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Lightyear review: Chris Evans’ Space Ranger act makes for a fun ride without the baggage of Toy Story

Chris Evans makes a fantastic and goofy debut in the Toy Story franchise.

  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 08.01 AM, Jun 16, 2022

Lightyear review: Chris Evans’ Space Ranger act makes for a fun ride without the baggage of Toy Story

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans), the legendary space ranger, embarks on an interstellar journey with Izzy (Keke Palmer), Mo (Taika Waititi), Darby (Dale Soules), and his robot sidekick, Sox (Peter Sohn). As this mishmash of a crew embarks on their most difficult assignment yet, they must learn to work together as a team to avoid the wicked Zurg (James Brolin) and his obedient robot army, who are never far away.

The film follows the famed space ranger after he and his commander are marooned on a dangerous planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth, and the film is the canonical origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy. In this episode, Buzz is joined by a squad of ambitious recruits and his cute robot companion cat, Sox, as he tries to find a route back home via space and time. The entrance of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of vicious robots and a mystery motive, complicates circumstances and threatens the mission.


When Andy introduced Buzz Lightyear to his toy collection, the Space Ranger lived under a rock, assuming that he was still that and not a mere toy. Until reality hits him, till then we see Buzz having a good demeanour of himself and the pride that he has been in space and more. Before getting a reality check in Toy Story, there was a reality about Buzz Lightyear, which is what the film is about.

Lightyear is a prequel to the Toy Story franchise and doesn't carry any baggage from the iconic Pixar films. The film sees Buzz going on a mission that is millions of light-years away from Earth, where he is marooned with his buddy and commanding officer, Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba). However, his determination to get back to the home planet takes years, and he sees everyone else going away from him.

It gets into Interstellar mode, where four minutes equals four years. In this process, Buzz has not aged a day, but his peers have, and they eventually leave him. That's where the film also takes a Pixar turn, leaving one to shed a tear.

But in no time, the fun starts as we are introduced to the main villain of the film, Zurg. Does it ring a bell? Well, yes, we have heard about him and seen him in Toy Story 2. This time, James Brolin has voiced the character, who very much behaves and sounds like Thanos from the Avengers series, which was voiced by his son, Josh Brolin. Well, there's another catch there, and come on, I can't spoil it here!

But here the real hero, no doubt, is Chris Evans, with his baritone voice and the figurine, which has a sharp jawline. There are moments when there are deja vu moments of seeing him as the superhero Captain America for nearly a decade.

Joining him is the sweet and amateur team, who had as catalysts a lot of goofy and lighter elements. Keke Palmer as Izzy Hawthorne; Peter Sohn as Sox (Buzz's cute companion cat); Taika Waititi as Mo Morrison; and Dale Soules as Darby Steel.

The visuals are spellbinding and the deeper we get into "infinity and beyond", the dialogue we have heard in the Toy Story franchise. But now we have got to know the source of the iconic and meaningful dialogue.

With Lightyear, Angus MacLane makes his directorial debut, and it seemed like he was a kid in a candy store. The filmmaker is not new to the animated world, with his last outing being Finding Dory, where he was the co-director. While Jason Headley has co-written the screenplay with MacLane and Matthew Aldrich, he has contributed to the story with the rest of the two of them.

If you take Toy Story into account, the only thread connecting them is Buzz Lightyear and how Andy's favourite movie made him the toy as a part of his world. The film is comforting, with a few jump scares. No, they are not scary, but very intriguing and will bring back the child in you.


Infinitely and beyond imagination, Lightyear is beautiful. Chris Evans is the perfect debut in the world of Toy Story, but no, it has nothing to do with the cute franchise that has been entertaining fans across the globe for nearly three decades.