It’s been so long…
Po (Jack Black) is given a daunting task by his Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), i.e. teaching. After an epic fail first class, Po goes on to realize that he is only on his journey of self discovery. During all this Kai (J.K Simmons) returns from the spirit realm for the sake of stealing all the master’s Chi force. Po is left as the only person standing between Kai and the rest of the Pandas including his biological father Li (Bryan Cranston).
Ever since I watched Kung Fu Panda 2, I have been waiting impatiently for the sequel to witness more of Po’s journey. With the mixture of action, humor and suspense, touching story of Po’s reunion with his father Li is the highlight of Kung Fu Panda 3. But again, the fact that the film had a lot of similarities with it’s predecessors is what bugged me as a viewer. Kung Fu Panda has the best story line compared to the two successors in terms of depth and suspense but Kung Fu Panda 3 lacked the soul that is seen in the first two films. Some of the comic sequences towards the beginning were cheesy and over the top, for eg: the scene inside the Jade palace were Po and Li have ‘fun’ with the late Kung Fu master’s weapons. Amidst all this, it took an extra 45 minutes for the pace to be engaging enough. I expected Po’s reunion scene with his father to be, in Shifu’s words, a dramatic entrance. The comic timings ruined that sequence in a way.
Also, inspite of witnessing the perfect father-son chemistry in Kung Fu Panda 2, in this film we will stop caring about Po’s connection with Mr Ping, until halfway through this film. But, it was nice to see more from Mr Ping, who is my personal favorite character from the supporting cast.
But the last 50 minutes were entertaining enough to make up for the first half. We get to see Po in action and Tigress’s presence makes it even livelier even though her role is literally less compared to the previous films. Along with the plot similarities, I was also disapoointed that Po’s chemistry with Tigress was not developed as it was interesting to watch them in Kung Fu Panda 2 and we hardly see the furious five in action but their absence is well made up by Kai, who is definitely the best villain in this series. J.K Simmons did a fantastic job with his voice modulation and we could feel Kai’s fury in his voice. Bryan Cranston is another attraction, he had the “Mufasa effect” although he wasn’t as impressive or memorable as Mufasa. Li is a strong presence amidst the ensemble, Bryan Cranston did a passionate vocal performance. The action sequences improved since the first film and the combination of soundtrack and sound effects made the final showdown worth watching, and again the comic timings should have been less as Po’s “Chitchat” line is more than enough. However, there are many positive aspects that covered some plot holes in it’s predecessors; we get to see more of “Wuxi fingerhold” and how it works. The fact that Po got his perfect hold as the dragon warrior is another pinnacle. Kung Fu Panda 3 is an entertaining film which could have been way better if one does not compare it with it’s predecessors.
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