Kung Fu Panda 3 is the continuation of the story of the “Dragon Warrior”, Po (Jack Black). Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) declares that he has taught his students all he can and decides to step down to pursue his own personal training. To the surprise of everyone, He appoints Po as the next Kung Fu teacher. While attempting to get the hang of his new leadership role, Po is reunited with his long lost Father, Li (Bryan Cranston).  However the bliss of their reunion is cut short when a terrible warrior escapes the spirit world, leaving Po with the responsibility to defeat him.

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Kung Fu Panda 3’s animation is the best aspect of the movie.  While we’re treated to many beautifully animated Chinese landscapes, the action sequences were the most dynamic and creative with their comic book flare. While I generally despise seeing any movie in 3D, I can’t deny that it greatly contributed to the spectacle of the film.

My main issue with Kung Fu Panda 3 is that the plot beats are way too familiar with much less heart. Despite a giant bull named Kai (J.K. Simmons) terrorizing villages and enslaving the souls of Kung Fu masters, the gravity of the situation never feels as serious as it should. The themes, while good and insightful, are not much different from the previous installments.  Master Shifu once again stresses to Po that he will not master the task at hand unless he looks within himself. At this point, Po should stop being surprised at constantly receiving such cryptic introspective direction.

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The humor doesn’t hold a candle to the first movie. Kung Fu Panda 3 does have some genuinely clever moments but they are few and far between.  The remainder of the comedy is comprised of slapstick that’s initially funny, but waxes ridiculous and unoriginal. This combined with the rehashing of the same themes does make this movie a cohesive addition to the franchise. But ultimately, it just feels lazy.  :/

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a lot more of the same stuff you’ve seen in 1 and 2 but with a LOT more pandas this time. Luckily the fantastic animation does enough heavy lifting to keep it from feeling completely stale. This movie is definitely aimed at younger audiences but their parents will be sufficiently amused. However, if you don’t have little ones tugging at your hem pleading to see movie, I recommend skipping it.

Kung Fu Panda 3
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