If it's crap ... We'll tell you
In the final chapter of the Back to the Future trilogy, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) finds himself traveling back to 1885 to once again rescue the life of Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). The culture shock is even greater, as are the laughs and the action, as Marty and Doc Brown battle love, time and wild west outlaws.
Talk about going out on a high note. Back to the Future Part III takes what really worked in the first two films and is able to somehow work it into a western setting flawlessly. We get some brilliant call-back gags, plenty of snappy dialogue and the best work from Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen's ancestor, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. We also get what was somewhat present in the first film but sadly missing from the second: A genuinely emotional storyline for Doc Brown. All of this works together just as flawlessly as it did in the first film, but it works on so many new and unique levels as well. It also doesn't hurt that I'm a sucker for a modernized old-fashioned western.
These films were all produced by Steven Spielberg and his influence really shows in the sense that he's always been madly in love with serial-style films. These shine as the most obvious and authentic recreations of that type of film making, with each starting up right after where the last left off. It was also brilliant filming both Parts II and III back-to-back, a brand new concept at the time. It allowed them to find some very intricate and ingenious ways to work in gags and keep the story tightly knit. I love that Part III, despite taking place in a western setting with all the themes of a classic western, was still able to capture the tone and the sci-fi elements of the first two films. It helped round things out really well while also being its own entertaining story.
I think my biggest problem with Part II was that it just felt like they were trying to do way too much in one film, allowing the characters and the story itself to suffer because of it. Here we go back to the basics and allow the characters not only to develop but to actually change and become better through their experiences. I also love that this one, like the others but moreso, doesn't talk down to its audience. There are a lot of jokes that you will not get unless you've been following the story and a lot of them are very subtle, but the pay-off is priceless if you're able to spot them. With its character development, its action and its great sense of humor, this is easily the most entertaining of the three and totally worth sitting through Part II in order to get a lot of the gags.