“We’re pandas. We don’t do stairs.” –Li, Po’s father, summoning an elevator
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear those words.” –Po
Me, too, Po, me, too. I’m also borrowing “panda asthma” as an excuse every time I have to catch my breath at the top of a flight of stairs.
Kung Fu Panda 3 continues the story of Po, the kung fu fanboy turned Dragon Warrior. Po is comfortable in his role as the village hero and fighting bad guys with his friends, the Furious Five, but Master Shifu feels that it is time for him to move to the next level and become a teacher himself. In order to do that, Po must learn the ways of the Force …er…master chi, the life force that flows through everything.
Complicating things is the return of two people long thought dead–Li, Po’s biological father, and Kai, a warlord returned from the Spirit Realm, bent on re-creating his former glory. We also learn a surprising amount about Master Oogway’s backstory including what set him on a path from warrior to monk.
The secondary plot concerns the competition between Po’s two dads–his panda father, Li, and his goose father, Ping–for Po’s affections. Ping, his adoptive father, is understandably worried when Li takes Po back to a hidden panda village (Pangri-La, perhaps?) to rediscover his pandahood.
The animation throughout the film is utterly exquisite. The movie is worth seeing just for the quality of the artwork alone. As a film, Kung Fu Panda 3 is closer in tone to the first movie of the series.