I love the Kung Fu Panda movies because they combine life lessons with light hearted fun. The character of Po is easily relatable because he was the underdog who rose above his circumstances and conquered. In the first film, he learns that being unique is a good thing. In the second film, he learns to let go of the past. So where is he now on his personal journey? Now, Shifu believes that he has achieved the title of Master, and he has the ability to teach Kung Fu.
But PO still remains out of balance, and unsure of why he would be chosen. He is in for a shock when his real father, a panda arrives and invites him to discover what it is to be a panda. But a new enemy arrives with him, Kai- a cruel Villian who takes the life force of Kung Fu masters for his own personal gain. Po faces a serious challenge when he discovers that the previous methods he used on his enemies do not work on Kai, and he may need more help.
The story of the film was very interesting. Po begins to judge himself in a way he never has before, just because he is a panda. This judgement gets in the way of his teaching, as he tries to be just like Shifu. But one of the most important lessons that Po learns is that he is not Shifu, and only he can define who he is. In order to teach others, you must inspire them to be who they are.
Po finally answers his question in an epic way, and he gains balance within himself.
The overall lesson of this film is inspirational, and I think it is an important occurance in anyone's life at any age. We tend to define ourselves by the way people see us, or how we believe they see us, but the reality of who we are is more complex than just one definition.
Spoiler Alert: When Kai asks Po who he is, this is his response:
It's a very powerful statement that we can be more than one perception because who we are is bigger than a simple idea or a specific label. Change is a constant in life, and our way of adapting to change will effect the elements of ourselves. We are combinations of the past, present and who we wish to be in the future.
I give Kung Fu Panda a solid five out five bowls of noodles.
A great lesson, and an inspirational story.