|This is a better pic than the movie poster, I think.|
My kids agreed, it was far superior to the second movie, but still didn't quite reach the charm, humor, and sweetness of the first. Closer, but not quite the same. The story is okay, the familiar rivalry between Biff's ancestor and Marty's is amusing, the recyling of certain lines like "Great Scott!", "This is heavy" and such. There are some silly things, such as the flying locomotive at the very end (um... spoiler alert...) and the Spielberg-esque rush to catch the train and jump in the car and it's down to the last few seconds until it blows up and you're still not there... and whew! You made it. But there is good character development, as Marty learns to control his impulse to fight anyone who calls him "chicken", or "yellah" as they did in the old west, and there are some amusing sight gags, such as Doc's makeshift laboratory.
And I was reminded this time around just how cute Michael J. Fox was in his youth. He was adorable. And this time around his and Lloyd's performances were much better, less campy and goofy than in the second movie. Fox was more on his game, more Marty McFly again, and that was nice. I was grateful that Jennifer the Second (as we called her) wasn't in more than 5 minutes of the movie, because she was stiff and awful still. How Elisabeth Shue ever got work in the '80s is beyond me-- though, maybe this is her worst stuff and everything else was filmed after she learned to act. She was still very stiff and high school "I'm delivering my lines" level performing.
So my recommendation? Watch the first movie, enjoy it, and then if you've got a yen for more McFly, watch #3, but avoid the middle movie. It's not worth your time.