First of all, let me just say "PHEW!!!!"
After reading the tepid and bad reviews of "Cars 2", I was a bit apprehensive about the possibility of a disappointing Pixar movie. I am happy to report that my apprehension was unjustified. It isn't a disappointing Pixar movie IF you are in for a fun time and not think too much. So that is the general feeling of the movie.
However (yes, you know that's coming, don't you?), "Cars 2" will become my least favorite Pixar movie so far, replacing "Cars". There were many clever dialog, scenes, etc. in the movie. And the movie looks astounding. No fault at all with the technical aspect of this movie. The ocean scene was simply jaw-dropping. But let me just say that half-way through the movie, I made a guess on who the Big Bad Guy was, and I was dead-on correct at the end of the movie. It was extremely formulaic to the point where I could predict what was going to happen in almost every situation. The way the story was executed was entertaining, but the storyline is stale! The bad part was, at some point, I was even hoping that either Mater or Lightning McQueen would blow up or get "killed", because that would really be unexpected and a big shock to the storyline.
The biggest complain about "Cars 2" in most of the disappointing reviews was the lack of emotional attachments to the characters. This is certainly true. I find that I didn't have as much of a annoying problem with Mater being a big part of the movie than Lightning McQueen, but I just didn't have that attachment to Mater, and in this movie, I didn't have that emotional attachment to McQueen either, nor any other characters. Thus, my comment about thinking that one of them should have been blown up.
And yes, the Toy Story short "Hawaiian Vacation" before "Cars 2" made us all longed for the Toy Story gang to come back.
"Cars 2" is entertaining. But it is nowhere near the masterpiece of "Toy Story 3" or "Up". I would even say that "Tangled", a non-Pixar Disney movie, is notably better than "Cars 2". And when was the last time one can actually say that?