Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Continuing his "legendary adventures of awesomeness", Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
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In 2008, DreamWorks Animation attempted to make an animal wuxia martial arts action comedy with more focus on story and character development. That movie was Kung Fu Panda, the story about Po, an overweight fanboy who gets chosen as the Dragon Warrior improbably by Master Oogway to defend the Valley of Peace from Tai Lung. The Furious Five and Master Shifu doubted him at first and tried to kick him out, but Po managed to embrace himself and defeated Tai Lung. The movie was well-recieved both critcally and financially in USA and China and launched a new franchise for DreamWorks. Three years later, Kung Fu Panda 2 came out, continuing the story from the first by exploring Po's origins and having him fight against Lord Shen, an evil peacock, who had a connection to the panda. It dealt with themes such as genocide and adoption which gave the film a much darker tone. Despite it's underperformance domestically due to it's competition with The Hangover Part II on the same year, it did better in China and other countries and was also well-recieved by critics and audiences. Later, a tv show called "Legends of Awesomeness" arrived and despite receiving mixed reviews, it lasted for three seasons.With the first two films being critically acclaimed hits, a third film was in the works and later, in 2016, Kung Fu Panda 3 arrived. It continues where the second film left off with Po having a hard time taking the role of teacher after Master Shifu retires. Later, Po's biological father, Li Shan, finds him and reunites with him. Meanwhile, an adversary of Master Oogway named Kai plots to take the chi of all the kung fu masters. Po has to master chi and save the world once again while trying to learn more about his true heritage.Now, this review is based on my perspective of the film itself. I understand that it's considered by many to be the weakest of the franchise and prefered the first two better, but coming across as a fan who loved those films and other DreamWorks Animation films as well, I think that this was not only as good as the first two, but also an underrated film from 2016. Yes, I'll admit, it's not a perfect film and again, I understand why it's considered to be the weakest, but as a third entry of a very successful franchise, it's a solid continuation.Before I give this film some praise, there are some problems that could've been fixed, starting with the tone. There are some funny moments that were amusing, but the first two films were mature and balanced the drama with the comedy, whereas in this one, the rest of the silliness jars with the tense moments, which makes the tone very uneven. Next is the villain Kai voiced by J.K. Simmons. Now, to be fair, J.K. Simmons did a superb job with his vocal performance with a mix of funny and threatening and the action sequences involving him are amazing to watch, but his sympathetic detail was lacking in comparision to Tai Lung and Lord Shen, which had plenty of detail and made them very engaging and relatable. Not a terrible villain, mind you, but could've been so much better.And last but not least, the development of Furious Five and Master Shifu. Now we all now in the first film, Shifu had a connection to Tai Lung which really fleshed out his character and while he had little to do in the second film, at least he decided to help Po and the others in the climax. Unfortunately, he seemed to be underused here, and The Furious Five are once again underdeveloped, which is the same problem I had with the first film. Now, people can argue that they weren't given much to do in the second film, but at least they contributed more to the plot. Here, they even have less screentime. Only Tigress was the least wasted and the subplot revolving her and the little panda was cute, but unfortunately, her role was very minor compared to the second film, which gave her vulnerability especially when she comforted Po after he told her about his connection to Lord Shen. It would've been better if she and the other Furious Five members went with Po and his biological father so they can interact with the pandas. If DreamWorks Animation makes a fourth film, they better put them back into action.That's it for my problems and again, this is based on my perspective. Now, here are my praises for the film.Yes, the story does have too much siliness and it lacks the maturity of the last two, but it does a fine job answering the question fans have asked since the second film ended: Will Po finally meet his biological father?. Also, it balances the drama with the comedy well and gives plenty of heart to the film particularly to a scene where Li Shan mentions Po's deceased mom and that makes for a very tear-jerking moment. It also does a nice job continuing the progression of Po's character growth how he's going from student to master. Even the interaction between Mr. Ping and Li Shan is well done and it doesn't go into the rivalry cliche.The action sequences, much like the last two films, are very exciting and thrilling with some solid choreography. And although I do miss John Powell, Hans Zimmer does a great job representing the themes he did for the last two films. The characters are still likeable as they were. Po is still a lovable panda who remains relatable as each film progresses, Mr. Ping continues to bring a heartwarming side when he interacts with Po and in a scene where he interacts with Li Shan. And while Shifu and the Furious Five didn't get much to do, they're fine just the way they are. Also, Li Shan brings heart and sincerity while some of the panda villagers are one note, they're cute and so is Mei Mei. And then there's the animation and sweet heavens above it's gorgeous. The backgrounds are lush especially the panda village which I absolutely appreciate the most and the character animation is superb with expressive details on their feeling and reactions. Other stuff including snow, sand, grass, and rocks are greatly detailed. Even the Spirit Realm is so beautiful to look at.Overall, Kung Fu Panda 3 isn't a masterpiece and yes there are some things tha could've been fixed, but as a third movie, this deserves my recommendation. It's gorgeously animated, thrilling, heartwarming, and most of all, a solid addition to the franchise. Thumbs up! :)P.S. Happy 10th anniversary, Kung Fu Panda 1! June 6, 2018
This is a great movie. Kids love it. It starts good, with a lot of fun,Poe finding out that he has a dead and a whole colonies of pandas. Poe struggling to learn the Che, Whole palad's get's destroyed, and at the end get's very emotional with Poe wining over a General Kay. It is Entertainment to the end. We watched it over 10 times at least :-).
Three installments in, the novelty of Jack Black voicing a clumsy, dopey and constantly awe-stricken warrior panda who overcomes all his obvious deficiencies has worn thin. That's a fact of any franchise that leans on the same conceit over and over. Still, there's something eternally lovable about Po the "Dragon Warrior" that makes "Kung Fu Panda 3" more enjoyable (or easier to stomach) than most of its animation franchise contemporaries.Although it's four and a half years later, the same creative team behind "Kung Fu Panda 2" returns for the three-quel, assuring a level of quality in the animation and storytelling. Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson brought a greater degree of visual splendor to "2," and in tandem with longtime DreamWorks animator and story artist Alessandro Carloni, "3" has comparably engaging visuals and kinetic energy.Writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have been the mainstays of Po's adventures since the beginning. Although they didn't conceive the original 2008 story, they've scripted all three films alone, something that rarely can be said about animated films. They demonstrate in this latest chapter how well they know the hallmarks of the franchise they helped create and what the essential storytelling components are. In this adventure, the valley comes under attack by Kai (J.K. Simmons), a warrior bull that had been trapped in the spirit realm by Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) – the wise turtle master of the previous films – for hundreds of years. Kai has mastered the ability to steal the chi of all things spirit and living, and stealing Oogway's chi has given him the strength to cross over. Now, Po must quickly master the mystical power of chi if there's any hope of stopping Kai.Although the problems and conflicts of all the films have been episodic, "Kung Fu Panda 3" completes the circle of Po's character arc. Po must constantly rise to the occasion despite improbable expectations being placed on his shoulders every time, and this film seems to complete his journey as Dragon Warrior. This thread gives the franchise a continuity that matters. Every lesson could be totally different in each film, but, as purveyors of children's content, the DreamWorks team behind these films recognizes the importance of reinforcement. All of Po's adventures tie back to the same ideas in different ways.The film also wraps up the mystery of Po's parentage as we quickly meet his birth father, Li (Bryan Cranston), who tells him pandas were the old masters of Chi and he can learn if he comes with him to the secret panda village where a host of new characters await. This is not good news as far as Po's adoptive father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), is concerned, and the film explores some challenging family dynamics in a sensitive way.The same kinds of jokes and slapstick from the previous movies persist in "Kung Fu Panda 3," but they're not noticeably flatter than they were the last time. The same plot devices have been recycled, but they're no less engaging than they were the last time either. The same lessons can be learned from this film as the last couple times, but they're no less meaningful. All this to say "Kung Fu Panda 3" is a "meets expectations" sequel, and as the third movie in a franchise eight years running, "meets expectations" is a compliment.~Steven CThanks for reading! Visit Movie Muse Reviews for more
Having never seen the original two "Kung Fu Panda" films, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Jack Black is hit or miss for me as far as comedy goes. He constantly seems to border the line between funny and annoying. I was pleasantly surprised after watching "Kung Fu Panada 3" to find that not only was Black's performance not over the top, but that this movie was overall enjoyable. I didn't really need to see the first two films to figure out that Po was a clumsy, over weight, under dog with a mysterious destiny. The jokes in this movie were delivered quite well, and neither felt forced or drawn out as is the case in far too many children's movies. Each character was likable in their own way and felt three dimensional, having individual personalities and flaws. Brian Cranston did a phenomenal job as Po's father. His interactions with Black's character felt natural, showing that the two veteran actors perform quite well together. The plot was a typical good versus evil story, with the twist being that Po was put in the position of teacher, as opposed to student. I wasn't expecting a deep story from a movie about talking animals doing martial arts, so I was not disappointed by the typical plot. This movie actually makes me want to watch the original films.