Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Review
Kung Fu Panda 3 is a 2016 animated action comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and it is the third entry in the franchise. It is a flawed, but definitely solid addition.
“If you only do what you can do,
you’ll never be better than what you are“
Po finally meets his father and has to travel to the panda village in order to prepare to fight the new villain. Overall, this is a solid film in terms of storytelling. I loved the introduction of Po’s father as that led to such a great character development of Mr. Ping in particular. I loved that father dynamic and it is great that this movie has a main character who has two fathers as it presents that development in an honest, very respectable manner.
Another thing that I liked is the introduction of the panda village as that was visually arresting and so much fun. And even though they focused too much on the laziness character trait of the pandas, that was still funny to watch. I also liked the flashbacks in this movie as they were used sparingly and properly. And the ending is sweet, but the whole third act felt dragging to me as the action was overwhelming. But thankfully, the action wasn’t that present in its first two acts.
Let’s talk about the characters. Po is obnoxious here. Wow, he annoyed the hell out of me. I strongly dislike this character, but here he was even more annoying than in the previous two installments. He really ruined this movie for me. Li Shan on the other hand is pretty good and I liked his character and the relationship between the two quite a bit. As I said before, Mr. Ping continues to be such a wonderful character and I really loved him this time again. His problem here is relatable and he is such an important character.
As for the Furious Five members, they are once again underused, but I have to say that this is the best use of Tigress yet as she is pretty likable this time around. Crane is also solid and Mantis is pretty funny in some moments. Oogway is pretty well utilized in the story and I really enjoyed that scene with him and Po near the end as it was visually powerful and a great plot progression. Master Shifu was a bit too hip this time around, but he was still quite solid. As for Kai, I don’t know what to think about this guy. On the one hand, he is once again a typical Kung Fu Panda villain who is weak, silly and forgettable, but on the other hand, he was genuinely funny from time to time and that makes him much more bearable.
The animation in Kung Fu Panda 3 is expectedly superb and just breathtaking to witness. I continue to respect this franchise for having such a strong artistic voice and this entry is no exception. Everything here looks great, from the characters to the imagery to the interiors. The natural landscapes are naturally the highlights as there are multiple scenes here that are wallpaper worthy how beautiful they look. The panda village scenery is beautiful and the film again uses traditional animation in a great way with some pretty artistic scenes and I only wish that there was more of it.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is an action comedy so let’s talk about those two important aspects. The action was incredibly disappointing as it was overwhelming later on and mostly too silly throughout the whole running time. Kai had some great moments himself as is usually the case with villains when they are on their own in this franchise, but otherwise the film fails as an action flick in my opinion.
Whereas it fails on action grounds, it thoroughly succeeds in the comedy sphere as the humor here is stupendously good. I laughed more than a couple of times and that took me by surprise as I didn’t find the previous two entries all that funny. Mantis is pretty funny, the pandas had some great moments and the highlight is of course Kai and how nobody knows who he is. Those moments were absolutely hilarious and such a great parody.
J.K. Simmons is the new addition to the cast and he did a really good job in the role of Kai and he is probably the highlight here. But all of the others are again pretty good with Bryan Cranston also being a good addition. Kung Fu Panda 3 is again unfortunate in its use of silly humor in its action scenes and it again ended up being ridiculous and too childish when it could have easily been darker and awesome had it chosen to be that way. That was so frustrating and a continual pet peeve of mine in regards to this franchise.
The film is tonally uneven and it is solidly paced, but overlong and dragging in its third act. The emotion is there and the script is mostly solid. The dialogue bothered me as it was too simplistic and pandering to the younger audience. It is the worst dialogue thus far in the franchise. But its message is well utilized, the score is solid and its visuals are splendid. It is of course much weaker than’ Kung Fu Panda‘, but it is pretty much on par with ‘Kung Fu Panda 2‘ and that is quite an achievement.