This isn’t a spoiler, it’s mostly just a weird gag in Cars 2:
At one point Mater runs into a Car with its eyes on the headlights rather than the Cars style windshield as eyes. It’s treated like some kind of freakish, horrific thing, and indeed it is kind of jarring seeing two different designs for anthropomorphizing cars. I guess it was a little jab at some of the criticism put towards the look of Cars. Mater screams and drives off, the French car weakly asking “headlights!, headlights?” as he goes away.
It wasn’t funny, it was just weird.
The movie has a bunch of jokes like that. Another time Mater asks rhetorically “does the Pope-mobile have wheels?”. And it’s like, hold on a sec, is there Catholicism in the universe of cars? Is there religion? In the first movie another Car says “Thank the Manufacturer!”, is that like god? Are they robots or organic beings? They have teeth and pink fleshy tongues, they eat food and apparently also poop, but they also need gas to survive. There are Planes and Boats, Trains and other sentient vehicles, are they lesser beings? Is there a class system? They all seem to live in service to Cars. There are plows and tractors that look like Cars but are treated like Cows. Do they eat them? Are they slaves?
Then I think, well heck, it’s just for kids right?
But at the showing I went to, none of the kids were really into the movie. Almost all of the jokes fell flat and there never really seemed to be anything at stake in the action scenes.
So who is this movie for?
We aren’t meant to think too hard about the universe of Cars, but that flys right in the face of Pixar’s other movies. They’ve always been good about fleshing out a whole world, as improbable as a pocket dimension of Monsters or a secret world of living Toys was. Cars is just a strange…misshapen thing. It’s like that Car with the headlights for eyes. Not funny, not cute, kind of gross and disturbing.