The dragon warrior and the “Furious Five” return once again to theaters on January 29, 2016 in the third installment of the Kung Fu Panda series. This film revolves around the conflict of identity crisis, family issues, and the frightening antagonist that Po must defeat. The movie is able to compose these three plots into an exciting experience that people of all ages will be able to enjoy.
The film focuses on two compelling lessons. Po’s frequent questioning of whether or not he’s capable of being a panda, dragon warrior, and teacher shows the internal battle of identity that many people face in finding themselves. The underlying concept illustrated in Master Shifu’s line “I’m not trying to make you be me, I’m trying to make you be you” is shown continuously throughout the film, especially when Po’s biological father arrives and Po begins to develop confusion as to who he really is. The arrival of Po’s biological father also raises conflict between his foster dad and his biological dad and brings about the question of what the meaning of family is. Kung Fu Panda 3 is able to encompass these teachings into a humorous and exciting story.
The film also did an excellent job of being able to show the entire story in an acceptable length of time so that it didn’t drag on and have unnecessary scenes. The music present in all the battles also provided a stimulating and thrilling experience and the concept of finding your inner chi was depicted beautifully in scenes throughout the entire film.
Kai, the main antagonist, however, lacks character development in this film. The story itself starts off with a confusing battle between Kai and Oogway that provides no context beforehand. The plot is also extremely predictable and you will probably be able to guess what happens in the end before even watching the film. This movie is also set in China with Chinese culture and aesthetics, but only three of the characters are voiced by Chinese actors. Some of the jokes shown throughout the film are also repetitive and corny such as the continuous big belly and dumpling jokes that Po incites.
Despite these flaws, if you still enjoy watching animated kid movies, then I would recommend watching Kung Fu Panda 3 so that you can discover the spiritual realm with Po and find your inner chi.