From a logical standpoint, it could be argued that the Toy Story series didn't need a third film. The first two films were just fine (the second one being spectacular), and even though there were technically places to go from there, one still had to be nervous about the fate that often awaits most threequels--even if it was Pixar doing the thing.
Well, whatever fans thought, we did end up getting one 11 years later. I myself was excited for it when it first came out; at the time, Pixar was still infallible so I wasn't particularly worried. Overall, I wasn't disappointed--though I did end up getting a *lot* more than I bargained for.
Just as the film comes out 11 years after the last one, we end up flashing forward in time in the film as well. After a slightly ludicrous opening sequence where we see the full extent of Andy's imagination (as a child), the film then switches to him getting ready to head off to college. And the remaining toys who haven't been given away have been left alone for years. And now he's gotta do something with them, right?
Well, one thing leads to another and the toys accidentally end up in a box headed for the local daycare. At said daycare, they end up in a room with the more rowdy youngsters, and while trying to get better treatment, it turns out the daycare is rigged by a group of toys led by an evil... pink teddy bear. Yup, you read right. An evil pink teddy bear. Well, he actually turns out to be a pretty threatening figure, more so than TS2's antagonist. So now they have to plan an incredibly elaborate escape that borrows from quite a few other movies in order to escape and get back to Andy.
In the end, Toy Story 3 turns out to be a very different experience from the other two films. It's quite emotionally rough to watch at times, especially if you grew up with the first two films the way I did (well, more the second one). I don't know which part is harder to watch--the infamous "incinerator scene," or the perhaps inevitable ending that concludes the trilogy on a note that tugs on the heartstrings.
Toy Story 3 goes for a very different approach from the first two films, which focused on toys and being loved by a kid. Now, the kid's grown up, and so has everyone else who was born during that decade--the film is tailored very well to be an offering for that generation, years later.
The film isn't exactly perfect, though. Like I said, the opening sequence which actually shows Andy's imagination come to life is amusing, but also rather silly. And they seem to have a problem making a romance that doesn't come off as annoying--Ken and Barbie's relationship has a couple amusing moments, but is often just silly. And I'm still having trouble buying the Buzz & Jessie thing, even if it was hinted at near the end of the second film. Here, it doesn't help itself.
Still, Toy Story 3 manages to be a successful ending (albeit a rough one) to an excellent trilogy. One question we should perhaps be asking ourselves is this: How in the world can we care about a bunch of silly plastic toys to the point that we have grown men--including cynical critics, no less--admitting to crying at the end of the film? I still don't know the answer to that. But this much cannot be denied: in that case, Pixar *must* be doing something right.