A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate, but it has nice lessons about embracing what makes you special and finding ways to use your talents for the greater good.
Integrity, perseverance, teamwork, and courage are important themes. Inspiring message about identity -- it's about finding your true self, what you're best at, and what you love. "If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now." But fighting does remain the primary means of conflict resolution.
Positive Role Models
Po is brave, enthusiastic, and cooperative; he takes his responsibilities very seriously, works hard, and ultimately embraces what it means to be a friend and teacher. He builds a strong (but also playful) relationship with his biological dad, who's empathetic and welcoming toward Po's kind, caring adopted dad. With wisdom and patience, Shifu encourages and supports Po in his personal growth while helping those in need. Tigress is Po's most capable colleague who guides him out of his fears and insecurities, and demonstrates the importance of teamwork in challenging situations.
The film celebrates traditional Chinese culture through its depictions of ancient Chinese architecture, rural life, and philosophies such as the importance of harmony, balance, and community. But these familiar depictions have also become cliched over time, with American films often presenting Chinese culture through this lens. In addition, while the main characters are all Chinese, the filmmakers and voice actors are mostly White, with only Chinese and Chinese American actors Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu voicing supporting roles. Liu's Viper is a kind and resourceful martial-arts master who balances femininity and strength. Tigress remains a fierce female character, and her compassionate side is brought out more in this installment. New supporting female character Mei Mei is a confident, talented gymnast, but she's obsessed with men like Po. All of the pandas embrace their body fat as a strength. Po excitedly compliments another panda, "You're like me, but fatter!" They also all have a positive, healthy relationship with food, eating as a means of bringing the community together. Po, his biological father and his adoptive father all love and support each other in their blended family.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of martial arts fighting, both in groups and one on one. Villain Kai, an angry supernatural bull monster, is intense and scary, as are his jade warriors. Sad flashbacks to Po's separation from his mother when he was a cub. Key characters are captured/in danger. Po makes a big sacrifice in order to defeat Kai and is eventually brought back from a scary realm by his loved ones. Additional creative fighting via the use of Chinese food -- spring rolls, dumplings, etc. -- as well as nunchakus and other means of attack. Perilous trek to panda village. Slapstick falls/crashes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mei Mei is very flirtatious with Po and others, though nothing comes of it.
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Infrequent use of words including "stupid," "butt," "loser," "idiot," and "shut it." Some bathroom humor.
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Products & Purchases
Nothing in the film, but Kung Fu Panda spin-offs, video games, sequels, and tie-in merchandise all exist.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third movie in the hit series about unlikely martial arts hero Po (voiced by Jack Black) and his friends, the Furious Five. This time around, they face Kai (J.K. Simmons), a scary supernatural bull monster that menaces all of China. Po and the others must fend him off in a series of frequently intense, if often slapstick, battles; some could also be upset by flashback scenes of parent-child separation, conflict between characters, and moments when it seems like key characters are captured, in danger, and/or possibly gone for good. Expect a little insult language ("stupid," "loser" etc.) and potty humor. Some viewers may find the film's depictions of traditional Chinese values and imagery cliched, especially when most of its voice actors are White (though the film does have an Asian American co-director, Korean-born American Jennifer Yuh Nelson). But families may enjoy the depiction of a blended family -- Po, his biological father, and his adoptive father all get along. It also has fat-positive characters who lift each other up. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The animation is gorgeous and vividly hued -- the panda village looks like a Chinese version of the Hobbit village crossed with Shangri La -- and the humor is light, if sometimes a bit corny. And the characters in Kung Fu Panda 3 are likable enough in this generally engaging, family-friendly tale. Po must re-learn what it means to be a panda (sleep in, eat a lot, chill out) and also teach the bucolic village of laid-back, clumsy, and peacefully loving pandas kung fu. To accomplish this, he creates dumpling and noodle "squadrons," which is a cute concept. And the idea that there's always something more to learn (not to mention the value of embracing what makes you you) is definitely a worthy message.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.