We’ve been trained to expect a lot from Pixar
over the years, and when one of their movies isn’t poignant, thought-provoking, hilarious, and
visually dazzling, it can feel like a pretty big letdown. Enter the studio’s Cars
franchise: while plenty of fun in the context of just about any other company’s output, it’s the black sheep of the Pixar catalog, and critical reaction for the first two films in the series (and their cousins in the Planes
franchise) has ranged from mild disappointment to outright disdain. It’s rare for the third film in a trilogy to improve upon its predecessors, so there was little reason to expect Cars 3
would enjoy a critical rebound, but it’s actually proving to be something of a happy surprise; although it isn’t on par with Pixar’s finest — and a notch below the original Cars
— critics say this chapter impresses with a storyline that manages to inject some intelligence and honest emotion into the anthropomorphic automotive saga. Don’t expect Toy Story
levels of entertainment, in other words, but your kids will probably love it, and you’ll be just fine too.