Kung Fu Panda 3: Skidoosh!

February 4, 2016

Our favorite animated, personified, karate-chopping animals are back for a third installment of the Kung Fu Panda series. Expectations were high for this movie after the huge success of its two predecessors. Fortune cookies all around the country advertised the film months before the release, hyping up the film even further. Some pessimistic fun-haters, however,  doubted the excitement, calling it “overhyped,” and saying there was “too much Seth Rogen and not enough Jackie Chan.” The latter statement is somewhat true — we could always use more Jackie Chan.


Once the film came out, the critics were silenced, and fans rejoiced. Setting box office records in China, Kung Fu Panda 3 exceeded expectations. The high-flying action, sly humor, and stunning animations that made the first one so great were reincarnated in the latest volume of this franchise. It’s hard for a sequel to top the original in any series, but this last Kung Fu Panda flick was right up there with the first.

Most Kung Fu Panda fans will admit that the second movie was a bit of a flop. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad movie; it just couldn’t reach the bar the first Kung Fu Panda had set so highly. Unlike the original Kung Fu Panda, number 2 put fight scenes on center stage instead of silly jokes. With a recycled plot and a less intimidating antagonist, the sequel was a failure.

After word got out that there would be a third Kung Fu Panda movie, the doubters came out to criticize. “How could they ever want to make another one after that disastrous sequel?” Luckily, Kung Fu Panda 3 restored the glory of the series, and the doubters shall stay quiet.

As evil yak Kai the Collector returns to the mortal world from the spirit realm, the lovable, courageous Po is faced with another challenge: becoming a teacher. Master Shifu’s work is done, and now it’s the Dragon Warrior’s turn to take the reigns and teach kung fu to the Furious Five. When Po’s long lost father travels to the Jade Palace and reunites with his son, he takes him back to a village only inhabited by pandas. To stop the reign of terror of the supernatural Kai, Po must master the element of chi, which ancestral pandas have conveniently mastered.

There has been a consistent message throughout the three Kung Fu Panda movies: Be yourself. In the first, we find out that Po can only save the kingdom once he learns to accept who he is. In number two, the Dragon Warrior must find inner peace to end the reign of the sadistic Lord Shen. In the third edition of the series, Po must travel back to his roots to become a great leader and a true panda.

Martial arts, comedy, and crisp animation blend well together to create a classic film for ages to come. Through all the fat jokes and karate chops, Kung Fu Panda ties in elements of family, friendship, and inner peace. It teaches us that being yourself is the best “you” you can be.

So thank you Kung Fu Panda. Thanks for the artfully crafted animation, for the heartwarming themes, and for the Wuxi Finger Hold. Skidoosh.