Back to the Future Part 3 is a good example of how you finish a trilogy. The second movie ended with a pretty solid cliffhanger and luckily for the fans of the trilogy, they didn’t have to wait a whole year before they got the resolution (just 6 months or so).
After the great, original first instalment and then the futuristic, iconic second movie, which managed to weave itself through elements of the first, Part 3 does the best thing possible; it goes somewhere completely different and completely detached from the rest of the trilogy.
The idea to place the events of the third film in the Wild West means that although we do get some repeats and references to past movies, this instalment feels really fresh. It is a clever movie too because all the “fish-out-of-water” jokes work in reverse, with Michael J. Fox’s Marty Mcfly being the one who knows a little more than those around him, like the “frisbee” pie-dish or using the name “Clint Eastwood” (which is a joke that always seems to work.).
The movie also takes a different spin by giving Christopher Lloyd a “proper” story. This is almost as much, if not more, Doc Brown’s movie than it is Marty’s. He falls in love, becomes the person who’s life is in danger and gets the heroic moment in the finale of the film. It works because over the two films, Doc’s character is sorely under-used but is vital to the series and his relationship with newcomer Mary Steenburgen, playing schoolteacher Clara Clayton, is teased out and developed really well.
It is the returning characters that make the movie work so well though and non-more-so than Thomas F. Wilson as “Mad Dog” Biff Tannen. Throughout the series he has done a great job of playing the slimy villain and looks like he is enjoying himself even more in this movie. It makes the final confrontation between the heroes and villain work so much better.
That’s not to say that Back to the Future’s third instalment doesn’t have it’s faults. Out of the three films it is the slowest to get started and then has moments of lag in the middle. Doc’s story is a good one but in developing the love story, you begin to take away from the pace and excitement that always pushed the Back to the Future movies forward.
Luckily, this is made up for in the great finale. The train/Delorean segment at the end had a great build and fantastic pay-off, with Alan Silvestri’s score adding to the excitement. It rivals the first movie for best finale, with the original just about pipping it to the post.
Overall, Back to the Future Part 3 is how you complete a trilogy. It brings a lot of the stories full circle, presenting the familiar in a completely different package. This is Christopher Lloyd’s movie and he revels in his new found love story while Fox’s Marty Mcfly gets some cool moments too. The finale brings the trilogy to a solid close and does the first movie justice.
Rating – 4
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)