For some reason, Pixar keeps making "Cars" sequels after they make a great sequel to their previous classics. For example, after "Toy Story 3" we get "Cars 2". After "Finding Dory", we get "Cars 3". I honestly don't know why they keep making them though. They aren't great movies as I think the second film is an absolute train wreck and they don't even make as much money compared to the other movies Pixar has made; the second film once again didn't make as much money as "Toy Story 3" made a year earlier. However, the series makes money in the toy department, I know that for sure, but I'm a film critic, so I have to look at the movies. So now we have "Cars 3", a movie that no one wanted, but still got anyway. Is it as good as the first film? Is it as bad as the second? I'll tell you.
Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is losing steam. He's being overshadowed by a rookie racer named Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), an arrogant racer part of a new generation of racers forcing old racers out of the game. Lightning tries to stay in the game, but during the Piston Cup final, a car crash suggests that his racing days are over. Not wanting to quit, he decides to go into heavy training to try to beat Storm. His trainer, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) is eager to start working with him and makes him do some ridiculous training, but Lightning feels that he's being taught wrong and tries to show Cruz the old methods that his mentor, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) taught him when he was alive. The rest of the film is Lightning training for his big race in Florida so he can beat Storm and stay in the game.
I'll just get this out of the way. The film is miles better than the second movie, no pun intended. The film smartly moves the focus of the series from spy nonsense to what made the first film great, racing. It's the "Cars" sequel that some have been waiting for. One reason is that it doesn't use a lot of Larry the Cable Guy's character Mater, as he was made the main character of the previous movie which was one of the major problems. This film, on the other hand, moved focus back to Lightning McQueen. The story was nice. I really enjoyed the story they did for this film because it mostly focuses on the legacy of Doc Hudson, who was the most interesting character in the first film. The writers of this movie clearly knew that the second film was a derailment (one writer acknowledged it as well) and made a nice apology card with this movie. The animation, once again, top notch. Every Pixar movie I have seen always has great animation and this film, particularly the backgrounds, are no exception. The characters I'm pretty split about though. While I did like seeing faces you didn't see in the second movie and I also liked the return of old favorites. However, the new characters I wasn't fully impressed with. I thought Cruz was a little too nutty at times and Jackson Storm too egotistical, but some times I could overlook it. And once again, like every Cars movie, it's nowhere near as good as Pixar's other follow-ups. It has some of the eye-rolling moments that you expect. One scene has the cars using virtual reality and bumping was a notable example. But, I think it has more good moments than bad.
So, is "Cars 3" a great Pixar movie? Absolutely not. Though is it a good "Cars" sequel? I think so. It's a harmless waste of time just like the first movie and was a massive improvement over its predecessor. However, I do think that Pixar clearly wanted to get this film out the door first though, because their next movie "Coco" looks amazing. I think they are saving their talent for that movie. As for "Cars 3", it's an enjoyable decent flick, but I have no intent on watching it again.