Nine years after we said a tearful goodbye to Woody, Buzz, Jessie and all the toys from Andy’s Bonnie’s room, the gang have returned to cinemas for a fourth big screen adventure. But is it worthy of the Toy Story legacy, or should it have been left in the toy box?

*Pauses to build up suspense*

*Inserts trailer to create even more suspense*

It’s good news folks, Toy Story 4 is a hoot – and I loved it!

Everything that worked in Toy Story 1 through 3 is present in this fourth outing; from the colourful and often hilarious characters, through to the emotional highs and lows of the story. On three separate occasions this movie hit me in the feels, bringing me close to tears – something that rarely happens with any movie, mostly because I AM DEAD INSIDE!

No, it’s true. I am pretty much devoid of emotions.

But yeah, tears welled in my eyes as I watched this new chapter unfold. I didn’t expect it, certainly not after the emotional roller coaster of Toy Story 3, but somehow it happened.

The ending in particular brought a lump to my throat, but in all honesty, that lump was there from the beginning. Yep, tears from the opening few minutes.

Image: ©Disney/Pixar

Now without veering into spoiler territory, I can say that Toy Story 4 crafts a tale which continues the adventure from where we last left off, pushing ahead with a new journey of discovery for Woody. And yes, this is very much Woody’s tale.

The rest of the gang get screen time in Toy Story 4, but it’s the courageous cowboy who is the focus, taking the lion’s share of the material. Woody has to reevaluate what he knows about his life as a toy and as such, he becomes the primary focus.

It would have been nice to see a little more from Buzz and Co., but I don’t believe the film would have worked quite so well without Woody being the main character. After all, Woody is the original toy, so it only makes sense to place the spotlight on him.

But it’s not only Woody who gets to play, a whole bunch of new characters are also introduced and I’m pleased to say they all bring something new to the table. My favourite newbie is Duke Caboom – a motorcycle stunt toy in the vein of Evel Knievel.

Old favourite, Bo Peep is also brought back into the fold, having sat out of the events of Toy Story 3. Here she is given a new lease of life and it works really well, ensuring she is elevated beyond the trappings of her earlier appearances as a side character/love interest.

I’m sure many will moan about how Bo Peep has been turned into an action hero – I can already picture countless internet trolls foaming at the mouth – but I don’t care. Her character has evolved and she’s now a character that I’m sure many youngsters will look up to.

Image: ©Disney/Pixar

Bo Peep was easily my favourite character in Toy Story 4, but in truth I loved everyone and everything about this movie. In fact, I don’t have anything negative to say – this is yet another great entry in what is arguably the strongest movie series of all-time.

Seriously. We’re now four entries in and all four movies are superb – when has that ever happened?

OK, so there is perhaps one slightly negative thing to say, but that’s not about the content of the movie. It’s the question of whether or not this film is really, really necessary?

If I’m being honest, then no it isn’t. Toy Story 3 provided the perfect way to close the door, and we probably didn’t need to open it again.

However, the team behind this tale – led by director Josh Cooley – have managed to pick things back up without sullying what has come before. This feels like a continuation, regardless of whether it was required or not, and in that sense it is just a heap of fun.

Will there be a fifth entry? You know, it’s entirely possible, but I kind of hope not. Toy Story 4 has pushed the story to a new place, but I feel like now is the time to leave things where they are.

Toy Story 4 is highly recommended.

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