A Deeper Look: In Defense of Toy Story 4

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Staff Writer

Toy Story 4 | Disney Movies
Toy Story 4 poster: Image from https://movies.disney.com/toy-story-4

Most of us here grew up on Disney movies. For me personally, and likely many of you, “Toy Story” was among the most noteworthy. With the release of “Toy Story 3” in 2010, the majority of audiences were satisfied. Andy was headed off to college to start his life while Woody, Buzz, and the others were safely passed on to a new life with Bonnie. What better ending could you ask for?

Well, it turns out that Disney had other plans, as it went ahead and released a fourth entry to the beloved series in 2019. This film has garnered much more criticism from viewers, some of which is understandable. Buzz is dumbed down substantially from the point he had grown to, the side cast is entirely underutilized in the narrative, and Bonnie’s screentime mirrored some of Andy’s rather closely.

However, the biggest criticism this movie gets revolves around its characterization of Woody and his final decision to separate from the gang to live a life of freedom with Bo Peep. This feels very different from his choice to stay with the gang in the previous movie, but despite what some people believe, I would argue that “Toy Story 4” justifies its own existence with this very decision. 

Woody has been the most consistently fleshed out character in this universe. We’ve seen every step of his arc, beginning as a narcissistic leader who has his world turned upside down thanks to Buzz. 

By the time “Toy Story 4” happens, we finally get to witness Woody recognizing that not every kid is for him. Bonnie does not play with him as Andy did, and when he finally manages to separate his image of his previous owner from his current one, he discovers his true desire to pursue a new life with his long-lost love.

“Toy Story 4” is all about rediscovering your purpose after you fear you have lost it completely, and while it may not be the most overall strong film in the series, it more than warrants its own existence.

The full Toy Story series is available to stream now on Disney+.

Key words: Disney, Popular Culture, Pop Culture, Movies, Toy Story, Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep,  Bonnie, Opinion 

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