Kung Fu Panda 3 Opinion: Po's Back in a very entertaining third instalment
Dreamwork's has been locked up in an epic battle against Pixar/Disney for quite a while now. It started way back when Steve Jobs was in charge of things. When Pixar released A Bug's Life, Dreamworks released Ants (Critics obviously bashed it for being a copy of A Bug's Life). After the initial scuffle, however, both these companies have created their own unique franchises with great successes on both sides. Pixar has Toy Story, Cars (which has grossed nearly more than $10 Billion if you count merchandise), Monsters Inc. and a bunch of other iconic films like The Incredibles and so on and so forth. Dreamworks has Shrek, Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda along with other one-off films. All of these franchises have been successful both financially and critically. People flock to the theatres to watch the creations of these studios and love them too. Here we are, with Dreamwork's third instalment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise, and I have to say I came back to loving it again. Kung Fu Panda 2 was not as impressive as I wanted it to be, considering how fun and amazing the original film was, but with Kung Fu Panda 3, Dreamworks has managed to extend the story of Po by adding some entertaining new faces along with the good old Po fun that we came to love in the first film. It is quite an entertaining film.
The previous film saw Po learn the truth about his parents, the destruction of his home by Shen the evil Peacock and saw him become more than just the namesake Dragon Warrior. This film takes us right into Po's world by introducing a new obstacle to him: He must become the teacher now. Obviously, the antics involving him teaching are outright hilarious at first, but it progresses to becoming more reasonably meaningful and deep (I mean as deep as an animated family can go.) This film does something much better than its predecessor, and that is invoking comical value in every aspect of the film. The execution of funny dialogue or hilarious set pieces is quite an improvement over Kung Fu Panda 2 which wanted us to take things quite seriously at its climax. But the Kung Fu Panda series was never about mastering true Kung Fu or inner peace, it was always supposed to be about the development of Po from an average happy go lucky Panda obsessed with Kung Fu like real-world fanboys to an actual defender of the art itself. This film does that and more and it is able to do so without sacrificing any humour.
New faces/voices appear here, and they are all A-Players. Bryan Cranston voices Po's REAL father, Li, and J.K. FREAKIN Simmons voices the primary antagonist of this film, Kai, who was once a brother in arms to Oogway himself hundreds of years ago. Both of these people, who have very distinguishable, unique voices by themselves, do a great job and add to the solid list of voice actors in this film. Jack Black is, as always, on point as the funny, fanboy, loveable Po. Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu reprise their roles and do a great job together. One thing though, Dreamworks, can you please give Jackie Chan some more dialogue in the next instalment? I mean, he's Jackie Chan! Come on!
Overall, this was definitely a return to form for the franchise. Not that Kung Fu Panda was bad in anyway, its just that it felt markedly different from the original Kung Fu Panda, wanting us to take things more seriously than before, and that, in my opinion, wasn't a good route to take tone-wise. But with 3, they have brought back what people loved about the Kung Fu Panda universe: awesomeness, hilarity and really cool fight scenes that mix up comedy and bad-assery.