"Kung Fu Panda" came as something of a surprise: a kids' movie parodying martial arts movies. But the people who created it did a brilliant job of the parody (to entertain the parents - and fans of martial arts movies like myself), but also made something fast-paced, silly, and funny that really appealed to kids. The sequel was another surprise: they had more than enough new ideas to turn out another entire movie of the same quality as the first. But ... they couldn't do that a third time, could they?
I watched this on a transatlantic flight, so I have to admit my judgement may have been somewhat impaired by the conditions, possible editing of the film, and lack of sleep. Nevertheless, I'm with the critics here: they did it again. The dinky little screen I watched this on showed off the brilliant full-screen graphic design that's been a trademark of the entire series, and the thing stays funny from end to end. They've just about run out of martial arts clichés and tropes to parody, but this doesn't seem to have impaired the steady flow of jokes in the slightest. This time, evil martial artist Kai (Simmons) who used to be Master Oogway's brother-in-arms) returns from the spirit realm to drain the chi from all the great martial artists in the world (essentially zombifying them). At the same time, Po is once again wrestling with his identity as he's taken to the hidden village of the Pandas where his father lives. Not that the plot matters so long as the jokes keep rolling: and they do.