Cowboy doll Woody tries to wrangle a handmade toy in the midst of an existential crisis in Toy Story 4, which takes a deep dive into how society shapes us. The first feature film from director Josh Cooley, it has a 98% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, though several have found faults. Four takes:
- Stephanie Zacharek calls it "a perfectly acceptable work of superfluousness" following Toy Story 3, "which for many is the gold standard of the series." But it does add in "fine new characters," like stuntman action figure Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves. "If you've never had a crush on a toy, Toy Story 4 may open new worlds for you," Zacharek writes at Time.
- Joe Morgenstern calls it "hugely enjoyable." It adds to the series "much more than anyone might have guessed," speaking "to nothing less than the purpose of living and the mystery of life." In this way, "Toy Story 4 transcends toydom," Morgenstern writes at the Wall Street Journal. "It feels exquisitely alive."
- The franchise shows itself to be "a toy store of ideas, with new wonders in every aisle," writes Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com. "Fear of death, whether in body, spirit, or reputation, lingers over the movie, though never so heavily that you forget to laugh at the toys being silly." Indeed, "few blockbuster movie series are so likeable and accessible to people of all ages and cultures."
- Peter DeBruge was also impressed with the film, which "revisits the existential questions that arise when a toy outlives its usefulness." There's a "sincerity Cooley embraces," allowing for a "deeper and more artistic" film than with Toy Story 3, the critic writes at Variety. He notes the film is "by far the most cinematic of the series, doing incredible things with lighting." And in the end, it "wraps up the saga beautifully. At least, for now."
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