You must be the Dragon Warrior.
How about you spare me your chit chat?
I’m gonna take your –
In the –
In the –
I haven’t seen the first two in this series, but the positive response from both critics and audiences kind of intrigued me, given that this was the third film in an animated franchise, so I went and saw this. Glad I did; I really enjoyed it. It’s got a great voice cast and a pitch perfect sense of comic timing. One thing that I haven’t heard anyone really talk about though is how incredibly visually beautiful this film is. There’s a sequence in the afterlife/other realm/whatever early in the film that features a battle between two masters and it’s nothing short of stunning, both in imagination and execution. And there’s a flashback later that is read from an ancient scroll and the flashback has a brush-stroke, calligraphy look to it that’s quite beautiful. The film knows how to really balance the tone. The villain here is genuinely pretty scary, but the film knows how to be hilarious too. There’s a scene of Po, newly reunited with his long-lost father, taking a tour of the master’s hall of fame that’s nothing short of side-splitting; I was literally holding my stomach and gasping for breath all through that. And the action is often quite good as well. I love the first fight scene between Po’s group and the villain’s jade warriors. The film isn’t perfect. It falters when it follows Po and his father to the secret panda village high in the mountains. The film introduces a lot of characters and then does nothing with them, until the climax when it turns out that suddenly they all have special gifts that will be useful in combat. Like . . . ribbon dancing and rolling on the ground. Yeah. Like that. But the film has a wry sense of humor and it manages to undercut the moments when it could get too cheesy with deflating jokes. The movie will hit a real heroic moment with slowly rising trumpets and such and then suddenly a pan hits somebody in the face or something. I really dug that. It really does get to kind of have it both ways. Anyway, I really enjoyed this film a lot; it isn’t trying to change the world, but it’s a consistently entertaining, often hilarious, beautifully visualized film. When did that stop being enough? 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – beautiful animation and a wry sense of humor keep this movie from ever getting too cheesy; great action sequences too, though the climax flirts with triteness a bit. 3 ½ stars.