This past Monday, I saw Kung Fu Panda 3 with two of my friends. Before I get to the review, let me explain what I thought of the other two films. I saw the first Kung Fu Panda in 8th grade at the movies. I had a lot of fun watching it, the animation was great, especially the fighting scenes. The soundtrack was beautiful, I always love the Oogway Ascends track, there's not only a sad tone, but it's also very peaceful. The villain, Tai Lung (voiced by Ian McShane), was interesting, because he didn't feel like a traditional, Disney-type villain. I think it was his backstory that gave him a lot of empathy from the viewer.
The second movie, unfortunately, I didn't get to see in the theaters. I watched it, on DVD at a friend's house, in my freshman year of college. Usually, sequels to movies tend to rehash the plot of the first film, but this one definitely surprised me. It was so much BETTER than the first one. When I saw that the villain was a peacock (voiced by Gary Oldman), my first thought was, 'How can you make a peacock terrifying?' Boy, was I wrong. The peacock WAS terrifying, I think it was the combination of Oldman's voice acting, the design, and animation for the character that really helped. I really liked how Tigress was given, in some ways, a bit of a redeeming quality; since she was very cold toward Po in the first movie. I also liked their interactions with each other (I might write another post on this couple in the near future).
Now, onto the third movie. Like the second film, it's a continuation of Po's story. This time, he meets his birth father, Li Shan (voiced by Bryan Cranston). Li convinces Po, to come with him, to a secret village with pandas hidden high in the mountains. Po agrees to go with him, and there, Po finally realizes he's not the last panda. A ribbon-dancing, female panda named, Mei Mei (voiced by Kate Hudson) takes a liking toward Po; but he's visibly uncomfortable with her flirting. However, danger is afoot, when the villain, Kai (voiced by J. K. Simmons) returns from the spirit realm, to collect the chi from all of the Kung Fu masters. Tigress runs to the panda village to warn Po about Kai. She tells him that he needs to teach the other pandas to fight.
This film was so much better than the other two. The animation was gorgeous, DreamWorks really updated on the use of colors and textures. I think my favorite piece of animation, was a sparring session between Po and Tigress. The colors reminded me of the old Marvel comics illustrated by Jack Kirby. The soundtrack was amazing, there's a hint of an Imagine Dragons song for Kai's theme, and famous Chinese pianist, Lang Lang, contributes to the score as well. The voice acting was great, especially during both the comedic moments, and dramatic moments. The moral of this movie, is being yourself, and not apologizing for it. This movie is definitely worth seeing in theaters. I give this film a 4 star rating.