The Postman is a movie I have avoided for years. For two reasons. The post-apocalyptic theme is the first reason and the second is the bad reputation that is attached to this movie. After having seen this movie I can honestly say that this movies deserves a lot more.
Especially if you compare it to movies with similar themes. If you compare this to Waterworld than The Postman is a big improvement in storytelling and character development. I do have a hunch why most viewers didn't like this movie. And that is the lack of action. With a movie that is 3 hours long you expect a lot to happen. And a lot does happen only on a complete another level. The story in fact is very simple. The following comment is what the film is about and therefore could be seen as a spoiler. However as you can see it is advertised in the poster and knowing this doesn't change the viewing experience one bit. So here goes. In the gloomy dark world one guy appears out of nowhere and gives hope to people.
The moment you get introduced to the bad guy you expect Costner to take him on and rebel against him. And he does so only not in the way he did in Waterworld. As heroes go he takes a more realistic approach. This doesn't mean there is no action to be enjoyed, there is just enough. But probably nearly not enough to satisfy the viewer who expected some serious action scenes a la Mad Max. To me The Postman is a very moving drama that has a theme that is universal even when this movie seems to be a bit patriotic. (But I believe that Costner just made an example of what have could been any other country in similar situation).
Overall this movie offers a very positive look on humanity which is refreshing to see especially considering the genre.