‘Cars 3’ Review Round-Up: Here’s What Critics are Saying

Written By: Nick Poulimenakos

The sequel arguably no one wanted but we are getting anyway, Disney Pixar is back with the all new Cars 3. 2006’s Cars was a major success for the studio, both critically and commercially. The sequel… not so much. Cars 2 was a hit at the box office but garnered negative reviews from fans and critics. Now Pixar is going back to the roots of the franchise, taking it back to route 66 and has Lightning Mcqueen taking on the new generation of racers. So, what are the critics saying? In short, it’s a big improvement!

Cars 3 currently has a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which, may not seem to great, but compared to the 33% rating for Cars 2, i’d consider it some kind of win for Disney and Pixar. Here’s the review round-up for Cars 3!

Alonso Duralde from The Wrap:

“Cars 3” often delights the eye — as cartoony as the car characters often are, first-time director (and veteran Pixar artist) Brian Fee places them in a recognizable world, where every chain-link fence, grain of sand and moonlit forest feels almost photo-realistic. (After the sleek spy shenanigans of “Cars 2,” it’s nice to have these characters back on dirt roads.)

Still, we’re left with a movie that’s got all the colorful innocuousness of a kiddie film that’s all about a mid-life crisis, which raises the question: For whom, exactly, is “Cars 3” meant? Apart from the companies making plush Cruz toys and Jackson Storm lunchboxes, I’m not entirely sure.

Owen Gleiberman from Variety:

On the short of list of movie sequels that are great (“The Godfather Part II” being the ne plus ultra), both the “Toy Story” sequels loom as brilliant follow-ups that audaciously extend the appeal of the original “Toy Story.” That’s the bar that Pixar set for itself. “Cars 3” is a friendly, rollicking movie made with warmth and dash, and to the extent that it taps our primal affection for this series, it more than gets the job done. Yet in many ways it’s the tasteful version of a straight-to-DVD (or streaming) sequel. Audiences should come out satisfied, and in satisfying numbers, but the upshot is that this year’s Pixar film is a finely executed product rather than an inspiring work of animated artistry.

Eric Goldman from IGN:

Cars 3 may not be among the best films Pixar has made, but it’s definitely the best film in the Cars series and the first to feel worthy of the Pixar label. It’s got more on its mind than simply being about Lightning trying to win a race and is the first Cars film likely to truly resonate with a larger audience beyond the kids who love it already. While it feels like it could use a more nuanced antagonist and is hit or miss in the comedy realm, there’s a nice sense of closure here, too, which would make this a perfect and redemptive beat to end the story on – both for the characters and the franchise as a whole. Lightning McQueen, you’ve come a long way.

Nick Kazden from Hollywood Hollywood:

It’s hard for me to really rank this movie because I’m clearly not in the target demographic. The screening I saw was full of kids laughing and clapping along with the action, so if you have some younger family members you want to entertain for the afternoon, I definitely recommend taking them to see Cars 3 because they will love it. But if you’re just trying to catch a movie with some friends or on a date, I say you should wait until it’s on Netflix in a few months. It’s not the worst Pixar movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s no-where near the top of the list. It was also the Cars movie that featured Larry the Cable Guys’ Mater the least, so maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it? Regardless, I have one final piece of Mater wisdom for all you fine readers: Git-r-done, folks. Git-r-done.

Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly:

First-time director Brian Fee, whose résumé is stacked mostly with art-department credits, feels like a farm-team substitute for in-house superstars like Andrew Stanton (A Bug’s Life, WALL·E, Finding Dory) and Pete Docter (Monsters Inc., Up, Inside Out), the Pixar auteurs whose signature mix of visual wizardry, comic whimsy, and tenderhearted storytelling has come to define the company’s best films. Instead, Fee steers Cars 3 like the sleek piece of movie machinery it is—a standard ride with a half-full tank, a gorgeous paint job, and not much at all under the hood. B–

Michael Rechtshaffen from The Hollywood Reporter:

Like its predecessors, the film is visually quite splendid and, especially for an animated feature, stirringly well lit, most notably in a racing sequence set along a photo-realistic beach during golden hour and another on a vividly moonlit night.

But despite its many winning characters and good intentions, Cars 3 functions mainly as a tenderly rendered, wish-you-were-here picture postcard to Newman, whose absence, while affectionately noted, ultimately serves as a reminder why Lightning can never truly strike twice.

Conner Schwerdtfeger from Cinemablend:

In the end, Cars 3 is a definite improvement over Cars 2, but it does not even come close to achieving the emotional or dramatic heights that we have come to expect from a proper Pixar film. There’s enough charm in the third Cars film to draw in young audience members and longtime fans, but beyond that, this is not the comeback we were hoping to see.

Brian Truitt from USA Today:

Having (and hearing) Newman’s Doc again playing an integral role — through old recordings of the late actor — will tug on the emotions, and for a movie series lacking in really cool female characters, the new emphasis on Cruz as Lightning’s equal is a welcome addition. (Bonnie Hunt returns as Lightning’s love interest Sally, while Kerry Washington voices racing analyst Natalie Certain.)

Some punny lines are painful — just a warning, “Life’s a beach and then you drive” does get uttered on a sandy track — and the plot doesn’t even pretend to be unpredictable. But Cars 3 at least tries to put a little extra in the tank this time around.

So what do you think? Are you going to see Cars 3 this weekend? Comment below and on social media and for all things in nerd culture and entertainment, keep it locked on Talkies Network!


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