Movie Reviews 2007 #171-172: BTTF II and III

Yes, my pace of watching movies have ground to a halt.
Watching Netflixed and owned TV series has contributed to that, as well as housesitting.
However, to complete the trilogy, I’ve watched the second and third Back to the Future movies.


After seeing them in quick succession, I am convinced that the two movies really are halves of a larger story, a story which is a sequel to the original BTTF movie.
The plot overarches both movies. Taking off of the end scene of the original movie, Doc Brown takes Marty and Jennifer to the wondrous future of 2015. However, we quickly learn that future is not wondrous, and to fix it, Marty and Doc will travel to an alternate 1985, 1955, and even 1885 before their travels are done.
I remember disliking the third movie intensely the first time I saw it. I think this is probably because I dislike Westerns. This time, I was much less hostile to the third movie, and in fact I appreciate some of its charms, and its ties to the second movie. A few throwaway references in the second movie manifest as plot points in the third. I still think that the second movie is the stronger piece, and is my favorite. The entanglement with the first movie, the time travel, the dark alternate future: all of these are interesting.
Yet, though, upon seeing these two movies, there is a core pair of problems.
The two movies make heavy use of a character flaw of Marty’s that we saw nowhere in evidence in the first movie. It feels tacked as a character development device out of nowhere.
The other is the character of Needles. Important as the revealed catalyst for Marty’s unsuccessful future in 2015, he, too, feels tacked on, and worse falls outside the character set of the rest of the movies.
The rest of the main characters are the McFlys, the Tannens and Brown. We see all of these characters in all of the time periods: 1885,1955,1985,1985 (alt) and 2015.
And then there is Needles. Such an important character in Marty’s history comes out of nowhere. What’s more, Marty has to know about him in the original, original timeline (before Marty goes back in time in the original movie).
With the issue of Needles aside, though, although the two movies aren’t quite as rip roaring good as the first movie, the second and third movies in the trilogy are entertaining nevertheless.