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Western Animation / Cars 2

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When You're In Over Your Headlights,
Who Do You Trust?

Cars 2 is the Actionized Sequel to Cars, released in June 2011, and the first Pixar sequel to a movie other than Toy Story.

Oil Baron-turned-electric-vehicle Sir Miles Axlerod has discovered Allinol, a new clean alternative fuel source. To promote it, he creates and sponsors the first ever World Grand Prix, where the best racers compete to see who's the fastest car in the world. One of the finalists is Piston Cup winner Lightning McQueen, who brings along his friends from Radiator Springs as his pit crew, along with first-time team member Tow Mater.

Unfortunately, when an intelligence exchange goes awry, Mater gets mistaken for a master American spy. When he accidentally screws up Lightning McQueen's competition against Formula One racecar Francesco Bernoulli, Mater ends up getting recruited by British espionage agents Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell to help them stop the machinations of a lemon car crime syndicate led by international weapons developer Professor Zundapp and his enigmatic boss, the Lemon Kingpin, who want to sabotage the World Grand Prix and Allinol so that they can eliminate this threat to their monopoly on fuel. Now, while McQueen struggles against his guilt, Mater must balance his duty to save the world and his efforts to save McQueen, who is quickly being targeted...

A video game adaptation, Cars 2: The Video Game, was released on June 21, 2011.

Cars 2 provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to E 
  • Abandoned Catchphrase:
    • For some reason, Mater never says one of his catchphrases "Git-r-done!" (his voice actor's famous catchphrase) once throughout the film.
    • Darrell Cartrip, for some reason, never says his trademark "Boogity boogity boogity! Let's go racin'!" whenever each of the World Grand Prix races start and the green light goes on.
    • This is the sole film so far where Lightning doesn't say "You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!". See the trope below for further details.
  • Aborted Arc: After spending much of the film focused on the World Grand Prix and his rivalry with Francesco, McQueen abandons the final race to go after Mater, and the exposure of the Lemons' plot takes up the entirety of the climax. Because of this, the end of the London race is not shown and it isn't revealed who won. With the epilogue showing a new race taking place in Radiator Springs, it could be that the London Race was cut short without a decisive winner due to Axelrod's arrest, but this is not said outright, and the film ends before we see who wins.
  • Accidental Rhyme: Mater pulls off one when posing as a waiter in Hot Springs' restaurant.
    "Good evenin'. My name is Mater and I'll be yer waiter. Pfft. Mater the waiter. That's funny, right here."
  • Action Prologue: The opening shows Finn doing stuff that wouldn't be out of place in a James Bond film.
  • Actionized Sequel: Goes from a racing movie to a spy movie.
  • Actor Allusion: This is not the first time Bruce Campbell appears in a Disney film featuring sentient cars.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Averted in a Continuity Nod; Mater mentions to Francesco that the reason Lightning hasn't entered the race is that he has learned to slow down and enjoy life. Then he gets Lightning to enter another race for the sole reason that Francesco has just embarrassed Lightning in public.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The salescar with eyes in her headlights that Mater encounters in Paris is named Celine Dephare.
    • The agent who gets blown up is Rod "Torque" Redline.
    • The Gremlin and Pacer are Grem and Acer, respectively.
    • The secret organization Finn and Holley work for is never stated in the movie, but is referred to as C.H.R.O.M.E. on the movie's official website and in the tie-in game.
  • Anime Land: Japan is depicted in this manner, more or less an extended version of the way it was shown in the Tokyo Mater short.
  • Answer Cut: Professor Zundapp says, "Who can stop us now?" The film then cuts to Mater saying, "Mater, Tow Mater, that's who!"
  • Artistic License – Awards: Mater is rewarded with an honorary knighthood for his efforts and dubbed "Sir Tow Mater".note  However, honorary knights are not granted the title of "Sir" and are not dubbed at their knighting ceremonies. On a related note, Sir Miles Axelrod is addressed a few times as "Sir Axelrod." Knights are not referred to as "Sir (Surname)". The correct way to address him would be "Sir Miles" or "Sir Miles Axelrod."
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: While Lightning is asking Mater to behave himself at the World Grand Prix kickoff party, Mater speeds off and he tries to stop him but gets sidetracked by two of the competitors and mingles with them.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Mater can recognize any engine and give you all the details about it just by taking one look at it, regardless of how old or obscure it is. He realises who the mastermind is after Guido is unable to unscrew the bomb bolted into him, since it uses the exact same brand of bolts used for the old British engine he saw earlier and connects it to the oil leaking incident he got blamed for.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Mater's plan to get Miles Axlerod to disarm the bomb: by standing next to him, forcing Miles to blow his cover to save his own life.
    • Axlerod's plan to kill Lightning by planting a bomb in Mater himself also counts.
  • Berserk Button: Saying that Lightning McQueen isn't fast enough is a very, very, very, very, VERY horrible idea, as Francesco Bernoli learned the hard way.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The regulars of Radiator Springs save Mater and McQueen from the Lemons in London.
  • Big "NO!": Rod screams one when the Lemons find out Mater is their true target — he just endangered the life of a civilian.
  • Bilingual Bonus: After the Japanese bartender dishes out a big glob of wasabi which Mater mistakes for pistachio ice cream, he backs up and delivers the line "okuyami moshiagarimasu", which translates to something along the lines of "You have my condolences". Averted on the home video releases, which feature a subtitle track that is just the bartender's line, translated as "My condolences."
  • Bland-Name Product: Even though most of the cars are referred to by their real model names (even the lemons), "Hugo" (as opposed to the real-life "Yugo") is an exception.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    • Just before the Tokyo race when Lightning does his "Speed, I am speed" ritual, Francesco teases it as "Francesco is triple speed".
    • When Grem and Acer are planning to destroy Lightning with the camera, Grem quotes, "Instead of saying 'Ka-chow', he's gonna go 'Ka-boom'!"
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Mater after he discovers that everyone else sees him as a clueless ditz, good only for distracting others.
    "No one realizes they're being fooled when they're too busy laughing at the fool."
  • British Royal Guards: Mater tries to get one of these to laugh shortly before his knighting ceremony.
  • Breather Episode: This movie retroactively serves as one for the Cars trilogy, being a mostly lighthearted, fast-paced action film set during the peak of Lightning's racing career. Cars 3 would go on to take a much more down to earth and serious tone, with its story revolving around an older Lightning as his racing begins to go downhill.
  • Buffy Speak: Before the race in Porto Corsa when Francesco mocks Lightning, at one point he says to him, "I think you're forgetting the insulting part of that insult."
  • Bus Crash: It's mentioned that Doc Hudson passed away sometime between Cars and Cars 2, reflecting the fact that his voice actor, Paul Newman, died two years after making the first film.
  • But Now I Must Go: Lightning has to depart with his team for Tokyo after he gets his redesign.
  • Butt-Monkey: Otis, the friendly ol' rustbucket of Carburetor County.
    Mater: Well, since this is your tenth tow this month, it's on the house!
  • The Cameo:
    • Kabuto, the main villain of ''Tokyo Mater'', actually makes several brief appearances during all of the Japan scenes.
    • Three time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon features as one of the main World Grand Prix racers, Jeff Gorvette (a pun on his real name and the fact that he is portrayed as a Corvette). In international localizations of the film, he is replaced by other racing celebrities that are better known to the locality than Jeff Gordon:
      • The Australian release features V8 Supercar racer Mark Winterbottom as "Frosty" (his Real Life nickname).
      • The Spanish release features Formula One racer Fernando Alonso as himself and uses a Spanish sports broadcaster as one of the race announcers.
      • The Russian release features Formula One racer Vitaly Petrov.
      • The Mexican release features Rolex Sports car racer Memo Rojas Jr.
      • The German release features Formula One racer Sebastian Vettel as "Max Schnell". Schnell is already in all versions of the film, but he gets an extra line in the German version.
      • The Swedish release features Touring Car racer Jan Nilsson as "Flash".
      • The Brazilian release features retired racer Emerson Fittipaldi, and the announcers were dubbed by local sports broadcasters.
    • Deadliest Catch's Sig Hansen voices his own crab fishing boat, F/V Northwestern ("Crabby" in the film itself), complete with crab pots. He even uses "crabbing" as his excuse when confronted by a military warship.
  • Car Fu: Done literally when Finn McMissile uses martial arts to attack a group of thugs — while idling in front of a sign advertising Carate and Car Fu lessons.
  • Cars Without Tires Are Trains: One of the activities that Mater drags Lightning into in the beginning of the movie is driving on abandoned railroad tracks without tires. Subverted when Lightning and Mater are unable to get traction on the rails.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Mater tries to tell his friends about his encounters with Holly Shiftwell and her world of international espionage, no one believes him because they think he's just telling another of his tall tales.
  • The Cavalry: Done literally when Sarge contacts his old military buddies to bring the entire British Army to rescue Mater and Lightning.
  • Chase Scene: At the Tokyo airport.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Done by Pixar themselves — a key aspect of Cars 2 is Mater's habit of fanciful storytelling, which causes his friends to dismiss his claims of espionage adventure as mere stories. Since this was a characteristic not shown in the first film, it was feared that its sudden appearance would look like an Ass Pull, so the "Mater's Tall Tales" shorts were created to establish this trait two years in advance.
    • Also done literally with Mater's gatling guns which he uses to escape from being tied up in Big Bentley.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mater's ability to recognize old and obscure engine parts at a glance. Sadly averted with the Jackass-worthy stunts Mater puts Lightning through at the beginning.
  • City People Eat Sushi: At a party in Tokyo, lovable American hick Mater mistakes wasabi for pistachio ice-cream and asks for a big heaping scoop. He then embarrasses himself by rushing to a fountain to wash off the burning sensation from his mouth.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the epilogue of the previous film, the Glenrio Motel was converted to a racing museum, but in this film and onward, as well as the various games that precede said film, the motel remains intact, with the racing museum replacing the Medical Clinic following Doc's offscreen death. Lightning's Racing Headquarters, which was introduced in Mater-national Championship which replaced the Radiator Springs Garage, is also nowhere to be seen here.
  • Clueless Aesop: Sarge's last line was "once big oil, always big oil", implying that all of them are villains. This is a shocking statement given that the closest thing the series has to a Big Good is Tex, CEO of the Dinoco oil company.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Professor Zündaap inflicts this on Rod "Torque" Redline with the EMP camera.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Tokyo and Porto Corsa races of the World Grand Prix are bright and full of color, and take place on a clear night and sunny day respectively. The London race, however, is dull and darkly colored, and takes place on a cloudy day, which foreshadows the disasters that will happen there as well as the reveal of the Big Bad.
  • Company Cross References:
    • In Paris, Gusteau's from Ratatouille appears briefly, with a change in spelling that makes it Gastow's.
    • Also there's a drive-in movie marquee at one point mentioning a film titled The Incredimobiles. Curiously enough, the Incredimobile is also the name of Mr. Incredible's car at the very beginning of his film.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted: when Mater's captors overturn a table and take cover behind it, it gets absolutely shredded by the Gatling guns - they only have to thank their luck that Mater doesn't know what he's doing and is shooting way high.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Mater talks to Francesco on the talk show, he explains that Lightning wants to rest after having completing the latest racing season because he's learned to slow down and enjoy life — which was the Aesop of the first film.
    • The Tokyo race includes a dirt track, where Mater reminds Lightning to use the skills that Doc Hudson taught him about turning on dirt in the first movie.
    • "Whoever that tow truck is, he's got to be the world's best backwards driver!"
    • The ending with Finn and Holly's last scene is scripted word-for-word from the similar scene in the first film, about the supporting cast being in debt to the main character and the reply, "I appreciate that, thank you. ...Actually, there is one thing...", followed by a Gilligan Cut.
    • The Japan scenes could actually be this to ''Tokyo Mater'', complete with a brief cameo of Kabuto. Is also economical—Pixar created the shorts so they could reuse models and environments for the sequel!
  • Cool Boat: The boats the Lemon cars have are based off the Independence-class littoral combat ship.
  • Cool Plane: Finn's partner Siddeley is a tricked-out spy jet (not surprising, given his name — the Hawker-Siddeley Corporation was responsible for much of the Royal Air Force's hardware).
  • Costume Copycat: Ivan is a tow truck that looks a lot like Mater. Holly helps Mater with a holographic disguise to look like him, after Mater tries out several very conspicuous and outrageous modes.
    • This one gets turned around almost immediately afterwards, when the villainous tow truck replaces Mater's hook with his own (identical in profile) hook in a crowd scene while the other Lemons have grabbed him.
  • Costume Evolution: Starting with this movie, Lightning no longer has sticker decal headlights and taillights, they are replaced with actual working ones.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the poster for this film, Lightning McQueen is in the centre, making him the hero. In this film, the real hero is Mater. Averted with the Blu-Ray + Digital and the 2019 4K Ultra HD releases, which solely feature Mater on the cover.
  • Cover Version: The film features Weezer performing their rendition of The Cars' "You Might Think". In addition to subtly referencing the film's title, the choice of band also nods to the fact that Cars frontman Ric Ocasek produced Weezer's blue and green albums.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Turns out, the reason Lightning was not affected by the beam was that Sarge didn't trust the advertisers and swapped out Lightning's Allinol with Fillmore's organic fuel.
  • Creator Cameo: To celebrate Pixar's 25th anniversary, the animators inserted John Lasseter in the movie as Jeff Gorvette's pit crew chief.
    • The two Citroëns kissing in the middle of the Pont des Arts also represent Lasseter and his wife.
  • Cultural Translation: Some foreign releases had minor World Grand Prix race cars replaced with cars representing their own countries. Australia has Frosty Winterbumper, Russia has Vitaly Petrov, China has Long Ge, Spain has Fernando Alonso, Sweden has Jan Nilsson, and Latin America has Memo Rojas, Jr.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The villains' plan revolves around discrediting alternative fuels so that they can keep on selling their oil. Except that the only legitimate alternative fuel that had ever been shown on camera is Filmore's organic gasoline, which wasn't being sold outside Radiator Springs. If Axelrod and the lemons had stuck with selling their oil legitimately, they would still have had plenty of time to get crazy rich before any alternative fuel could be produced in sufficient quantities to threaten the oil industry.
  • Darker and Edgier: While it's still a colorful family-friendly film, the sequel justifiably features more peril than the original.
    John Lasseter: There is peril. There is threat. You want the bad guys to be bad.
    • We get on screen car deaths through direct violence. That's quite a genre shift. It's not often you see the Mafia (or Lemons) featured in a G-rated film.
  • Death Trap: An elaborate one set for Finn, Holly, and Mater, courtesy of Zundapp since he wanted to have them watch him kill McQueen first.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Lightning becomes this throughout the second half of the movie, due to Mater taking up most of the story.
  • Demoted to Extra: All the Radiator Springs residents who aren't part of Lightning's pit crew (including Sally) only show up at the beginning and in the third act.
  • The Don: The four heads of the Lemon families: J. Curby Gremlin, Vladimir Trunkov, Victor Hugo and Tubbs Pacer.
  • The Door Slams You: When Grem and Acer are beating up the American spy in the bathroom, Mater happens to come out of a stall and unintentionally hit Acer in the face. When it closes, Acer is seen with quite the pained expression on his face.
  • Do Not Call Me Sir: A friendly variation when Mater, who prefers to still be his down-to-earth self, is dubbed a knight by the Queen:
    Queen: I hereby dub thee Sir Tow Mater.
    Mater: "Sir"? Shoot, you can just call me Mater, Your Majesty. I don't wanna hear none of this "Sir" business.
  • Double Entendre: Ivan the tow truck's offer of 'Road-Side Assistance' to Holly.
    • In the bathroom Mater comments on how the female animated car "gets to giggling right before she starts squirting".
    • Mater asks a female car in a dark alleyway "What're you sellin'?" to which she begins "flashing" her headlights, making it seem like Mater is unintentionally soliciting a prostitute.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: During the final race, Lightning chases after Mater while the latter warns him to stay away. McQueen assumes that Mater is still upset following their argument, not yet realizing that Mater has an actual bomb attached to him.
    Mater: McQueen, you don't get it… I'm the bomb!
    McQueen: Yes, Mater, you are the bomb! That's what I'm trying to say here!
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Mater does this with a holographic program that allows him to resemble Ivan and infiltrate the Lemons in Italy.
  • Eagleland: Mater is viewed as a hybrid of Type 1 and Type 2 by non-American cars meeting him for the first time.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: During the Pub Rumble near the end of the film, a tapestry on the wall shows automobile versions of Queen Eleanor, Princess Merida, King Fergus, and the Royal Triplets from Brave.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: McQueen invokes this after Mater inadvertently causes him to lose the first race in the World Grand Prix.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Mater gets one of these while Luigi tries to remove the bomb bolted on him. This gives him the identity of the mastermind behind the sabotage.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Francesco admits that when he's abroad, he misses his mom. And yet he still finds a way to act like a Jerkass by pointing out that he isn't abroad at the moment and his mom is in the stands.
  • Evil Brit: Sir Miles Axlerod.
  • Evil Plan: The Lemons have a device that causes the alternative fuel Allinol to combust in cars. They use the device during the charity race promoting Allinol to discredit alternative fuels and force cars back to fossil fuels, which the Lemons control and thus profit from.
  • Eye Cam: When the Tokyo race is about to begin and Lightning is focusing himself, we get a shot through his eyes looking straight-on before he closes them to do his pre-race ritual.

    Tropes F to K 
  • Faking the Dead: Finn McMissile uses a set of decoy tires to pretend that he's been torpedoed by the enemy.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Rod "Torque" Redline's engine is made to overheat and explode, though it's only shown as a vague reflection.
    • An earlier scene has secret agent Leland Turbo shown as a crushed car cube.
  • Filler: The film itself has been retroactively rendered as such in the greater Cars film series, since Cars 3 barely, if at all references this film's events.
  • Fancy Toilet Awe: During the Tokyo section of the Grand Prix, Mater comes across the car equivalent of a Japanese toilet (it's an oil change bay) and is confused by the functions, particularly the bidet.
  • Flying Car: Holly Shiftwell.
    • Mater becomes one when he deploys his parachute and rocket thrusters.
  • For Want of a Nail: If it hadn't been for Axlerod's oil leak, Mater wouldn't have ended up involved with the agents to stop his plan, with Mater being the one to expose him as the lemon kingpin. As such, Axlerod's own faulty lemoness ended up being his undoing.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Lightning McQueen and his pit crew arrive at Tokyo to meet Miles Axlerod, while they are all talking to Axlerod Sarge is frowning while everyone else is smiling, suggesting that he is thinking that Axlerod is up to no good. Guess who's actually right!
    • Also, the line "But I never leak oil!" Guess who was with Mater when the tow truck saw a puddle of oil on the carpet!
    • At the same time when the leaking occurs, the oil has a rather jagged and pointed area which points in the direction of Axelrod, foreshadowing who really leaked.
    • A blink-and-you-miss when the leaking occurs. Axelrod flinches and reverses away from the oil, but Mater does not. Also, he sounds nervous as he backs away, and seems to grunt slightly before the oil is released.
    • Three words. "Rear view mirrors." You can see Axlerod's rear view mirrors on the Lemon Kingpin while he's making his speech.
    • A minor one; during the Travel Montage, Lightning and Mater pass a billboard of Lightning being advertised as a vacuum cleaner called "Lightning McClean". This happens to come into big detail in Cars 3 when Sterling wants to take Lightning off the racing circuit to become a merchandise brand.
  • Friendship Song: "Collision of Worlds", that plays in the credits, is about Lightning and Mater's friendship with each other and their trip around the world together.
  • Furry Confusion: The first film had Volkswagen Beetles only appear as literal bugs. However, this one has "human" VW Beetles.
    • Also there are both "human" and "bird" planes.
    • And "human" and "snake" trains; and "human" and "hamster/gerbil/small rodent" cars. (See the ''Cars 2''/State Farm commercial to see examples of all of this.)
  • Gatling Good: Mater is outfitted with two while acting as a spy.
    Mater: Dad-gum!
    Computer: Gatling gun: request acknowledged. [guns deploy]
    Mater: Shoot, I didn't mean—
    Computer: Request acknowledged.
    *Gatling guns open fire*
  • Genius Ditz: Mater reveals a surprising understanding of engines and car parts. Justified by his job towing broken cars.
  • Get Out!: Said four times throughout the movie:
    • By Grem and Acer when Mater starts annoying them in the bathroom.
    • By Holly when she somehow manages to hack into Mater's headset and tells him to leave the pits so he can help Finn.
    • By Holly again as she tries to tell a disguised Mater to abort the mission in Porto Corsa after Axelrod announces the final race is cancelled.
    • By Mater as he warns everyone to leave the pits because the Lemons implanted a bomb there when it's really on him.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: When he's infiltrating the Lemons, Mater is equipped with a heads-up display that gives him detailed information about all the criminals and schemers around him.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Mater's simple nature belies the fact that he's a genius at recognizing obscure and old car parts at a glance. Later, he also figures out Axlerod's plan to discredit alternative fuels from earlier clues.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Rod’s explosion to death is only shown barely as a reflection in the photo of him and Mater in the bathroom.
  • Green Aesop: Zig-zagged.
    • Axlerod sponsors the World Grand Prix to promote his alternative fuel, Allinol. Subverted when it's actually regular gasoline, and he's sabotaging his own race to discredit all alternative fuels.
    • Played straight when it's revealed that McQueen has been racing with Filmore's organic gasoline the entire time, because Filmore and Sarge don't trust Big Oil companies.
    • Downplayed, as the villains are merely exploiting the fuel issue as a means to get revenge for being ostracised and ridiculed.
  • Greenwashed Villainy: The plot centers on a race organized by Sir Miles Axelrod to promote his new alternative fuel Allinol. It turns out that he's trying to discredit alternative fuels so that he and his lemon buddies can keep on selling oil out of the oil fields they own.
  • Ground by Gears: Around the climax of the movie, Finn and Holly are tied to the giant clock gears of the Big Bentley by the bad guys, with them edging closer to being crushed by another gear each minute. Holly manages to save them by making the clock run in reverse.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The movie starts out with Lightning as the focus as he comes home after winning a fourth Piston Cup in a row and prepares for the World Grand Prix. After Mater leaves on Siddely, the movie splits into a two-story mechanism with Lightning's plot with the race as the B-story and Mater's plot with being a spy as the main one.
  • Herr Doktor: Professor Zündaap caters to this, as if the giant monocle, condescending tone of voice and his experience in dangerous weaponry didn't give it away before.
  • Hidden Depths: Although Mater is out of his depth in many ways being touted as a high-class American spy, he does prove to have extensive knowledge in things such as engine parts and lemon car models that prove very valuable to Finn and Holly's mission.
  • High-Dive Escape: Finn McMissile jumps off an offshore oil rig.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mater uses the bomb Miles Axlerod planted inside him to force Miles into exposing himself as the Big Bad... and if he hadn't, he would have been blown up by his own bomb in a very literal example of the trope.
  • Hot Paint Job: Lightning, courtesy of Ramone, gains a rather flashy one for the World Grand Prix, complete with a raised spoiler and actual working lights.
  • The House of Windsor: In London, car versions of both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Wheeliam appear.
    • And the Queen's ancestors appear to be Princess Mercedes, Queen Wheeleanor, and King Fergas.
  • Hypocrite: Miles Axlerod, who promotes Allinol as the future of fuels, claiming that it will make fossil fuels like gasoline obsolete, leaks oil and frames Mater for the leak at the Tokyo party, only for the racers to discover that Allinol is nothing more than regular gasoline which causes engines to blow up when hit with an electromagnetic pulse laser as a ploy to discredit alternative fuels.
  • Ignored Epiphany: At one point, Mater tries to talk the bad guys down, but their response falls straight into this trope.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Torque gives Mater the data before being tortured to death.
  • I Have Many Names: Alexander Hugo goes by the nicknames "Chop Shop Alex", "Alexander The "Not So" Great", and "Alex Hu "Don't" Go".
  • Ironic Echo: "Everything is voice-activated these days."
    • When it's revealed that Sarge swapped out Lightning's Allinol for Filmore's organic fuel Filmore calls him a hippie.
  • Is The Answer To This Question "Yes"?: When Finn asks Mater if Hugos and Trunkovs are considered lemons, Mater responds:
    "Is the Popemobile Catholic?"
  • James Bondage: Finn, Holly, and Mater get tied to the inner workings of Big Bentley after they are captured by the Lemons.
  • Jerkass: Bernoulli, the Italian contestant and Lightning's main rival in the Grand Prix. Unlike Chick Hicks, he doesn't seem to be a cheat, just very talented and very arrogant. He seems to get better at the end of the film, to the point where he becomes Vitriolic Best Buds with McQueen.
  • Jerkass Realization: Mater has a dream where he sees his activities over the past few days with Lightning abroad and finally realizes what an embarrassing jackass he has been.
  • The Kiddie Ride: A twin ride featuring Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, released by Cogan in 2013. Ital-Resina have also made an unlicensed race car simulator ride in 2016 that shows clips from the movie's video game and resembles the A-Team van.
  • Knighting: Happens to Mater in the end.
  • Knock Out Gas: When the lemons kidnap Mater after he tries to warn McQueen of their plan to kill him, they place him in the trailer of a truck that releases gas that renders Mater unconscious.

    Tropes L to P 
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In the big brawl with the Mooks at the end, the residents of Radiator Springs prove themselves to be capable fighters, particularly Mater. (Making him a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass)
  • Machine Blood: When the Lemons blow up Rod "Torque" Redline, we actually see a puddle of oil trickle under the Lemons' tires once Redline is finally dead.
  • Madness Mantra: Mater utters one when he enters the bathroom.
    "I never leak, I never leak, I never leak..."
  • Man Behind the Man: Turns out that Professor Zundapp has been working for Sir Miles Axlerod the whole while, who actually wants to press the continued use of regular gasoline, which he has a massive off-shore oil reserve of. Sabotaging the World Grand Prix is just a plot to besmirch all alternative fuels.
  • Master of Disguise: Both Finn McMissile and Mater, thanks to their voice-activated holographic disguise systems.
  • Matryoshka Object: Sarge, Luigi, and Guido during the ending credits.
  • Midair Collision: The scene where Mater and Finn McMissile are both attempting to flee from Grem and Acer at Tokyo Airport, and in the process one of McMissile's projectiles collides with those of the villains.
  • Mind Screw:
    • At one point when discussing fossil fuels, Mater asks "What happened to the dinosaurs?". Dinosaurs. Just sit and let that sink in for a minute.
    • There's a female car in Paris whose eyes are in her headlights instead of her windshield. Naturally, Mater reacts to her appearance with shock.
    • There's a literal Popemobile, who rides inside a larger Popemobile.
    • Just what does Crabby the crab boat catch, anyway? Teeny undersea ROVs? Minisubs?
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Done by Finn McMissile when he spies on the Lemons.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell mistake Mater for an American spy.
  • Mistakenly Attacked Mole: Holly Shiftwell ends the Chase Scene where Tomber flees from Finn McMissile by deploying her taser on Tomber. The minute they're alone, Finn interrupts Tomber's complaints to explain that Holly had no idea that Tomber was Finn's informant.
  • Mooks: Professor Z's underlings are The Lemons, a motley assortment of unloved car designs such as Gremlins and Pacers.
  • More Dakka: Surprisingly enough, the destructive effects of gatling guns are showcased with more realism by a Pixar animated film than by most live-action ones - wherever Mater aims, stuff gets absolutely torn apart.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In-Universe, Francesco Bernoulli. Sally and Flo are heavily attracted to his open tires.
    Flo: I gotta get me some coolant!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lightning experiences this shortly after he gets the note from Mater about going back home due to making Lightning lose the race in Japan. Mater also felt this way when he gets knocked out prior to his arrival in London.
  • National Stereotypes: Several, most notably Gay Paree, British Royal Guards, and the big village banquet from Guido's Aunt and Uncle. And Mater, of course.
    Finn McMissile: Is he American?
    Holley Shiftwell: Extremely.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Most of the film's trailers and marketing indicated that Finn would mistake both Mater and Lightning for secret agents and rope them into the mission, and some promotional screencaps show Lightning and Finn interacting in scenes where only one of them is present in the finished product note . McQueen and the other Radiator Springs residents are not involved or aware of the spy storyline for the bulk of the film, and Mater is only mistaken for a secret agent because the real agent plants the MacGuffin on him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed
    • Darrell Waltrip, as Darrell Cartrip from Cars, is joined by Formula One commentator David Hobbs as David Hobbscap, and sportscaster Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger.
    • Jeff Gordon appears as Jeff Gorvette. See The Cameo above for more details.
    • Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton appears as himself, albeit as a McLaren MP4-12C Grand Touring car (Complete with tooth gap).
  • Nonstandard Character Design: The salescar with her eyes in her headlights in Paris.
  • Not Just a Tournament: The World Grand Prix was actually organized by the Lemons just so they can zap all of the competing racecars with a deadly radiation cannon as an attempt to destroy public trust in alternative energy sources and force everyone back to using gasoline.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Finn and Holley believe this is what Mater is doing when they think he's the American agent they're supposed to meet with. Subverted later on when Mater actually is able to figure out Axlerod's scheme before anyone else, who all assume he's still just as moronic as ever.
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • This is the only movie so far where racing is not the Central Theme, someone other than Lightning is the main focus, and Randy Newman is not the composer.
    • This is the only movie in the Cars franchise in which the lead character does not appear in a new paint job towards the end.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Mater learns that the bomb is not in Team McQueen's racing pits, but instead, his air filter!
    • Tony Trihull's eyes widen in shock just before being blown up when Finn releases a bunch of timed mines in an attempt to break away from the magnet pulling him in.
    • The look on the two thug cars who get diverted into a pub, and then break the table where the patrons were enjoying their beer. The patrons are not pleased about that...
  • Official Couple: After the Ship Teases throughout the first movie, Lightning officially refers to Sally as his girlfriend when introducing her.
  • Only Sane Man: Francesco Bernoulli, after the World Grand Prix degenerates into Wacky Racing.
  • Parodic Table of the Elements: The Automotive Table of the Elements.
  • The Pollyanna: Mater.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The film's plot revolves around Mater being mistaken for an American spy, and the various conflicts and misunderstandings that occur as a result.
    • During the Tokyo race, Mater tries to have a conversation with Holley over his headset while still on the line to McQueen, which distracts the latter and causes him to lose the race. When explaining himself afterwards, Mater mentions hearing Holley's voice in his head, which makes Lightning assume that Mater's "girlfriend" is imaginary, making him even angrier.
    • While Holley shows some doubts about his methods during the mission, she and Finn wholeheartedly believe that Mater is the real spy. Even when Mater shows blatant hints suggesting otherwise, Finn believes that Mater is just being extremely dedicated to his cover story, which leads to him being Innocently Insensitive when he later compliments Mater for playing an "idiot tow truck" so well.
    • During the climax, Mater realizes that the Lemons strapped a bomb to him in order to kill Lightning; and he desperately tries to drive away from McQueen while the latter tries to apologize for their earlier falling out. During the chase, Lightning interprets Mater's various warnings as simple words of regret, not realizing what's actually going on until he sees the bomb for himself.
      Mater: If you get close to me, you're gonna get hurt real bad!
      McQueen: I know I made you feel that way before, but none of that matters!
  • Power of Trust
  • Precision F-Strike: When Francesco is furious after Lightning mocks him over the phone, he launches into an Italian-induced rant that's so suggestive, the show had to mute him out.
  • Product Placement: Mater sings the State Farm Insurance jingle when making a joke about Finn and Holly being "agents" (alluding to "insurance agents", not "secret agents") a few scenes after he meets them. The film has major tie-ins with State Farm, and Pixar even animated an entire commercial featuring an anthropomorphic State Farm vehicle voiced by their regular ad announcer.
  • Properly Paranoid: Sarge, who saves McQueen's life by secretly swapping out his sabotaged Allinol fuel with Fillmore's organic biofuel, because he's naturally distrustful of oil companies.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Seen on Guido and Luigi when they read Mater's tearful farewell note.

    Tropes R to Z 
  • Red Is Heroic: Leland Turbo and Lightning are both red. Leland Turbo is a Red Shirt, but he is still a good guy as before he was killed, he worked with Finn McMissile. Lightning is this like in the first film, but it's more noticeable here as he is far less of a Jerkass than he was in the first film.
  • Red Shirt: Agent Leland Turbo, a fellow agent of Finn McMissile. Kind of lampshaded by the fact that he actually is red. He's only seen alive in the opening during his transmission to Finn, then we see that Grem and Acer caught him and killed him by crushing him into a cube, as Finn witnesses right before his cover is blown.
    • Red "Torque" Redline as well. He's the original agent that was supposed to pass the identity of the lemon kingpin to Holley and Finn. He slips it to Mater instead, and is subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture, which destroys his engine and kills him.
  • Rule of Cool: It's the reason Pixar made cars do martial arts and fight scenes.
  • Running Both Sides: Sir Miles Axlerod is hosting the World Grand Prix to promote his Allinol and is the shadowy leader of the Lemons.
  • Sabotage to Discredit: This is Axlerod's plan - to purposefully make Allinol dangerous in order to discredit green energy in general.
  • Sadistic Choice: Mater gives one to Miles Axlerod after realising that he's the Big Bad: he can either deactivate the bomb he planted inside Mater, thus outing himself as the one who planted it, or he can let it explode and die along with Mater. He chooses the former option at the last second.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: While the original film took place in Radiator Springs, in the sequel there are stops in Tokyo, Paris, Italy and London.
  • The Shadow Knows: Right after Finn discovers that Leland Turbo has been killed by the lemons, a jet of fire shoots up behind him, revealing his shadow on the ground below and giving away his position to the lemons, who look up and see him.
  • Shapeshifter Swansong: Invoked when Mater's holographic disguise gets damaged, causing him to cycle through all the other forms he cooked up for it before it gives out.
  • Shoot the Bullet: An automobile version of this pops up in the airport chase scene, where the bullets in this case are missiles fired from Finn and one of the Lemons.
  • Soft Water: Averted with one of the mooks in the opening sequence. McMissile survives a similar impact minutes later, but he's also a heavily modded 007 car who, among other things, is designed to be submersible.
  • So Last Season: In the first movie, McQueen training on dirt roads gave him a Game-Breaker advantage in the Nascar-style races. This race, being a cross-country race, has dirt tracks incorporated into the official World Grand Prix routes, which most of the cars can handle perfectly well (though McQueen still edges them out in skill). Ironically, the dirt tracks are Francesco's Achilles' Heel.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Mater knows everything about engines and engine parts, but in an idiot savant kind of way.
  • Spanner in the Works: Mater.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: It's hard to remember that in the first film, Lightning was the protagonist while Mater was just a supporting character. Mater was incredibly popular with kids, and as a result a lot of the spin off material (the "Car Toons") focused on Mater. Come the second film, he's the unquestionable main character, with Lightning's ordeal with the race as a side story.
  • Spy Speak: Finn McMissile and Holly Shiftwell recognize each other by discussing the Volkswagen's air-cooled engines. This backfires (thankfully not fatally) because Mater, a tow truck with encyclopedic knowledge of engines, inadvertently says the right passphrase.
  • Stealth Pun: Mater IS the bomb!
    • Not to mention in the meeting of the Lemon families, there are piles of real lemons on the tables.
  • Stock Scream: When Grem and Acer get beat up at Ye Left Turn Inn, one of them emits the Wilhelm scream.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: Mater's air filter is replaced by a bomb as a contingency plan to kill Lightning McQueen. He later uses it to coerce a confession from the Big Bad.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: How Mater finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy: because an intelligence exchange goes awry and Mater gets mistaken for a master American spy.
  • Sudden Name Change:
    • A minor villain whose first name appears to be Fred actually alternates between the surnames "Fisbowski" and "Pacer."
    • Similarly, Sal Machiani (a yellow three-wheeled truck seen in Italy) is actually referred as "Ape" in one of the film's promotional posters.
    • Yet another minor villain, Petrov, actually alternates between the surnames "Trunkov" and "Oilski."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Subverted at the end when Fillmore claims not to have switched Allinol with biofuel. It's then revealed that it was actually Sarge who did so.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding:
    • Mater tries to warn Lightning not to come near him since he has a bomb attached to him, but Lightning believes that Mater is telling him to stay away because of the previous embarrassing events. Then when Mater explicitly mentions being the bomb, Lightning misunderstands it as him finally understanding his own worth.
    • Holly and Finn consistently believe that Mater's confession of being just a tow truck is merely keeping up his cover story at all times.
  • Taking You with Me: Mater threatens the Lemon King with this tactic in the climax.
  • Talking Your Way Out: When he's surrounded by the Lemons' Mooks, Mater tries to invoke this by sympathizing with them as outcasts and laughing stocks. It doesn't work.
  • Teaser-Only Character: Leland Turbo.
  • Time Bomb: In the climax, Mater gets a bomb on his hood that activates either by manually pressing a button or on a timer, the latter of which is invoked upon Mater attempting to deactivate the bomb through a voice command. The bomb is secured using rare bolts and the only way to deactivate it is through the voice of the one who activated the bomb. The bomb is ultimately disabled when Axlerod gives the command to deactivate the bomb upon Mater interrogating him up close.
  • Time Skip: The film takes place four years after the first film, when Lightning has won his fourth consecutive Piston Cup.
  • Third-Person Person: "Francesco is familiar with this reaction to Francesco." This seems to be a bad character tic.
  • This Cannot Be!: When Francesco finds himself overtaken by flying spycar Holly and rocket-enhanced Mater.
  • Time for Plan B: After the EMP cannon fails, the lemons resort to using a bomb strapped to Mater to kill Lightning.
  • Toilet Humour: Mater accidentally goes into the women's bathroom in Tokyo. And once he gets to the right bathroom, he gets caught inside... in a bidet!
  • Too Important to Walk: One of the high-ranking Lemons has a tow-truck Mook drag him around, which Mater replaces to infiltrate the Lemons' meeting.
  • Transformation Sequence: Lightning gets one when he is being done up for the World Grand Prix, one particular moment being his decal headlights and taillights are hollowed out and fitted with actual working ones.
  • Underside Ride: Finn McMissile actually clings to the underside of Tony Trihull with his magnetic tires in order to sneak into the Lemons' oil rig.
  • The Unmasking: When Mater exposes Axlerod for being the true villain and the whole thing was his fault.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Mater ends up as this when he goes to warn McQueen's pit crew about the bomb planted in their midst. It's actually in his air filter.
  • Urine Trouble: Invoked when Mater gets on the stage in Japan and a puddle of oil appears under him which was actually caused by Miles Axlerod.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Axlerod when Mater confronts him as the leader of the Lemons. He starts off cool, trying to prove his innocence and accusing Mater of blowing smoke. But as the countdown reaches the single digits he starts panicking. And with no one coming to help him and Mater not backing off, he's eventually forced to deactivate the bomb. Even he's surprised that Mater, of all cars, was the one to figure out his plan.
  • Visual Pun: At the Lemons' meeting in Italy there are platters of lemons on the table.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lightning and Francesco Bernoulli by the end.
  • Wall of Weapons: Finn McMissile shows off an entire arsenal of weapons aligned on the lab walls for Mater to choose as he is getting ready to disguise himself.
  • Wacky Racing: The London leg of the World Grand Prix. A race cannot be considered sane or normal when a rocket-equipped tow-truck starts driving backwards.
  • Weaponized Car: The espionage characters feature missiles, rockets, machine guns, and targeting systems hidden all along their bodies, most notably Finn McMissile, Holly Shiftwell, Rod Redline, and Mater.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: All of the bad cars are motivated to sabotaging Allinol largely because of their stake in oil/gas, but also payback for all the taunting and mocking they've received due to being "lemons".
  • Wham Line: Quite a few.
    • When Z has Rod Redline tortured and brings out the device the Professor had in the opening.
    Professor Z: This "camera" is actually an electro magnetic pulse emitter.
    • Later after the Italy race
    Professor Z: Allinol must be finished for good. McQueen cannot win the last race! Lightning McQueen must be KILLED!'
    • This warning from Finn at the climax regarding the bomb:
    Finn McMissile: Mater, listen to me! The bomb is on YOU! They knew you'd try to help McQueen! When we were knocked out, they planted it in your air filter!
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The reason why the Lemons were evil.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Mater gets a time bomb bolted to his engine as a backup plan to kill Lightning McQueen.
  • Wilhelm Scream: When the Mooks are in the pub fight.
  • World Tour: The international race.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: First by Grem when he and Acer spot Mater in Tokyo after he leaves the pits. Later on by Mater himself as he is distracted by the souvenirs in a Paris market.
  • Your Mom: When the lemon cars interrogate Torque about his associate, he says it was "Your mother. Oh no, I'm sorry, it was your sister. You know, I can't tell them apart these days."


Professor Zundapp

Professor Zundapp torturing Rod Redline by putting Allinol into his fuel and increasing the EMP, killing him after interrogating him.

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