I am the first to admit that I wasn't exactly super excited for CARS 2, they way I've been with just about every other Pixar film. But I wasn't exactly excited about the first one, and I ended up loving that one quite a lot.
CARS 2 may not have the emotional punch associated with most Pixar films, and it's eco-friendly message may seem even more blunt to people than that of WALL-E, but at least, Pixar didn't give us the same movie all over again, and that's the single greatest reward watching this, quite entertaining, funny, action-packed sequel.
Yes, Mater gets put front and center as the main character this time around, but he and the little winks here and there, like Geisha cars, Zumo wrestler cars, the Queen of England car, are just too much fun to look at to not appreciate the movie for just a good popcorn film. It also looks marvelous, so shiny and full of lustre and slick, I wanted to reach out and touch the screen. Even the ocean--on the high octane opening sequence--seems more vivid than your average hollywood movie. Voice-wise, Sir Michael Caine takes top honors as an all out British spy to rival James Bond himself, and John Turturro is a hoot as Francesco Bernoulli, an italian race car that's Lightning McQueen's main nemesis on the tracks.
It is far from what some are calling Pixar's first misfire, they weren't trying to make another Toy Story 3 or a WALL-E, this is more in the vain of just the pure fun of the first CARS, A BUG'S LIFE, and the thrilling action of THE INCREDIBLES, and for that type of escapism, it deserves to be viewed and enjoyed. B+