The tag line for the movie's marketing says that "from this moment, everything will change." Saying something like that would imply that this movie is going to be different and offer something new. Which seems unlikely right? Well, with the added characters and where the movie ends up, it actually wasn't lying because everything did change. However this story still borrowed from a lot of plot tropes and cliches that we are already familiar with anyway. In this movie's case, that isn't as big a negative against it as it could have been.
Despite the generally middle-of-the-road story conventions, I have to admit that I found the movie quite engaging either way. The overall theme about the veteran racer trying to remain relevant in an era where the younger racer is dominating the race, may not be a new story idea, but it was still effectively told. So much so, that I'm not sure if young children are really the target audience for this movie, as it seems more relatable for older adults who realize they aren't young anymore. You've seen that story before, but it's still one that's worth revisiting.
Simply put, this movie has a fairly predictable premise, and may not have what I would consider a unique story. Even when it does try to subvert your expectations with certain plot turns, the plot still progresses just as you expect things to go. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. Not spoiling that particular plot turn, but I have to say that I really admired the direction the story ended up going, and most definitely made this movie better.
This installment showed that this unusual animated film franchise about talking racing cars can be more than what it simply appears to be in a superficial level. It's got likable characters, a relatable story, great visuals, entertaining funny bits, some enjoyable race sequences, effective themes, and a lot of heart. A lot of heart. At this point, Cars 3 is easily my favorite of the three movies by far.
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