Who could have guessed that 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious,” a movie about an undercover cop infiltrating a group of drag racers, would become arguably the biggest franchise of its generation? The history of The Fast and the Furious is a history of how the blockbuster has changed over the last decade, going from a relatively realistic movie about fast cars to a series that has gotten more bombastic and ridiculous with each installment. So successful that it has its own spin-off already, the history of The Fast and the Furious is the arc of a small action movie turning into a franchise behemoth. The history of The Fast and the Furious includes a few films that most critics, including Roger Ebert and those who followed him at this site, considered failures, but it’s also a franchise that most critics have come to admire to a certain degree. Adding new players to the mix like Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Dwayne Johnson, this series went from simple movies about a makeshift family into what could really be called the modern equivalent of James Bond, a series for which people line up for each new installment, debating where it ranks in the history of The Fast and the Furious.