our own Ryan Manning, another member of the Verge video team, who provides that pro movie voiceover.