The Kung Fu Panda series is one of the best animated franchises of recent years, and apart from the How to Train Your Dragon films it’s probably the best Dreamworks has to offer. It’s also one of the few times that a sequel to a beloved film has more than lived up to the original. That film also had a little tease at the end, effectively setting up a third instalment. That was almost five years ago now, so it’s safe to say a lot of the excitement for this film has died down, for me at least. Even so, the first two films are good fun, so I expected that this film would be at least that – good fun.
When the evil and ancient Kung Fu master Kai finds his way back to the mortal realm, Po, the Kung Fu Panda himself, must learn not just how to fight old enemies, but discover who he is in order to take on the most powerful threat he’s ever faced.
I’ll start with the worst part – this is the lowest point of the franchise so far. It’s the least memorable, and feels the most like a cash in. The story is very by numbers, with even the conflict being predictable and going exactly where you think it will. It also doesn’t have the same level of action as the first two, and doesn’t manage to go to the same emotional places as the others, despite the fact that it had the most material to work with.
This film isn’t all bad. The voice acting is generally good, with Jack Black being his usual charismatic self, and both Bryan Cranston and J. K. Simmons adding a lot to the film. The visuals are also gorgeous, with there being a nice blend of 3D animation and 2D backgrounds.
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