Kung Fu Panda 3 was a fitting addition to the story of a panda and his superb kung fu and eating skills. When a 500-year-old warrior named Kai (J.K. Simmons) returns from the spirit world to conquer the mortal realm, Po (Jack Black) must learn how to channel the ancient ability of Chi in order to defeat Kai. As this villain plots his attack, Po’s biological father (Bryan Cranston) finds his son after years of searching.
The movie was directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh, starring Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, J.K. Simmons, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, and Kate Hudson.
Storytelling has always been a strong point for the Kung Fu Panda franchise and in this film it is no different. The overall message was a great one for kids, stating that you must be the best you that you can be and if you try to be someone else, you’ll never find out who you truly are.
This movie has great pacing for the most part. Sometimes it did feel a little too fast, especially when Po reaches the panda village. However, sequences like Kai’s past are beautifully timed and told fantastically with gorgeous watercolor scenes. In addition, the development between Po, his biological father Li, and his adopted father Mr. Ping is a fantastic thing to watch.
The characters were funny and interesting—both the new faces and old. Li was a great father figure and his dynamic with Po was definitely one of the better parts of the film.
I wish I saw more of the different Kung Fu Masters like Tigress (Angelina Jolie) or Monkey (Jackie Chan), but it was fine since there were two other movies that highlighted them. Kai was a ball of fearsome and fun energy, J.K. Simmons’ booming voice complementing the character’s not-so-serious personality.
Visually speaking, this is the best of the trilogy. The spirit world as well as other sequences had beautiful colors and contrast. The panda village was quaint but still gorgeous to look at. The final scene has some of the best frames in the entire film franchise. That being said, this film does not have as many strong martial arts scenes. Kai’s movements and overall ability were less interesting than what Kung Fu Panda 2’s villain, Shen, showcased.
While I still prefer Kung Fu Panda 2, this movie is still a fun watch, and I definitely recommend it to all fans.