A family vacation is wrought with tension and strife in this emotional, character-driven drama.
Fin Shepard, a lumberjack decorated with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom and given an award of a golden chainsaw, and his wife April, an amputee and writer, are expecting a child. April, her mother May, and April's daughter Claudia are on a vacation in Universal Studios, Florida. May seems to resent Fin, and needles her daughter about her relationship at every turn. Claudia also seems to resent her father's accomplishments, causing palpable tension.
After Fin's award ceremony in Washington DC, he heads to Florida to reunite with his family. Along the way, he encounters Nova, a mysterious woman from his past, who is traveling with her best friend and bodyguard. Nova, powerful and resourceful, has been busy training herself militarily, but the lack of communication with over the past year Fin has created a rift between them. Burdened with the memory of friends who have died, unrequited passions burn between the trio in a classic love triangle, as sexual tension goes unfulfilled. Fin hitches a ride with them, to the annoyance of the bodyguard.
Meanwhile, tensions continue to build between April and her mother. Judgmental and overly critical, May ultimately only wants what's best for her family, although she often seems to disapprove of Fin. Claudia meets up with a old friend, and together they attract the attention of two young men, and begin flirting with them. May is overly protective of her disabled, pregnant daughter. Fin decides to contact his father, a former colonel with NASA, although Fin feels he can never quite measure up to his father's accomplishments. Fin's father gives him a hard time about his marriage difficulties. Fin's hero complex causes complications between him and April, and he must make a difficult decision.
Claudia continues her flirtation with her new beau, with all the awkwardness of navigating the perils of a new relationship, including the impulsiveness of a first kiss. Unfortunately, their first date ends in tragedy.
Gil accepts an opportunity to take a difficult and dangerous mission, much to the chagrin of his family, but this mission would fulfill a lifelong dream. Tragedy unfolds yet again as Gil makes the ultimate sacrifice for his son.
With almost no warning, April goes into labor, and delivers a son amidst challenging circumstances during an unconventional birth which leads to tragedy.
Sharknado 3 suffers from an extremely large ensemble cast in this familial drama. Emotional complexity is often portrayed in a maudlin, sentimental fashion. Romantic subtext is often too subtle, with few characters acting on their passions, their impulses stymied by conflict.