Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 (no spoilers)

Progressive/nerd/parent review

He peed a little. I cried a little. It was a good time.

Kung Fu Panda 3

[Note: There is nothing in here that can reasonably be considered a spoiler.]

Bechdel-Wallace Score: 2/3 – There are two or more named female characters and they do talk to each other, or at least interact with each other, but given how marginalized women and girls are in the film there is no way I would score it higher than 2 (and even that feels a bit hollow).

Shukla Score: 1/3 – More than one named character is voiced by a non-white actor, but I don’t remember any two of them ever having a scene alone together. Even if they did, with a predominately white set of voice actors for a movie set in China, 1 point is as high as I would score the thing anyway.

Russo Score: 0/3 – There is no LGBT representation in this film (there is only one or two times when any sexuality at all is alluded to).

Kittens: 😹😹😹😹/5  – Despite being heteronormative, racist, and not at all feminist, the movie was good fun. I am biased here of course because Kung Fu Panda 3 is mostly a story about fathers and sons, which is kinda the main thing in my life right now. I awarded it four out of five kittehs and made them laughing/crying because this movie gave me good laughs and some feels.

Low points: If you, like me, were taken aback by some of the harsh violence in Kung Fu Panda 2 (especially during the flashbacks), you will be glad to know that there is none of that in Kung Fu Panda 3. Most of the movie’s flaws are already listed above, so I don’t have much to add here. Surely I can complain about something? This is the internet after all… …oh yeah, the modified lyrics to the Carl Douglas classic “Kung Fu Fighting” were risible, if entirely expected. That’s all I got.

Highlights: Hollywood continues its recent habit of delivering philosophically enriching stories for kids. The hero’s journey in Kung Fu Panda 3 centers around honing your chi (life force) by being the most of who you are (and not trying to be something or someone else). The journey from being a student, to a teacher, and back to a student again is touched on at various points. And Po’s relationships with his dads – and the relationship that develops between his dads – were just really, really sweet. Dads that don’t like to horse around with their kids, I could tell you to avoid this movie since it will make you look bad, but instead I think you should see this movie and let it inspire you to pick up the Nerf sword and get in the game. 😉

Dad edits: As mentioned above, this movie avoids the canons, death, and mass pandacide that made Kung Fu Panda 2 a bit dicey to watch with my young kiddo. The violence in this third installment is cartoonish and cosmic, never harsh. There really isn’t anything objectionable or abrasive. So go relax, watch, and enjoy!

Warning: Unless you see the movie on a full stomach, you will probably be very hungry for dumplings afterwards.

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