Kung Fu Panda 3 Review: Stylish Repetition

Photo Credit:http://collider.com/kung-fu-panda-3-images/

Of all the animated franchises in play right now, Kung Fu Panda has had a reliable high quality to it that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. Sure, the sequels really don’t try to be anything better than good, but they are perfectly serviceable.

Kung Fu Panda 3 has the series treading into some familiar territory with Po (Jack Black). With Kai (J.K. Simmons), a general turned spirit warrior stealing the chi of famous kung fu masters, on the loose, Po has to master his own chi. How does one go about that? Looking inward. Po is, once again, doubting himself and has to learn to believe in his power to defeat an evil. It’s repetitive to be sure, but added to the mix are Po’s father (Bryan Cranston) and a whole tribe of pandas to mix things up.

But the much larger success story of this sequel is the unbelievably gorgeous animation. The series’ eastern influences are artfully put on display with vibrant colors and fluid motion. The occasional flashback beautifully reverts back to 2D animation to recall the simpler history of Asian animation. Not to mention, the martial arts scenes featuring endlessly creative ways to give animals kung fu are absolutely stunning. At least when the movie is derivative, it looks great while being so.

So for this third outing, Kung Fu Panda does little to change its formula. That’s fine considering the things that make the series entertaining are still in play. If there’s a fourth movie, which is a safe bet, one would hope they go for a few more risks. For now though, harmless sequels are fine. Especially in an era after the king of eastern/western hybrids, Avatar: The Last Airbender and it’s sequel series The Legend of KorraGrade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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