Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni
Po (Jack Black)
Li (Bryan Cranston)
Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman)
Mr Ping (James Hong)
Tigress (Angelina Jolie)
Monkey (Jackie Chan)
Mantis (Seth Rogen)
Viper (Lucy Liu)
Crane (David Cross)
Kai (JK Simmons)
After the masterpiece that was Kung Fu Panda 2, surely the third installment couldn’t be as great as its predecessor. That statement is correct.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is nowhere close to a bad movie. It’s a really good movie, with some flaws. In reviewing this, I’ll first go over the cast, and then talk about the movie as it should be – split up into three acts.
The voice cast of the Kung Fu Panda movies is just astounding. Jackie Chan voices a secondary character! Jack Black is once again great as Po, and Bryan Cranston, surprisingly, made for a fun father to Po in Li. The Furious Five and Master Shifu are more insignificant than ever in this movie, but that isn’t a problem. We don’t need the same thing over and over again.
Who I really want to talk about though, is Kai, the antagonist, who I simply loved. He’s menacing, power-hungry, but at the same time, he has a deep, explored and layered character, who isn’t just a bad guy for the sake of being bad. I didn’t even recognise JK Simmons’ voice (who I recognised immediately in Zootopia) until I saw his name in the credits, but he really did do a great job. And he also has a theme song, and I love when villains have their own theme. I knew the one that he had right away: I’m So Sorry by Imagine Dragons (listen to it, it’s a great song).
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the story and delivery of the film.
The first act wasn’t that good. It was really more of the same, and at points, it bored me. At one time I actually really wanted the movie to end (although that may have been because my seat was broken and it was the most uncomfortable experience). However, the second act completely turns things around, and the movie became something spectacular. Things happened in the second act that I really didn’t expect, and it made the movie so much better. It was around halfway through the movie when I was completely hooked on.
The third act is good. Not as good as the second act, but still not as bad as the first. I feel like there was more potential with what the movie was setting up, but it was still alright.
Another problem I have, though, throughout the whole movie, is the number of montages. There are just way too many! The movie moved from deep emotion, to montage, to story, to montage, to montage, to montage and on and on. There should have been more weight to the movie, more drama, not just flashy scenes where many things happen.
However, it should be noted that the Kung Fu Panda movies are probably some of the best looking films of all time. The focus on exposure of colour really sells the animation in the franchise, and this movie is no different. It’s a beautiful spectacle to behold, in all honesty.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Kung Fu Panda 3: MIHIR