The third installment has candy-colored visuals and action worthy of a 3D viewing. The battles in the spirit world are inspired. The movie also benefits from the landscape and art inherent to its setting.
However, as pleasant and calming as it looks, Kung Fu Panda 3 is just as much of a retread as Kung Fu Panda 2.
Stretching its be-yourself-ism, the narrative now focuses on Po’s last stage as a Wuxian legend – become a master by teaching others. While that’s a plausible enough reason for a third reboot, the movie opts to follow the same formula from the original.
Po is still on the road to self-discovery even though he’s already the famed dragon warrior. Once again, there’s a new big bad wreaking havoc in China and the
fat Kung Fu Panda needs to get over his recurring low self-esteem and save the day.
While it’s nice to see Po’s origins, the famed five gets set aside for a group of roly-poly pandas that are only distinguishable from each other through stereotypical quirks. They take over the screen and leave little room for the more interesting original cast. The only thing that’s funny here is the anonymity of a supposedly famous villain.
J.K. Simmons is perfect for the role of Kai. Unfortunately for him and Bryan Cranston, they don’t have much to do here than be stock characters like the rest of the pandas. Kung Fu Panda adds more characters with every reiteration in an attempt to mask its flaws.
In the end, Kung Fu Panda 3 delivers the same old lesson. The franchise operates with the if-it ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mantra and in fairness, successfully manages to do so.
If you’re looking for the same package then the movie is enough for an hour and a half distraction for the family. For everybody else, it’s clear that the franchise has run out of ideas.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Save for its candy-colored visuals and engaging fighting scenes, Kung Fu Panda 3 is another retread of the original, just with more pandas.