Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his crew have just returned to Radiator Springs from a successful racing season, when his towtruck sidekick Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) brings up Italian car Francesco Bernoulli's (John Turturro) challenge to race in the imminent World Grand Prix. It's being organised by green energy proponent Miles Axelrod (Eddie Izzard), and McQueen accepts, taking Mater with him on the tour around the world. Along the way, Mater gets caught up in an investigation by British secret agents, ultimately saving the day.
The series has undoubtedly grown in scope, moving from small-town America and Route 66 to a plot that spans the globe, not to mention the allure that suave spies bring to any story. The themes tackled by the film, too, are broader, and include the challenges that the environment faces, and the power that racism has in dividing society.
The art direction is fantastic, with bright colours and stunning vistas taking centre stage, all the more stunning in 3D. Depictions of the different countries and cultures are surprisingly accurate and amusing. Also surprising is the amount of screen time that Mater gets in his subplot, equalling that of McQueen.
Pixar has succeeded yet again in creating another charming film that both children and children-at-heart will enjoy enormously.