Rated: G Reviewed by: Matt Release date: June 16, 2017 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
To be honest, I didn't really want this movie to exist. The second Cars film was a disaster of a film that followed up an average film by Pixar standards. So really, I never thought this franchise deserved a third film, but here we are, Cars 3. Cars 3 follows Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) as he continues his racing career. You see that he loves racing and continues to have great success at the sport. However, a rookie arrives on the scene named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) and completely steals the show. Now, there is a new generation of racers that are stronger and faster than Lightning and the current racers that are pushing him out of the sport he loves. In order to combat this, he gets help from a trainer named Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo).
I will start off by saying that this film surprised me. The story is a refreshing addition to the franchise and one that is all to real, and because of it is very compelling. It was very easy to root for Lightning as we see him struggle to match up with the new competition. One thing that really surprised me was their emphasis on Doc Hudson, who was Lightning's mentor in the first film. The dynamic that this character (who has passed away in this world) provided was critical to Lightning's development. It was something that I didn't see coming and one I truly appreciated. The film also made an effort to fix some of the mistakes it had made in the second film. For starters, Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) returned to his role as a purely comic relief character and not the center of attention, which only improved the film. Also, the film stuck to the racing and racing themes, not spy/over-the-top storylines that made no sense and felt like they never belonged. One last thing I thought that stood out in the film were the visual, everything was extremely well detailed and the racing had a sense of high intensity.
That being said, Cars 3 did a few things wrong. For starters, let's talk about the main antagonist of the film, Jackson Storm. This character has literally no character to him other than him being cocky and kind of an all-around jerk. He gets almost no screen time and is usually on screen only for the movie to say how fast he is. He also receives no personal arc, or even any true personality to work with and while you want to see him lose to Lightning, nothing Storm does is satisfying. In my opinion Jackson Storm is one of the biggest missteps of the film. The film also for some reason decides to make Lightning a jerk about halfway though the film, something that just felt off considering it echoed the first film a little too much and now felt out of character for him, even if they do try to justify it. Finally, the movie didn't make me laugh. It tried to make jokes but none of them really worked for me.
In the end, Cars 3 is a surprisingly good addition to the franchise and in many ways redeems itself for its previous film. The story is compelling and the racing is a blast to watch which more than makes up for the flaws that it showed. I would recommend seeing this film in theaters if you can because the racing scenes are really fun to watch on the big screen.