You know, it is about the story. The special effects are cool and all the crap they do on camera with flying and explosions and hoping around through plate glass, walls and this and that and the other, but at the end of the day the story has to be compelling. And part of that has to be the characters. They have to be people the viewer can at least become interested in or relate to on some level.
For the longest time I've said what makes a good movie is Beautiful People Doing Extraordinary Things. This is still true, but I think I might need to add something to that. Perhaps Beautiful People Doing Extraordinary Things With Some Object in Mind....though that sounds too of kilter.
It has to be as vague as the first two prerequisites, as you don't want to mistake a good story with complexity. Complexity and exposition are NOT part of the object. They might serve to enhance, but shouldn't ever be the focus. Background noise, like the explosions. Mad Max is a perfect example, this is a movie about beautiful people doing extraordinary things with a purpose. The purpose is getting X from point A to point B. Its very, very simple. We didn't need background, and all the other noise. Just a taste.
Beautiful People Doing Extraordinary Things in the Struggle To Survive
Whether it is is against the mad men of the desert or a passionate love affair....just to survive. The struggle is the story.