Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
For a long, while the original Toy Story trilogy has been considered to be perfect by audiences and critics everywhere so when Toy Story 4 was announced the question everyone had was do we need this movie after the trilogy essentially ended perfectly? And for the longest time, I thought that answer was no, or at least until I actually watched Toy Story 4 and Pixar proved me wrong once again. Toy Story 4 is an emotional and necessary character piece that manages to elevate the iconic film series in ways you don't expect. Toy Story 4 may be a movie that could work on its own but I think it's ridiculous to claim this isn't a Toy Story movie or that it works better as a stand-alone movie. The film answers many important questions left unanswered in the original trilogy and it is, in my opinion, the perfect extension of the story. Yes the movie focuses mainly on Woody but all of the Toy Story movies do, Woody has always been the main character in each film so all of them have centred around Woody and his perspective. Toy Story 4 has incredible pacing and does a fantastic job of telling the story without it feeling rushed or dragged out. I also love how they reintroduced Bo Peep to the story, I thought everything about this storyline was creative and really well crafted as well as I was just happy to finally start getting answers to where bo peep went and how she went missing. Then, of course, the voice acting was once again flawless and the cast really cemented themselves in their roles. This was easily for me the most emotional installment of the Toy Story series, at times I would find myself going from smiling to tearing up in a matter of just a couple of scenes. Some people might think the balancing of emotions can feel cluttered but I think they handle the themes of this film perfectly that every emotional reaction I had to the movie felt completely natural and sometimes unexpected. Of course, this movie had literal decades of build-up and work connecting the audience to the film and characters but that shouldn't take anything away from this movie, Toy Story 4 truly does a fantastic job at exploring and adding new themes and ideas without ruining the past films or your connection to those past films. This film also does an incredible job of adding necessary character and emotional development to this series that allows audiences to feel a deeper connection to the characters and world it takes place in. I also believe this movie has not only the most emotional ending to a toy story movie but easily the most beautiful and well-crafted end to a Toy Story movie. It fits perfectly into the message and ideas the filmmakers are trying to present and it works flawlessly. This movie also had me laughing historically at times and some of the more childish yet charming comedy fits this film perfectly. A lot of the new characters introduced were great, entertaining and added a lot of emotional depth so surprisingly Pixar managed to expand the universe the Toy Story films take place in perfectly. At the end of the day, Toy Story 4 was an emotional, important and necessary addition to the Toy Story Franchise. It answers important questions, extends characters, extends the story perfectly and even expands the universe. The voice acting is incredible and the movie is one of the most legitimately emotional films I've ever seen. Toy Story 4 is a masterpiece with phenomenal animation and may even be one of the greatest animated films I've ever seen! If you are a fan of the original toy story film you should definitely watch this film asap and if you aren't hell this movie is incredible so you should just watch it anyway.