I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
This is a very late review. Apologies, I have been extremely busy.
Better ease myself back into it by reviewing something from a beloved franchise. Kung Fu Panda 3 is surprisingly the third Kung Fu Panda movie. Po, the panda, must now learn how teach others the ways of Kung Fu. What follows is reuniting of old friends and the emergence of a deadly old enemy while simultaneously giving a beginners guide to Taoist philosophy.
Yes, I said beloved franchise. I really like the Kung Fu Panda movies. Their stories are involving, their characters endearing and Dreamworks has some of the best moving animation in the business.
My favourite element is the surprising amount of growth in character, particularly in the titular mammal. A lesser sequel than Kung Fu Panda 2 would have Po go back to square one in his training somehow. What they did was build on what he had done in the previous movie.
My main question was, entering into the theatre, would we get a fitting third part to this story?
Well, it ain’t perfect. These movies have all had a slight issue with the plot progressing a little too quickly. Sometimes, I’ve felt that we would benefit from having a few more moments of serene calm to just admire the world and see the characters interact. That’s an issue bigger than the film, in my opinion, most films of this kind have little time to breathe.
Another issue I noticed was that I could actually script out the dramatic moments of the film before they even happened. There were some scenes, which, though moving, telegraphed it’s emotional beats way too early.
Some of the problems of this movie come from its superior predecessors. While the journey of Po comes to a satisfying close in this movie, I believe some set-up of major details which didn’t come in until the sequels in his character in the first film would have provided something more wholesome. Also, the first villain’s actions feel entirely inconsequential other than what he served in the first film’s story.
But that’s the snobby critic in me talking. Let me just pull the rug from under your feet and tell you that this a seriously kick-ass movie.
First of all, our cast is absolutely on point. Jack Black was born to play the juxtaposed martial arts master and lovable dumb-ass, Po. He has managed to attach the growth of this panda to an understanding of what it means to be a doughy fan-boy who likes nothing more than dumplings and sleeping late. This balance is the entire theme of this trilogy.
The supporters are wonderful again. How the heck can a movie franchise called Kung Fu Panda have Dustin Hoffmann, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan as three of its mainstays. (Actually the last one kind of makes all the sense in the world.)
This supposed conclusion to the series has J.K Simmons as the best villain so far in the series and Bryan Cranston as a surprising addition to the story, for reasons that I can’t get into. Sufficed to say, I do like his character, though I don’t particularly like the whole “liar-revealed” cliché that this film goes for.
I love Dreamworks when they do action and comedy. In this respect they outdo Pixar by a country mile. The final battle is the best climactic battle I’ve seen from a western movie in too long.
Overall, yeah this is a perfectly good conclusion to this surprising trilogy of family movies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get myself some Dim Sum.
Recommended Scenario: With short running times and pretty similar plotlines all culminating in a relatively satisfying whole, this was meant to marathoned as if it were Back to the Future.