Kung Fu Panda 3 is an animated martial arts film directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson. The plot sees ancient bad guy Kai (J.K Simmons), break free of the spirt world and return to the mortal plane hell bent on stealing the chi of every Kung Fu Master thereby destroying his old nemesis Oogway’s (Randall Duk Kim) legacy once and for all. There is only one Panda who can stop him.
I enjoyed this film quite a bit, it might have been my favourite since the first. I enjoyed the intensely personal journey at the heart of the story. Though you have all this end of the world end of kung fu stuff going on all around, the heart of the film is Po (Jack Black), coming to terms with you he is and finding his place in the world.
I think the journey that Po goes on, the inspiration for the series, is masterfully done and is a true achievement for the creatives involved. The progression feels natural and earned, when Po meets his birth dad Li (Bryan Cranston), it feels earned after all the soul searching he did in the second film. Truly his is a masterpiece of storytelling across multiple films and a beacon for how to do sequels.
I also enjoyed that the focus was not souly on Po, yes, he is the main focus, but this film gave those around him the chance to shine as well and shine they do.
Overall, this is the perfect end to the trilogy and feels like a much-deserved end, the character work and development is nothing sort of a master class and Black nails the emotion.
The emotional heart at the core of the film
Giving the side characters a chance to shine
The voice acting
The villain is a bit weak, but it is such a minor issue.
Reviewed by Luke