Returning to its roots for what is likely to be the final film in the series, CARS 3 is a sequel almost as good as the first.
Given how far CARS 2 diverged from the plot of its predecessor, I wasn’t quite sure at all where to put my expectations for the third movie, and I’m a bit surprised at the result.
If you’re expecting a heavy dose of Mater, you’re going to be disappointed.
And why wouldn’t you expect Mater to be a main character of CARS 3? His popularity from the first CARS film lead to Mater being arguably a bigger part of the plot in CARS 2 than Lightning McQueen himself, and it resulted in Mater getting his own series of short films in MATER’S TALL TALES. Yet, if anything, Mater is a tertiary character in what could very well be a trilogy’s finale.
Largely because of the Mater Weight (or lack thereof), CARS 3 considerably lacked the silliness-factor of its predecessors. That did make more room for a fair bit of “heart” in the storyline, but it definitely wasn’t as funny. The film’s tone had a significantly more “serious” vibe to it, especially with the way the film transitioned from Act 1 to Act 2 when Lightning McQueen strains to keep pace with the newer generation of racers, but wrecks trying to compensate for the short-comings that come with his older technology (or lack thereof). I almost teared up.
Let’s just put aside, for a moment, the fact that NASCAR has plenty of restrictions and guidelines in place such that newer car technology and body styles can’t have this sort of game-changing effect on the “sport” of racing. The idea that with newer technology comes a replacement of the older generation is a heavy one. I’m not going to be surprised when history shows that adults appreciate CARS 3 far more than its predecessors, and the younger generations like it less (especially with Mater playing such a small part that you might forget about him completely).
Though I won’t go into how the movie ends, I do feel like Act 3 of the film was a considerable letdown. It was almost as though whoever wrote the film didn’t pay attention to the way things unfolded in the first act, or even some of the specific details added to the second act, and they just wrote the ending first. The things Lightning McQueen and his team were fighting against were all but ignored as the film flipped the script and they presented the twist. I’m fine with how it ended, just disappointed in the sloppy way it got there.
My rating: 75 out of 100