The first little section of the latest film is certainly a bit cheesy and some of the dialogue is poor, but it quickly finds its stride. The latest story in the trilogy is all about finding Po’s Chi (or the power within). Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) believes that Po (Jack Black) needs to take the first steps to finding this by learning how to teach. Sadly, Po is a terrible teacher and begins to lose faith in himself.
Then the movie throws us a curveball. Po lost his family long ago, but we were shown a village of pandas in the mountains as the final shot of the previous film. It turns out that panda in the mountains was Po’s dad (Bryan Cranston) and he was sent a spiritual message that lead him to find his lost son. Which leads to some funny competitiveness between Po’s adopted duck father and this new blood one.
Being a ‘Kung Fu Panda’ movie, there has to be a villain and this time around its Kai (J.K. Simmons), the ancient warrior or some such nonsense. He is a decent bad guy, but has nothing on the villain in the second film. Still, his presence leads Po to figure out some stuff about himself that is particularly satisfying and the mystical bonds of family come together beautifully over the latter half of the movie.
So, while I wouldn’t call it a triumph, this is a fitting close to a pretty good trilogy. There is nothing new or unique here, but what we get is well done.
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