Get ready for a surprise! You guys know I will always be honest with how I feel about a film. I went into Kung fu Panda 3 with extremely low expectations. I hated all the trailers and the character designs didn’t look great. I liked the first one, really enjoyed the second and 3 seemed like a step back. Well, I’m thrilled to tell you I was wrong! Kung fu Panda 3 is not a step back. In fact, it is solidly the best of the 3 and is in the running for the best CG film Dreamworks has ever made. Yep, you read right! That’s how I really feel.
There are so many reasons I loved this movie. First of all, it combined the strengths of 1 and 2 perfectly. It had the first film’s humor and sweet message with the sequels action and authentic martial arts movie feel. But that’s not all. It had a good story, sweet messaging and beautiful animation.
I was so impressed with the way the film combined 2D, hybrid and CG elements seamlessly. That has always been a part of the series but here it wasn’t just a dream sequence that was 2D, it was intermixed into the entire story which was beautiful. The colors were also bright and full of life. Kung fu Panda 3 gets serious points just for being so great to look at. The trailers did not do it justice at all!
The story revolves around a spirit named Kai who has a score to settle with Master Oogway from the first film. In revenge he has conquered all of the spirits of the great masters and absorbed their chi into himself. He finally absorbs Master Oogway and that allows him back into the human world. Still out for revenge he seeks to take all the mortal masters including the great Dragon Warrior.
As he absorbs the characters it creates kind of a jade zombie and with each one he becomes stronger and bigger. Meanwhile, Po is learning from Master Shifu to become a teacher instead of the student. He also meets his biological father and learns about a secret community of Pandas which is strong in chi and defeated Kai before.
There are a lot of interesting things about this story. I particularly liked the struggles Po’s adoptive father has when he meets his biological father. As an adoption advocate, I thought that was handled very well. Also learning how to teach as the final step in becoming the Dragon Warrior is a very insightful plot thread for the film.
Like I said, the humor is used just enough to break up the villainy but not so much as to feel annoying or crass. I laughed quite a bit. The action is a lot of fun but never too drab or scary for little kids. I think people who felt Kung fu Panda 2 was boring will like this entry much better.
The voice cast works very well with some new talent in JK Simmons, Kate Hudson, and Bryan Cranston. I still wish to begin with they hadn’t had such modern voice talent but I prefer this cast too the dragon cast any day of the week.
The film just works. It’s beautiful to look at. It’s exciting, funny, sweet and I was consistently entertained. I want to give a special congrats to director Jennifer Yuh Nelson. There aren’t that many female directors in animation and I really admire what she has done here.
I honestly don’t have anything negative to say about the film. Maybe I will when I watch on repeated viewings. Like the Lego Movie, it will probably be skipped for nominations because of its early release but it is certainly worthy. I loved it.
You’all might think I’m crazy but I don’t care:
Overall Grade- A+
Here is my youtube review:
24 thoughts on “Kung fu Panda 3 Review”
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see this film until March. As that is when the film will be released in the UK.
Well, glad you loved it so much!
I’ll be curious when you see it what you think since you hated the 2nd.
Honestly, I liked this film too! However, in some ways, I think this one’s the best, but in others, I think 2 is the best! Now, just hear me out! I thought it was great that we see Master Oogway again, the development between Po’s relationship with both his biological father and adopted father were handled very well, & it was great to see Po’s other family in this one as well. However, I feel Po and possibly the Furious Five, to a degree, were developed more, and I still think Shen is the best villain out of the three that we’ve seen thus far. Oh, and I like the climax scene in 2 the best as well. I may end up going an B+ to A-, if not more, for this one! Great review though!
Thanks. I can totally see that. I’d have to watch them all again back to back to 100% decide. Either way its ended up being a very strong trilogy. I think this is one of first times your slightly below me on a grade! :). But I’m glad you liked the movie.
Thanks, even though I believe I was slightly below you on your Atlantis review as well. Either way, I’m glad you enjoyed this film as well!
Hey, by the way, you’re rewatching the films within the Disney Animated film canon, are you not? Just curious, you mind if I ask how I get to watch those videos that you’ve posted thus far?
I am rewatching them. Bambi will post on Wednesday. Here is the playlist. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7wz447AgL4yYdPEvAXJSvZ4zUkBltrR_
Awesome! Thanks Rachel! I’ll try to check it out soon.
You know what I thought about Kung Fu Panda 2, of course, so this may surprise me – but I thought this was very good! Much better than Kung Fu Panda 2, definitely. I don’t think it’s quite as good as the original, but it does come close in parts. I think the original did a much better job of having action and being a genuine martial arts movie, as well.
But I think in retrospect Kung Fu Panda 2 did a much better job setting this film up than it did as a film in its own right. The story is bigger, the characters go places they didn’t go before, and in fact the film kept correcting all my complaints as it went along. Just as I was questioning why Shifu would set Po up to fail in teaching, there was Shifu explaining why. I questioned the fact that there was little attempt to explain how Po’s father knew to find Po, but then there was the spirit of Oogway explaining he sent the message.
I remember thinking the revelation that Mr. Ping wasn’t Po’s real father was anti-climactic in the second film, but here they did handle Po’s father arriving very well. I liked that Li Shan accepted Mr. Ping right away, and that eventually Mr. Ping admits the error of his ways and embraces the role Li Shan has in Po’s life.
If there was anything I had to complain about:
– The pace is a bit too quick, even though there are a few quiet scenes when it gets too much
– Kai’s motivation is similar to Tai Lung’s, and I don’t think Kai is interesting beyond the fact that he is supernatural
– The film’s climax goes on a bit too long, and then the movie ends quickly. I was hoping to see Oogway’s statue being repaired, admittedly.
Other than that and one or two other things I may have forgot, there was really nothing wrong with it. Top notch work, all around.
To clarify: I meant that the original did a much better job of having action and being a genuine martial arts movie than Kung Fu Panda 2 did (in response to you attributing that to Kung Fu Panda 2), not this movie.
Glad you enjoyed 3! I wondered what you would think
Did you think I would like it?
I did because to me it was a nice combination of humor and action and my recollection was you thought 2 was boring. I didnt think either was boring but especially not 3. Anyway glad you did. The animation alone was so beautiful
I had a lot of problems with Kung Fu Panda 2, including the story, the villain, and climax. I did think it was lackluster. I don’t typically pay attention to animation but it was good, yes. I still have fond memories of seeing the original twice in 2008, but this film was definitely a return to form.
Ok. Well, I’m glad you have 1 and 3 to enjoy
Loved this movie. Gave it 4.4 Out of 5. Wasn’t as good the first two, but still a great animated film. Definitely one DreamWorks “better” movie of the recent years (besides How to Train Your Dragon 2).
Yay! Another fan. I agree an excellent entry in the franchise.
I finally watched this film and I really enjoyed it. Although I do think it’s the weakest film in the series.