“The Future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one!” These are the words of wisdom Doc Brown chooses to give Marty after three films bouncing around time. Spoilers occur throughout…
Made back to back with Part Two, the third film takes Doc and Marty to a time most appealing to Doc Brown. Why the old West is so appealing to Brown, a scientist, always seems weird to me. But anyways, Marty goes to 1955 Doc Brown for help. Future Doc Brown hid the Delorean away, so Marty and 1955 Doc dig it out so they can fix it and Marty can return to 1985. However, in spite of Doc’s comfort with remaining in the old west, Marty realizes there is a danger when they discover a tombstone for Brown from the 1800s. And so he goes back to get Doc.
In the old West, Marty finds himself meeting the relatives of both his family and Biff Tannen. Biff apparently comes from a long line of bullies. The film brings back the gag of Marty giving a false name, this time around he calls himself Clint Eastwood (which is met by laughter from locals for being a non-masculine name). Marty and Doc must figure out how to get back to 1985 before Doc is killed.
Things are complicated by the arrival of Clara, a schoolteacher. Doc saves her from falling off a horse. As Doc falls for her, they realize that she should have died, and Marty and Doc have altered history.
Back to the Future Part III avoids the complications of the previous film, keeping everything in a single time for most of the film. It repeats the motifs of the original film, and it takes three films for Marty to learn not to be set of by being called chicken. But while it is less creative than Part II, it is more tonally consistant and therefore more satisfying for the audience, I suspect.
I do find the “moral” imparted by Doc odd. We have spent three movies with Doc declaring how dangerous time travel is and how they need to stop jumping through time…only for Doc to decide to run around the time continuum with his family.
But still, this is a pretty enjoyable close to the series, and really, feels like a decent high note to end on.