Okay, before I start I will say that I am a 33 year old woman who loves film, music, games, nature and technology. I am not hating on this because I don't like women characters, I am not some "negative nobody" as people who dislike this film have been called, who doesn't like new things. I generally see things that I do not like here. That said, here's what I have to say.
The film was marketed as a comeback for Lightning McQueen after he suffers a traumatic wreck during a race against newer model cars. These new cars are supposed to be the millennial or gen z cars of the cars world, though this is never brought up, and are portrayed as antisocial, self centred glory seekers, particularly Jackson Storm. Lightning then has to get help from a new trainer who uses things like treadmills, meditation and simulators to teach. This is to help him prove to the world that he can still be a top racer, adapt with the times and still perform his chosen job.
Sounds good right? An underdog/comeback style movie that's very popular with a lot of people. Well, the film does start the way it was advertised, with Lightning being at the top of his game and winning. The racingboard allows the newer cars in and all the older models, though not much older, have to either retire or are fired. Well what did they expect them to do when you bring in cars with lighter bodies and bigger engines? Lightning however still races and does okay. However, you can see that something bad is going to happen as each race gets darker and the music grittier, and it does with lightning crashing in the most spectacular, horrific fashion that really sets you up for his coming back and fighting for his career.
Well this does not happen. At all.
See all the stuff advertised like Lightning being able to wind the clock up again? Doesn't happen. Lightning is incapable of doing much of anything in this movie it seems, except training his only slightly younger replacement.
Lightning being an underdog and training to proving he's still got it? Nope! Lightning's underdog plot is never really looked at and so becomes obsolete in the end as this movies is not really about him.
Lightning coming to race Storm in a spectacular race? Well Storm's barely seen and Lightning never races/beats him. So nope again.
Cruz being a super trainer who helps get Lightning back in the game? Again, this does not happen! Cruz couldn't train a plant pot let-alone Lightning it seems. She's at first deeming, ageist and incompetent, then goes to being even more useless with a boring backstory, before finally becoming a MarySue of all things.
From the moment Lightning meets Cruz, the whole movie just goes down hill. Basically his trainer, a failed wannabe race turned trainer, is an ageist little smart mouth who attempts to get Lightning to do the stupids things like naming his tires (seriously?! Does she not realise how many he goes through in a race?) treat him like he's 1000 years old and incontinent. Sure Lightning was out of racing for a few months while recovering but he's not an invalid or a rookie. Basically all her methods and Lightning's behaviour to said methods are stereotypical "younger idiot trying to teach technophobic older guy things" that are done for laughs but I never heard anyone laugh and kids are not interested in seeing their hero being made out as useless like this.
Once outside, the rest of the movie turns into an even bigger mess of various plots stolen from other movies such as rehashed stuff from the first Cars and Planes 2. You can see Rocky 3, 4 elements thrown in along with even more bad jokes, clichés and tropes about genders, age, minorities, and it all boils down to Lightning inadvertently training his own useless trainer (Creed). Lightning sticks her in his big race halfway through (this can't be legal or fair to the other racers) and Cruz wins in the most unrealistic fashion with all the girls cheering for her. Why just the women? Why not everyone else. Where they booing or something? I would have. And the ending saying they both won is a cop out and feels cheap.
Now, I'm not an adverse to seeing growth or changes in a character. I enjoy seeing the hero/heroine take hits and grow, not just do the same thing with no obstacles. This movie doesn't do this for Lightning. He's plot as an underdog trying to better himself is overshadowed by cruz's want/need/plot to be his replacement. It goes back and forth like this so the story never feels emotional enough to bother investing in with either character. Plus we've never actually seen Lightning win on stage, just heard about it. So this was a supreme disappointment to those wanting to see him win for once.
This is the first Pixar/Disney film to have left me feeling so disappointed that I wanted to cry. It gets 1-star for the visuals and one more star because I did enjoy it up until Lightning got to the Rusteze centre but after that, the movies garbage! It will possibly be watchable to some kids ( under 5's ) and adults who aren't bothered by the movies "plot? What plot?" Story but I don't know anyone who likes this movie. flopped at the box office and made less money world wide, after earning back its budget, than all other Pixar films except The Good Dinosaur. The main reviews simply praise it for not being Cars 2 and not much else. Granted, some like it but many others, like me, don't like this film.
And if there is to be a Cars 4 starring Cruz? No thanks! I'm so done seeing the franchises that I love being destroyed by Disney and their ever-growing greed. This movie was a cashgrab and it's clear the writers had no respect or inclination to depict the characters we love as they should be or grow them properly. So thank you Disney, Pixar, for ruining cars and for this film being one biggest disappointment of 2017. Screw you!