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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) - Panda-monium Returns!

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 Stars)

Released 01-29-2016

Watched 02-25-2024

Reviewed 03-03-2024

Rented on iTunes

"Justice is about to be served!"

"Kung Fu Panda 3," the 2016 addition to the beloved animated franchise, lands with a 3.5-star rating, nestling comfortably between its predecessors in terms of quality and entertainment value. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni and buoyed by a stellar voice cast including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Bryan Cranston, this installment expands the universe with vibrant visuals and introduces an engaging new chapter in Po's journey.

The narrative continues to blend humor, heart, and martial arts action as Po reunites with his biological father and discovers a hidden Panda Village, only to face a new supernatural threat in the form of Kai, a formidable spirit warrior. The film's exploration of themes like identity, family, and the importance of self-belief resonate well, further enriched by the introduction of new characters that bring their own charm and challenges.

However, while "Kung Fu Panda 3" shines with its bright animation and the expansion of its mystical world, it doesn't quite recapture the original's fresh allure or the emotional depth of the second installment. The storyline, although entertaining, feels somewhat predictable and lacks the innovative spark that could have elevated it beyond its predecessors.

The humor and action sequences remain top-notch, with Jack Black's Po continuing to be the lovable, clumsy hero we've grown to adore. The addition of Bryan Cranston as Po's long-lost father adds a meaningful layer to Po's character development, although the subplot involving the Panda Village veers towards the conventional, missing an opportunity to delve deeper into the rich lore of the series.

In conclusion, "Kung Fu Panda 3" is a visually stunning and enjoyable follow-up that successfully continues the saga of Po and his adventures. It stands as a solid entry in the franchise that will delight fans and younger audiences alike, even if it doesn't quite reach the high bar set by its predecessors. The film's blend of comedy, action, and heartwarming moments make it a worthwhile watch, deserving of its 3.5-star rating, even as we yearn for the originality and charm that first made us fall in love with the world of Kung Fu Panda.

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