Kung Fu Panda 3

Movie review by
Claudia Puig, Common Sense Media
Kung Fu Panda 3 Movie Poster Image
Upbeat but intense threequel looks at identity, family ties.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 95 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 21 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

Integrity, perseverance, and teamwork are important themes. Strong message about identity -- finding your true self, what you're best at, and what you love. Po is told by Shifu: "If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now." And you should be and embrace who you are, not who someone else is. Also, family is more than biology; it's accepted that Po has two dads. While violence remains the main means of conflict resolution, the pandas fight the bad guy with a coordinated effort that involves lobbing food (and themselves!) more than weaponry.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Po is always enthusiastic and positive; he takes his responsibilities very seriously, works hard, and ultimately embraces what it means to be a friend and teacher. Po and his biological dad build a strong (but also playful) relationship, while Po's adopted dad is included, not excluded or thrust aside. Tigress remains a strong female character, and her gentler side is brought out more in this installment. The only iffy character (besides the villain, of course), is Mei Mei, who makes romantic overtures toward Po in a way that shows her in a foolish, love-crazed light, with no other personality trait. Some of the other pandas are a bit single-note as well, but in a lighthearted way.

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 that could upset some kids. Additional creative fighting via the use of Chinese food -- spring rolls, dumplings, etc. -- as well as nun-chucks and other means of attack. Perilous trek to panda village. Slapstick falls/crashes.

Sexy Stuff

Mei-Mei is very flirtatious with Po and others, though nothing comes of it.

Language

Infrequent use of words including "stupid," "butt," "loser," "idiot," and "shut it." Some bathroom humor.

Consumerism

No product placement within the film, but plenty of offline merchandise tie-ins, including toys, games, books, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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, a scary supernatural bull monster that menaces all of China. Po and the others must fend him off in a series of frequently intense battles that may scare kids; 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, but aside from the violence, there's not much to worry about in this effective, entertaining story about family ties (Po meets his long-lost biological father) and establishing your identity. Blended families may particularly like the way that Po's two-dad situation is handled.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCrunchymom311 February 2, 2016

Very dark and violent

We didn't make it to the end of this movie. The villan is *very* dark and evil- you get to watch several beloved cast members get killed (or appear to be d... Continue reading
Adult Written byMeerkat.dog.yo January 29, 2016

Cute, but sometimes dull movie is actually funny.

This movie is not my favorite, but it's not bad. There is lots of violence, but it's not bloody or gory. There are some scary villains, (like crazy ta... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byRoanstone February 4, 2016

Entertaining and well-done

This addition to the Kung Fu Panda movies is a great one to watch- it's filled with entertainment, funny moments, and teaches kids to wish to discover thei... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 13, 2016

UGH

This franchise was good but this boring and VERY slow movie killed it.

What's the story?

In KUNG FU PANDA 3, Po (voiced by Jack Black), now beloved by all as the Dragon Warrior, meets his long-lost father, Li (Bryan Cranston), and a community of pandas -- after thinking he was the only one of his kind. Together, they and the Furious Five must face a supernatural threat in the form of Kai (J.K. Simmons), a bull-like creature who calls himself  "the master of pain, the beast of vengeance" and is bent on robbing China of all its chi. The only way to stop Kai and his legion of jade warriors is for Po to become a master of chi himself ... but first he must reconnect with his inner panda.

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 likeable 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to "find your true self." Why is it important to find your own identity and talents, rather than try to be like others? What does it mean in Kung Fu Panda 3 when Shifu says to Po, "If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now"?

  • What makes a family? How does Kung Fu Panda 3 address the idea of biological and adopted families? Is there one right way to blend families together?

  • What role does violence play in the story? Did the characters have any other options? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is Kai purely bad, or is there any part of him that's sympathetic? Is it important to be able to empathize with villains?

  • How have the main characters changed over the course of the three movies? How have they stayed the same? How do they demonstrate integrity, perseverance, and teamwork? What makes Po so appealing? 

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love action and animation

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate