The Kung Fu Panda films centre around Po, an obese, unfit panda who is idolises kung fu and those who have mastered it. He is launched into the higher echelons of kung fu and is put through trials that unlock his potential. In the second film, he has to come to terms with his past: events that are further coming to light in this, the third instalment in the series.
After mastering kung fu and coming to terms with his turbulent past, Po’s world is shook up once more as his father arrives in the Valley of Peace. He convinces Po to travel to the panda village, where the remains of his people have been living in secret after they were decimated by Shen. Whilst Po is confronting his past, a new villain called Kai comes to the Valley of Peace. He cuts and imposing figure, with a pair of mystical blades and what appears to be an army of jade grotesques at his command. Though I do hope they won’t wait until halfway through the film before introducing him. The trailer indicates there is a connection between him and Master Ugway, who was Master Shifu’s instructor and was, ahem, displaced in the first film. Kai is back for the usual flavour of vengeance and destroys the Valley of Peace. He is coming for the panda village and Po has to prepare his people for battle, taking on the daunting responsibility of teacher.
The same cast are all appearing for this instalment which gave such energy to the last two films. Though I swear if Jackie Chan does not get more than a handful of lines, I will make a Kickstarter to create a Kung Fu Monkey movie because that man needs more screentime. The style of humour in the trailer shows they’ve kept the films family-friendly, which may not suit those of a caustic wit. However, it is also a family-friendly film about anthropomorphic animal martial-artists engaging in epic battles. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend my January comedown.