Since Mater has always cheered him on from afar in the past, Lightning decides it’s time for him to fully enjoy the spoils of his success. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for Lightning to majorly question his decision, especially when Mater lacks sophistication in fancier locales. As Lightning does his best to distance himself from Mater, however, his trusting friend is unexpectedly thrust into an exotic new world of espionage when he’s mistaken for an American spy in the bathroom.

In the same sort of setup we’ve seen in Bond movies, the stage is set for a fast-paced spy/racing adventure in the opening few scenes. But the connection to Lightning and Mater isn’t established until later, which gives Cars 2 an intriguing air of mystery throughout—even if it’s occasionally too long and complex for the kiddie set.

Despite the more complicated plot, kids and adults alike should still enjoy the fast-paced, thrill-a-minute journey. Not only do the screenwriters seriously kick the action into overdrive, but the eye-popping animation, particularly in capturing the various locales (London, Paris, Tokyo, etc.) also ups the ante significantly.

Unlike its predecessor, the story also has more obvious takeaway value. Not only does Lightning learn that even the coolest of cars shouldn’t leave their friends in the dust, but Mater delivers what’s probably the best lesson of all by choosing not to have his imperfections buffed to perfection when he has the opportunity.

By acknowledging that dents and scars help remind us of where we’ve been in life, Cars 2 basically has a classic Pixar moment by communicating meaningful life lessons in a format that’s not only pure fun but engages the viewer on a far deeper level, too.


  • Drugs/Alcohol: Toasting with champagne, social drinking with dinner.
  • Language/Profanity: None, although Mater often says “dagnamit” in place of dam-it.
  • Sex/Nudity: Flirting, discussion of how “hot” the Italian car is.
  • Violence: Some gunfire and danger to cars when they veer off course and crash. They are a few perilous moments, but nothing is overly intense for the younger set.


Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.