Long ago, a peacock named Lord Shen sought to harness the power of fireworks for a more practical use in weaponry, a cannon. His worried parents, the rulers of Gongmen City, consulted a soothsayer, who foretold that Shen would be defeated by "a warrior of black and white". To prevent this, Shen destroyed an entire nearby panda village, and returned home expecting appreciation, but his parents were struck with horror and exiled him. Shen, however, swore revenge and vowed to return to the city to complete his invention and see that the prophecy would not be fulfilled.In the present day, Po, now a very skilled Dragon Warrior and the sixth member of the Furious Five, is trying to learn "inner peace" from Master Shifu. They're interrupted when a gang of wolves attack a village in search of metal to help in making Lord Shen's cannon, which, if successful, will make kung fu obsolete. Po and the Furious Five set out for Gongmen City to stop his plans. Along the way, Po learns about how he was adopted, and why.The 2011 Sequel to Dream Works Animation's Kung Fu Panda, this film opened only second in line, under The Hangover Part II, at the box office on its opening weekend. The earnings in the U.S. declined in the following weeks, but the international earnings went through the roof, especially in Asian territories, and set a new record in China, and eventually made more than 3 times as much money overseas ($500.4 million) as it did domestically ($165.2 million). As a result, this film is the #1 animated feature film of 2011 worldwide, outgrossingPixar's critically lambasted Cars 2. Furthermore, it's also the biggest box office earner for a film directed by a woman, in this case, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed the traditionally animated opening of KFP 1.For character tropes, see the Character Page.
Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Two major examples: the nighttime boat scene that shows how close as friends Po and Tigress have become, and Po and the Soothsayer in Po's home village where he remembers his horrific past and comes to terms with it.
Master Thundering Rhino is shown in the website and press release. In the actual movie, he barely gets two minutes of screentimebefore Shen kills him. Masters Storming Ox and Croc have somewhat larger roles, but not by much.
The members of the Furious Five (save Tigress, and perhaps Mantis) still barely get any lines, as in the previous movie.
Alas, Poor Villain: Lord Shen. After a very miserable and empty life, he finally faces the warrior destined to defeat him whose entire species he tried to destroy...and the warrior has found inner peace, and doesn't want revenge. He cannot grasp how that is, how he could be free of all that pain, and tries one last time to kill him... only to accidentally kill himself. But he accepts it gracefully, because death is the only peace he could find.
All There in the Manual: The movie's official website offers far more detailed information about all the new characters, especially Lord Shen. Lord Shen's motivations are much simpler in the movie proper, and his obsession with weapons stems from a standard villainous unquenchable lust for power that forced his parents to exile him for the atrocities he committed. This leaves out the fact that his parents were ashamed of his albinism and poor health, and abandoned him to the care of his soothsayer nanny. The context puts a very different spin on some of the exchanges between Shen and Po: the movie only shows Shen's parents looking understandably horrified at the destruction of the Panda village, and Shen only references being wronged by the exile. You can see traces of this when he wasn't cruel to the soothsayer, who he simply set free before starting his armada.
Analogy Backfire: Played with. When Po claims that "scars heal", Shen attempts to call him on this. Po's response, "Oh yeah… what do scars do? They fade I guess." is, if anything, more accurate to the situation.
Arc Symbol: The red-eye-with-rays symbol for Po, and the Yin-Yang symbol for Shen. Po grows, and the eye symbol stops holding any fear for him. Shen doesn't, and Po eventually takes on the yin-yang symbol as he wipes out Shen's gunships with their own cannonballs.
Arrow Catch: Tigress dodges a bunch of arrows and catches the last one an inch from her cheek. Bonus points for the arrows being on fire. More bonus points for the fact that she wasn't even looking at it and didn't seem all that concerned by it, as she does it completely offhandedly.
Artistic License - Biology: In the second movie both of Shen's parents are referenced as peacocks. Peacocks are called peacocks because they are male. A female peafowl would be a peahen. (Unless...).
Art Shift: The movie is primarily filmed in CG, but the opening prologue was shot in a style resembling metal shadow puppets, and Po's dreams and memories are animated traditionally (though the memories become 3D CGI once Po fully recalls them)
Ascended Fanboy: Even though Po is now The Dragon Warrior, he still gushes like a kid about everything related to kung fu, even while being captured.
Po: No way! Eight-point acupressure cuffs? Just like the ones that held Tai Lung! The more you move, the tighter they get... YAAH! (gets yanked to the ground) These are the best cuffs!
Po still keeps his Furious Five action figures, too, even though he doesn't acknowledge that in front of his team mates.
Po: I dunno what those are, never seem 'em before in my life... Dad, you got scratches on my Tigress!
Ash Face: Happens to Mantis when he tests a small amount of gunpowder.
Monkey:(after dropping a dozen barrels of lit explosives) Here's your New Year's gift! Mantis: Hope you like it, 'cuz you can't return it! Tigress:(hears Po scream and sees him fighting Shen inside) Po!? What's he doing here? Monkey: Return it! Return it! (starts snuffing out the burning barrels)
Also an amusing accidental Call Back to Shen's declaration of the start of the Year of the Peacock.
Awful Truth: Subverted in that Po is determined to find out what happened to his biological parents, and only Big Bad Lord Shen knows (besides the Soothsayer). As such, Po screws up a chance for the Five to destroy the cannon foundry to face the peacock, only to have him claim his parents abandoned him because they didn't love him. Of course, that's a blatant lie.
Battle Discretion Shot: Po and the Five, hidden in a huge dragon costume, pull several wolf Mooks inside and rough them up before kicking them out the back, turning a string of rapid beatdowns into Toilet Humor.
BFG: Lord Shen's big freakin' cannons. Which shoot exploding cannonballs.
Big Damn Heroes: Master Shifu and Masters Croc and Ox near the tail-end of the film. Po pulled it a short bit before to save the Five from Shen.
Po's father in Po's flashback when two wolves were about to attack baby Po.
Big Eater: Subverted. Every time Po's father offers him a hearty meal, he refuses, and is generally shown to be much less of a glutton than in the first movie. Po eats when he's upset. As the Dragon Warrior, he's happier than he's ever been.
Baby!Po, on the other hand, is a straight example, which Mr. Ping points out repeatedly as he fed the cub multiple times in a single day. Then there was the time he ate all the bamboo furniture...
Big "NO!": By Tigress before Po is hit by Shen's cannon-fire.
Blade on a Stick: When not using cannons or flurries of throwing knives, Lord Shen fights using a cross-breed between a Flamberge and a Naginata.
Blatant Lies: Shen's claim to Po that he was abandoned because his parents didn't love him. Presumably because, perceiving his own parents as having hated him, it's the most painful thing he can imagine to inflict on an enemy.
Blind Musician: The rabbit who keeps playing music during the fight scene in the Musician's Village seems to be blind, since he's wearing dark glasses and doesn't react to any of the violence happening around him. Which may be a Shout Out to the wuxia film Hero, which has a similar scene where two martial artists square off with a blind musician providing accompaniment.
Blue and Orange Morality: Mantis' mother ate his dad's head before he was born, but he sees nothing strange in this since this is normal for his species. He even imagined himself dying like this.
Mantis: I thought I'd meet a nice girl, settle down, and then she'd eat my head.
Bonus points for him remarking how sad it is that he didn't get his head eaten.
Which is very skilled Getting Crap Past the Radar. Female praying mantises devour their mates after sex, so Mantis is lamenting the fact that he's going to die a virgin.
Break Them By Talking: When Po confronts Shen in the foundry, the peacock manages to gain the upper hand by claiming that Po's parents didn't love him and abandoned him.
Brick Joke: In the first film, Ping told Po that when he was young, he thought going into the tofu business was crazy. The second film begins with Ping having expanded his noodle business by adding tofu to the menu!
Another example: When entering the prison, Monkey promises to warn the Furious Five with a "Caw-CAW!" to which it is pointed out how much it sounds like Crane, who protests by saying he never says that. At the finale of the film, Crane uses his "Wings of Justice! Caw-CAW!"
Po notes in the first film that Mantis is about the same size as his action figure. This film, he swaps out Mantis for his Mantis action figure to fool Shen's men.
Call Back: A kid playing with a Po figurine in the opening scenes says "Enough talk. Let's fight!", which is Po's first line in his fantasy of the first film.
There's also several in the opening fight in with the wolves. Many shots and elements of the whole scene match up with the 2D opening dream sequence of the first movie, including Po's "Feet of Fury" technique.
The Soothsayer uses acupuncture needles to cure Po and mess with his facial expressions in the same way Mantis (unintentionally) does in the first film. It's the only way she can get him to take his medicine.
Shen tried to change his fate by destroying the pandas, which only sealed it. It reminds one of Oogway's words in the first movie: "One often meets his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it."
Also Mantis being as big as his action figure, which becomes a Chekhov's Gun.
Calling Your Attacks: Po does this several times, as well as some of the Furious Five like Crane. "Wings of Justice!" and "Feet of Fury!" come to mind. Though quite a few times it's relaying instructions to the rest of the Furious Five for a double team attack with him (such as a "Double Death Strike" with Tigress), so it's justified.
The Cameo: Tai Lung, the villain of the first film, appears for a split-second during the flashback of Po's life up to the events of this film.
Tigress has a rather funny reaction to Po's realization of him being adopted, as if she can't believe he didn't realize, but out of respect she simply expresses her sympathy.
Cardboard Prison: Po and the Five have no problem busting into the jail where Masters Storming Ox and Croc are being kept. In fact, they actually have more trouble convincing Ox and Croc to escape.
Catch and Return: Shifu practices catching rain drops and placing them on blades of grass without breaking them. Po uses this to defeat Lord Shen's cannon ships, by redirecting their cannon fire back to the source.
Cats Are Mean: Gone now for Tigress, who has become Po's best friend of the Five. Although the one scene where she's ordering Po to stay in the dungeon was pretty scary (even more so that Viper told Po to "stay down" after he was knocked around for a bit), she wasn't doing it to be mean; she clearly stated at the end that she was fearing for his safety.
The included bonus DVD, Secrets of the Masters, has the Wu sisters, a trio of cats who play this trope very straight. As in, "Live in a volcano fortress, openly proclaim their evilness, and try to take over all of China's crime gangs."
Clip Show: This is used brilliantly to show Po's Progression from a gibbering fanboy from the last movie to the kung-fu master he is now. The clip show lasts just under 10 seconds, with a very dramatic musical score to it, and total silence from the clips themselves. It also symbolizes how he has come to terms with his tragic childhood and found inner peace, along with it ending with a shot of his father, whom he truly realizes is, after all, as real of a father as anyone could have.
Chekhov's Gun: Po's wooden action figures of the Furious Five, particularly Mantis's. This goes all the way back to the first movie, where Po comments that Mantis is about the same size as his action figure. In this movie, he swaps Mantis for his figure while they're all being locked in chains so he can help save them later.
One that goes back to the first movie - Po's recurring use of a wok as a hat, leading to the Disc of Destruction scene.
Chekhov's Skill: Master Shifu's water-catching technique in the beginning of the movie; during the climax, Po uses it to catch cannonballs.
And a "throwaway" gag about Crane turns out to be one as well.
Monkey: At the first sign of trouble, I'll give a signal: "Ca-caw, ca-kee!" Po: You mean like Crane does? Monkey: Yeah. Crane: 'Scuse me, when have I ever made that noise?
As in the first film, gold is used to symbolize heroism, while red is used to symbolize power and/or violence (a rather ironic twist, as red is associated with love and positive emotions in China while gold is traditionally more associated with power). This is especially apparent in Po's last confrontation with Shen, with Po standing in golden sunlight and Shen standing in the red glow of a cannon. A golden aura can also be seen around Po's mother when she makes her Heroic Sacrifice for him.
Here's an example towards the end that might've gone by too fast for a few people: The cannonballs that Shen fires are red. The cannonballs that Po catches turn gold.
Fire Is Red: As a consequence of this color motif, most fires on the film glow with an unusual crimson tone.
Combat Pragmatist: In a world where strength is determined by kung fu prowess, Shen has no problem with using cannons and hidden weapons.
Combination Attack: While Po is not a slouch in the kung-fu asskicking department in this movie, all his best moves are performed in tandem with the rest of the Furious Five. Most of them are some variety of tossing him in the right direction and watching the fireworks.
Continuity Nod: Among other things, when Po and his friends are manacled by Shen's minions, the panda mentions that similar devices were used to imprison Tai Lung.
A subtle one: Oogway, in the first movie, notes how Po eats when he's sad. Here we found out that he was hidden in a crate of radishes as a cub, right before his mother was supposedly killed. By the time the crate got to Mr. Ping, Po had eaten the entire contents of the crate. Which also explains why Po is slightly thinner and less hungry than before. Ping even worries that he's lost weight.
"Wow! The Furious Five! You're much bigger than my action figures! Except you, Mantis... you're about the same size."
Master Flying Rhino is mentioned, for donating his armor to the Jade Palace in the first movie, and as the father of Thundering Rhino here.
Oogway once said "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they called the Present." That's the theme of this movie. Po let go of his parents' and species' massacre when the Soothsayer told him that fate balanced the scales and eventually gave him a happy life with Mr. Ping, who cares for him and loves him as if he was his own blood himself, and his friends, who helped him achieved his most cherished dreams, especially Shifu who has all but become a second father and Tigress who may be falling in love with him. What happened in the past is history and he might not know what will happen in th future, but his life in the Valley of Peace is a literal Present.
Cooldown Hug: Tigress gives one to Po so that he won't go against Shen again, much to the shock of the rest of the Five.
Crucified Hero Shot: When Tigress (along with the rest of the Furious Five) is chained to a mast.
Tropes D to H
Darker and Edgier: Although there are still plenty of laughs and sweet moments, this film is much more violent, mostly thanks to Lord Shen and his use of cannons to get rid of every problem he has, and deals with difficult situations such as adoption. In addition, most of the movie is literally darker — it takes place in locations with dramatic or no light.
Deadly Dodging: Done by Po as he's dodging and returning cannonballs at the end of the movie.
Death by Looking Up: Lord Shen is killed when his own cannon falls on top of him, having enough time to look up and see it. Justified, however, in that by that point, he'd accepted his fate since he makes no attempt to get out of the way, merely closes his eyes and allows it to fall on him.
Death Glare: Tigress does this to Po in the Gongmen City prison. Everyone else in the room is temporarily cowed into submission by the sheer force of it. It's so intense, it actually seems to cause a small circle of dust to kick up for a brief second, and we never actually get to see the expression, making the intention and thought of it that much more powerful.
Deleted Scene: Not vital to the plot, but one scene that was cut was an alternate introduction of the protagonists to Masters Croc and Ox. Originally, they were going to all meet at a street fighting ring, but was cut for various reasons. The design of the jail strongly resembles the arena that they were supposed to fight in, and the whole scene was later recycled into the bonus DVD Secrets of the Masters, which talked about Croc, Ox, and Rhino.
Demoted to Extra: Shifu, who barely gets any screentime at all. Thankfully averted with the Furious Five, who appear much more this time around, and all of them actively help Po out this time around throughout the film.
The Dragon: The Wolf Boss. He's not particularly intimidating or powerful, but both fights with him are relatively long fights, especially the second, and in both occasions, Po doesn't beat him once, and in both examples Po takes the last blow as The Wolf Boss leaves triumphant and victorious.
Dragons Up the Yin Yang: In the first film, the dragon was a more prevalent image; here, the Yin Yang is a much more prominent symbol.
Dramatic Irony: Thanks to the opening sequence, the audience knows from the beginning what happened to Po's family, but Po himself doesn't find out until just before the climax.
Dream Sequence: Po's nightmare, in which he meets his true parents only to find they've replaced him with a radish that has better kung fu.
Drop the Hammer: The Wolf Boss, Thundering Rhino and Po's biological father.
Dynamic Entry: Parodied. Po has a Not Quite Dead moment on the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom... and then, while screaming his Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, begins riding a giant cogwheel, however he mistimes it poorly and as he reaches the top a full five seconds later, admits he probably should have waited a few moments for that to have been cooler. Also, the I Can't Hear You moment on the roof during Po's | speech, which Shen cannot hear a single word of since Po is over half a block away and on top of a building. It's pushed even further as he throws his hat attempting to save the Furious Five, except his hat is made of straw and flies less than a few feet before being affected by the physics of paper and wind. This one is so bad, even Po tries to cover his face out of embarrassment.
One other example that may count is when Shen is expecting a powerful warrior to arrive in the top floor of his room, when it is revealed one of the gorilla's is carrying a weak Po who admits to throwing up at one point due to climbing so many stairs.
Early-Bird Cameo: Master Ox, Croc, the wolf bandits, and even Shen's symbol were in Po's opening dream in the first film.
Empathic Environment: The color red accompanies Shen's presence very often. Sometimes justified, due to all the forge fires and torches; but sometimes the sky itself turns blood-red, even if it wasn't minutes ago, like when Shen marches in to challenge the Kung Fu Council. It only lightens up towards the end of the film once Shen is effectively losing.
Empathy Doll Shot: The little panda plushie that Po finds in the remains of the Panda Village. At the end of the movie, the plushie is seen in a crate of vegetables that Po is carrying into the restaurant.
End of an Age: Averted in that it seems like it is the end of kung fu as a relevant skill in battle with the advent of the cannon, but Po proves that wrong when he develops a kung fu Catch and Return technique that can stop cannoneers in their tracks. The portrayal of the cannon in the movie reflects actual history as it was primarily a symbolic weapon (at least at first). The fall of Constantinople in 1453 was declared the end of an era, but since the cannons were slow and difficult to aim as mentioned in Awesome, but Impractical, they weren't used that often.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Wolf Boss, Lord Shen's second in command, has no problem with theft or genocide, but firing on his own men? That's where he draws the line. He gets killed for it. Justified in that wolves are pack animals and he is pack alpha. Additionally, the wolves are his men, but he has no requirement to care about the world around him.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shen is willing to kill or hurt anyone who gets in his way, even if it's his own men. He also continuously ignores any advice that the path he's taking will only lead to his eventual defeat by Po.
Evil Plan: Shen's goal is to take over China and destroy Kung Fu while he's at it.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: Shen's ancestral home and base of operations for the first part of the movie until he destroys it trying to kill Po and the Five, who are all trapped inside.
Family Unfriendly Death: Compared to Oogway's poetic ascension and the ambiguous fates of Tai Lung and Commander Vachir, the deaths in this film are a lot more disturbing, sadistic, and visceral. However, the one that really takes the cake is the Wolf Boss. Shen throws a knife in his stomach. On screen. Given that up to that point all deaths happened off camera and the generally cartoonish and larger than life violence, it was very shocking to see such a graphic, cold blooded killing. Immediately after being hit by the knife, however, the Wolf Boss exits the movie, so a corpse is never seen, but heavily implied.
Fastball Special: Tigress performs this twice with Po in a move he calls "Double Death Strike".
The second time, Mantis performs this with Tigress so that she can get up enough momentum to pull the same trick with Po in a broken rickshaw. The force is so strong it leaves a trail of flames in the road. BAD. ASS.
A Father to His Men: The Wolf Boss counts when he stands up to Shen for ordering to fire on his own men.
Foregone Conclusion: The movie opens with a narration telling us that Shen "will be defeated by a warrior of black and white".
Flash Step: Shifu is shown doing this several times, once even to avoid a hug from Po.
Foreshadowing: The first film has hints of several things in the film.
Crane's Wings of Justice move was used early on in the first film.
Also, somewhere in the middle of the first film, Master Shifu is chanting about Inner Peace.
Po's dream about fighting alongside mighty warriors actually occurs in the end of the film.
Even early bird cameos like Shen's symbol and the wolves that appeared previously in Po's dream appeared in the film. Po's memories may have been repressed but even little things like that still affected him.
In the second film itself, a quiet moment between Po and Tigress has her noting that hard style kungfu isn't really his thing (being fat and fluffy). At the climax, Po doesn't block the cannon shots but dodges and redirects them Tai Chi-like (i.e. soft style)
Freeze Frame Bonus: Look closely in Mantis' cage when Po is holding it. A couple of times he moves enough to cause "Mantis" inside to rock slightly but not move a muscle, making it clear that it is an inanimate object.
When Po is running on the conveyor belt, the wok pan with Tai Lung's Face indented in it from the first movie goes over the side right before Po himself falls and catches himself with the tuning fork
During Po's flashback, if you look closely you can see that one of the wolves that his father strikes is scarred across his right eye by the hit. It's the Wolf Boss.
Genocide Backfire: Sort of. Lord Shen heard a prophecy that a black and white warrior would defeat him, so he destroyed the village of pandas close to his city. He later finds out that there was a survivor; Po. And a hidden village of pandas, including Po's biological father. Unlike most examples of this trope, this wasn't what directly caused the confrontation between Po and Shen, and traumatic memories of his early childhood actually weaken Po, instead of motivating him.
As noted further down, though, Po would never have been in a position to become the Dragon Warrior if Shen hadn't destroyed his village.
Shen fully expected this to be Po's reason to come stop him. It's played for laughs when Po has no idea who Shen is or what he has done. Even in the end, Po seemed to mean no ill will against Shen.
Mr.Ping: Well, son. Baby geese come from little eggs. Now don't ask me where the egg comes from!
Shen's talk about old and new has shades of Mao Zedong's own beliefs, and was especially prominent during the Cultural Revolution. Yet, it appears to have been unnoticed by the Chinese censors.
A very subtle example occurs when Mantis laments the fact that he's not going to die by having his head torn off, like his mom did to his dad. Since female mantises usually eat their mates after mating, Mantis is complaining that he's going to die a virgin.
Grievous Harm with a Body: Part of Po and the Five's battling the wolf Mooks in the dragon costume involves hurling the last few victims (out the back end) into oncoming Mooks.
Growling Gut: "My fist hungers for justice. *growl* That was my... fist."
Happily Adopted: Po and his father both admit that Po is adopted at the beginning. Po is okay with this by the end of the film.
Hard Work Hardly Works / Instant Expert: Played With. Po's kung fu has improved a lot since the last movie, but he's still somewhat clumsy and has a lot to learn. He was able to master Inner Peace and the redirection move rather quickly, though.
Lampshaded by Shifu. Noting how Po was able to achieve inner peace at a young age, as opposed to him who had to wait a lot longer.
Heroes Fight Barehanded: Po and the Furious Five are all unarmed kung fu fighters (though Monkey sometimes use a staff), while the Big Bad Lord Shen carries around a flame-like partisan and tons of daggers, and all his henchmen are heavily armed.
Heroic BSOD: A certain symbol used by Lord Shen and his forces causes Po's most traumatic subconscious memories to suddenly flare up in his mind and overwhelm him. It's even worse when he sees all the eye spots on Shen's tail feathers, since they match the symbol almost exactly.
He's Back: Po, when he comes back to fight Lord Shen and save the Furious Five, after he discovered his background.
Badass: Subverted. Immediately after the above scene, Po throws the hat that he's wearing at the chains that contain the Furious Five. Overestimating his throwing power of a very ordinary straw hat, followed by a very awkward and embarrassing moment by everyone watching. He ultimately makes it count afterwards.
Tigress: What's your plan? Po: Step 1, free the Five. Viper: What's Step 2? Po: To be honest, I didn't think I'd get this far.
Jaw Drop: Twice by Crane, when Tigress first gives a Cooldown Hug to Po and when Po hugs Tigress near the end.
Killed Off for Real: Master Thundering Rhino dies early in the film, while Lord Shen and Shen's right hand man, the Wolf Boss, are likely dead. Po's mother is hinted at having been killed as well, but it's not entirely confirmed.
Knife Nut: Shen. Even though he's got cannons as his main thing, his fallback weapons are loads and loads of sharp, pointy objects.
Last of His Kind: Subverted. Both Shen and Po think that there are no more surviving giant pandas. However, the Sequel Hook at the end of the movie shows a whole panda village, including Po's biological father.
Last-Second Chance: Rejected once again. Po tries sharing the secret to inner peace with Lord Shen, but even if Shen understands it, he attacks Po anyway. Although by that point Shen almost certainly wanted to die (you can see Shen accepting his fate as the giant cannon falls on him soon after), choosing self-destruction instead of redemption still counts.
Light Is Not Good: Shen, both in regards to Chinese and Western iconography, being white and red (the latter being the color of love in Chinese culture) as he is, besides being a peacock (which is basically the animal that most resembles the Chinese phoenix) and given what the possible readings of his name mean (神, "divinity", and 焴, "flame"). Although him being white feathered goes to Obviously Evil territory if you consider that white is the color of death in most Asian cultures.
Dark Is Not Evil: Thematically wise, to symbolize Yin. Po finds inner peace in a dark, watery environment.
The Load: A rather literal example in Po. Though he's as skilled a fighter as any of the Furious Five, his poor mobility means they often have to literally carry and throw him around to get him somewhere where his kung fu can be of use.
Made of Iron: Subverted and played straight. [[spoiler:Subverted in Master Rhino's death. Played straight in that everyone else also got hit with a cannon. Also played literally with Tigress, as due to her punching ironwood trees near the Jade Palace for 20 years has allowed her to take Po's hardest punch and not feel a thing, even hurting Po himself in the process.
Meaningful Echo: When Po finds the truth, the Soothsayer repeats a line said by Mister Ping in the beginning of the film. "Your story may not have such a happy beginning..."
Meteor Move: Performed by Po on the Wolf Boss at the end of the Rickshaw Chase.
Mickey Mousing: The first fight with the wolf pack certainly has a lot of action in sync to the music. Justified as the wolves are stealing musical instruments, and they keep getting struck during the fight, so naturally they sound in time with the action, as the action is happening to them. One musician also keeps playing while the battle goes on around him.
There is precedent of Gorillas appearing in China in the Kung Fu Panda universe- in "Secrets of the Furious Five," the enemy that Viper defeats is a massive, armor-wearing gorilla.
Missed Moment of Awesome: Shen has prepping his lines for his long-awaited showdown with Po ("We meet at last!"), but since Po has never heard of him, he basically shrugs off Shen's ominous welcome, much to Shen's disappointment. Later, Po drops a one-liner when Shen thinks he has triumphed ("Looking for me?"), but he says it before the cogwheel reveals Po, who shows up a few seconds later.
Po: I said that too soon, didn't I?
Missing Mom: Well, at least we know what happened now. Sort of.
Missing Trailer Scene: In some of the TV Spots, there's a scene where Po is 'holding his breath in anticipation', then Tigress tells him finally to breathe. Never happens in the movie.
Another trailer moment that doesn't happen in the movie is Shifu telling Po he's received a message. Po thinks it came from the universe, then Shifu says it came from a messenger.
A third has Po claiming he knows he's not the last panda. Never comes up in the film, but might have been intended as an easter egg to tease Kung Fu Panda 3, which is confirmed to be in development, with a projected 2016 release date.
Mood Whiplash: At times it's hilarious. At times it's action packed and rousing. At times it's even dark as hell and emotionally powerful. Of course, that's what makes it so good.
Mook Chivalry: Averted. Wolves are pack animals. They always fight as a unit. Also the instances we see multiple shots fired at Po, he simply dodges most of them before catching one and throwing it back.
Also shown at the end of the film when Po's biological father senses that he is alive and well.
Tropes N to R
Near Villain Victory: Lord Shen leaves the harbor of Gongmen City to conquer China with his armada armed with cannons. Everyone else has been defeated while Po is about to be shot; his only hope is a technique he has yet to master.
Never Trust a Trailer: Much like with its predecessor, the trailers mostly showed the comedic aspects of the film. Perhaps it was Dreamworks's way of not giving away any of the surprises.
A TV Spot has Po declare "I'm not the last panda!" while showing the panda village seen at the end of the movie, making it look like this will be a big part of the plot. It...wasn't. Po didn't say that and while the village appeared, it was just a teaser at the very end of the movie.
Similar to the above TV Spot, the DVD Release Trailer basically tells you something completely different from what ACTUALLY happens in the movie. Someone must be playing a joke on the marketing department or editor.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Lord Shen attempting genocide on the pandas not only enabled Po to complete the prophecy, but also ended up providing the village with a way to stop Tai Lung in the original film.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Averted, thankfully. It's a good thing that Tigress is VERY disciplined, and compassionate. This is another reason why that "fight" was not in the first movie.
Played with as well, as the heroes thought there was only one cannon in existence and formed much of their plans on stopping Shen. Double on Po, who thought the tiny figurine was the actual weapon. Shen then subverted both that the cannon in the room (while formidable as it can hit anything in the city) was just a diversion to protect his foundry and he was halfway done arming a whole armada of ships with them.
Tigress: I hope this turns out better than your plan to cook rice in your stomach by eating it raw and then drinking boiling water. Po: This plan's nothing like that plan. Tigress: How? Po: Because this plan will work.
Oblivious Adoption: Confronted and answered. The ironic part is that Po already knew but his dad thought he didn't.
Some people, including Roger Ebert when seeing the first film, just assumed this is a universe where whatever animal you happen to be is not dependent on your birth parents. After the second film, he admitted he was wrong.
This is mercilessly lampshaded whenever given the chance. Especially given the Un Reveal in the last movie.
Oh Crap: When Po and the Five destroy Shen's cannon in the palace, only to find that the peacock has a whole arsenal of copies and they are about to fire a whole salvo at them. Mantis helpfully restores the comedic mood.
Mantis: [upbeat] Oh no, he's got way more.
Off Hand Back Hand: Po does this to the last wolf guard protecting Master Ox and Master Croc. It was the only move he did the entire fight and even Tigress complimented him on it.
Older Than They Look: Shen spent thirty years in exile, so he (and the Wolf Boss) must be around fifty, with Po being close to or slightly over thirty.
Once More With Clarity: During Po's convalescence under the Soothsayer's care, he properly recalls what happened to put him in the turnip cart.
Only Six Faces: This movie adds goats and sheep to the mix of rabbits, pigs, and geese to the cast of civilians from the first movie.
Orphan's Ordeal: When Po finally remembers that he lost his parents in a genocide where he was seemingly the sole survivor, it hits him like an emotional sledgehammer.
Papa Wolf: Po's biological dad, as it's shown that he directly confronted the wolves that were massacring his village. Maybe Po's badassery is In the Blood...
Shifu as well. His first instinct when Po gets shot is to travel to Gongmen City at breakneck speed in order to pull a Big Damn Heroes and kick the collective asses of those responsible. Granted that he's only the victim's father figure, but it's still badass.
The sub-boss, possibly a literal example since he was a wolf who refused to fire on his wolf underlings despite his Boss, Shen's orders. The wolf might even be A Father to His Men in a literal sense too, given that leaders of wolf packs tend to be the daddy to the lot of them.
Paper-Thin Disguise: For a brief moment, Po disguise himself as a woman, using a kite as a wig. Irony to the trope's name, the kite is made out of paper!
Parental Abandonment: Lord Shen claims this about Po's parents; however, Po eventually remembers that his mother did that as part of a Heroic Sacrifice of intense love to give him one desperate chance of survival.
Shen himself sees his parents banishing him as this, ignoring the fact he'd just committed genocide and thus deserved to be punished.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Mantis, once again, such as when he throws Tigress to give her an extra boost.
This movie goes out of its way to establish that Mantis is the strongest of the cast, regularly doing feats of strength that would be impressive at full size. Truth in Television, as insects really do have the most impressive liftable-weight-to-body-mass ratio.
And Shifu, who is even tougher since he gained 'Inner Peace' in the previous film.
Power Copying: Po learns the moves necessary to do the Catch and Return technique to manipulate rainwater after watching his master do it once, and then circumstances teaches him how to achieve the inner peace necessary to execute the technique. At this point Shifu is a tad jealous since the aged Kung Fu master only recently mastered that himself.
Consistent, of course, with how he figured out the Wuxi finger hold all on his own in the first movie. (Po is pretty talented). Then again, we don't know how much time passed since Shifu first showed Po the technique and the day he sends him off to fight Shen, so he could have been trying to learn it in between.
Doubles as a Call Back, since both are techniques Shifu told Po about in the beginning, and later used to dispose of the villain of the respective movies.
A Chekhov's Skill if you take into account the TVshow. He's shown several times in that seeing a move once and being able to duplicate it.
Punch Clock Villain: It's lightly implied that the wolves are only still working for Shen out of fear for that he'll kill them if they don't. Considering that he offs the Wolf Boss just for not wanting to murder his own men, they're probably right.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Soothsayer said in the intro that a warrior of black and white will defeat Shen. Because of his actions, Shen ended up fulfilling the destiny. If he hadn't attempted genocide, Po never would've ended up where he could learn Kung Fu and come back to defeat him in the first place. Alternately, it's outright said in the prophecy that if he doesn't change his ways, this is what will happen.
Sequel Escalation: While the first movie centered on a small mountain valley, and the villain had mostly personal motivation and acted alone, the sequel involves a big city and a villain who wants to Take Over the World and has an army of wolves, gunpowder cannons, and a freakin' river fleet at his disposal.
Sequel Hook: When Po makes it clear that he has accepted Mr. Ping as his father as well as being the last Giant Panda, we see that Po's biological father is alive in a far away hidden village of Giant Pandas and senses that his son is alive as well.
According to The Other Wiki, there's supposed to be a total of six films in this series.
The final river fleet showdown is possibly inspired by Red Cliff, where clever strategy triumphs over a bulky fleet of clumsy yet heavily armed ships.
One part of the scene with Po redirecting fire from all cannons at once is a visual shout-out to a scene in Shaolin Soccer, with the entire Team Evil lined up and kicking the same ball at the Shaolin goalie over and over.
When Po redirects the last cannonball, one might almost expect him to shout "HADOUKEN!"
The blind rabbit musician who continues to play through the initial battle with wolves is most likely a reference to the battle in the rain from Hero, which was accompanied by a blind musician.
The scene where Po is riding the rickshaw to catch a wolf (also in a rickshaw) and ends up going up and falling off some scaffolding of a building is reminiscent of the chariot racing scene in The Prince Of Egypt, another Dreamworks film. They even used some of the same camera angles!
Also, other than the obvious factor of Moses in the Bullrushes, Po's mother sending Po away is very reminiscent of the scene in Prince of Egypt when Jochebed sends Moses away in the basket, right down to when they kiss their children on the forehead.
Possible The Lord of the Rings references: not only does the whole plot of weaponry vs. kung fu seem to partake of Saruman's "the old world will burn in the fires of industry" technology vs. nature mindset, but a number of the shots within Shen's foundry are reminiscent of the forges under Isengard. Also, the Sinister Silhouettes moment with Po being carried up the stairs by the gorilla seems like a homage to Samwise's assault on Cirith Ungol.
There's also how the two sides use fire and gunpowder: the good guys only use them for fireworks while the bad guy in the fancy white robe and giant tower makes advanced weapons that could make traditional martial arts (and architecture) utterly useless.
Pretty minor, but Po getting discovered as a baby in the radish crate is pretty close to how baby Alex was first found after being sent adrift at sea.
The musical score takes some cues from How To Train Your Dragon at the end, as the camera sweeps from the Valley of Peace to the last panda village. John Powell, the co-composer of this movie, also scored Dragon.
In addition to the architecture, the movie opens with a brief history of Shen's childhood, which is presented as a stylized shadow puppet play. The musician troupe that Po and company try to save from bandits carried large prayer bells.
Tigress talking about punching ironwood trees to deaden her hands is a direct reference to the same type of conditioning done by Muay Thai fighters on their hands and legs. Also used by Karate practitioners with Kyu Kushin Karate being the most famous example. Thirdly, Chinese Martial Artists.
Po: Master Ox? Master (spots Master Croc) [Gasp] The ferocious Master Croc! And Master... Storming Ox! I can't believe we're rescuing actual legends of Kung Fu!
He's also thrilled to be in the same pressure-point shackles as Tai Lung.
Suicide By Cop: Subverted toward the end. Lord Shen assumes Po wants this when he stands up in front of Shen's cannons, essentially a firing squad taken Up to Eleven. Po is only finding a firm place to stand so that he can deflect the cannonballs, but he might have anticipated that Shen would come to this conclusion. If he can't pull this off, he really is dead. ...Dark.
Taking the Bullet: In the climax of the film, Tigress pushes Po out of the way of a cannonball and takes the hit herself. She survives, but is too weak to stop Po from taking on the rest of Shen's fleet by himself.
Toilet Humour: While Po and the Five are wearing the dragon costume disguise, it appears to 'eat' a wolf (Po pulling the wolf inside through the dragon's mouth), digest him (the Furious Five beating him up), then excrete the remains (tossing him out the back), much to the disgust of a watching child.
Took Another Level In Badass: Although Po still cannot hold his own in a fight with Tigress (admittedly, very few warriors can), and his fighting style is somewhat clumsy, he kicks much more evildoer butt than in the original movie.
Villainous Breakdown: Po appearing as Shen is about to sail to triumph seems to result in the peacock finally losing it; while he remains sane, he kicks the Attack! Attack! Attack! strategy he'd employed with his cannons up to 11, even willing to fire on his own fleet to clear out all obstacles and casually knifing his own Dragon when he refuses. This results in Shen refusing to cease using his cannons even when Po has perfected the catch and return technique, resulting in an epic Oh Crap when Po's final returned shot makes a yin-yang symbol before striking his flagship. When Po confronts him on his ship after crippling it, he finds Shen completely stunned by both the fact everything he created has been destroyed and the fact that Po managed to overcome his traumatic past and find inner peace. When Po explains it to him, he snaps and tries to kill Po. Unlike Tai Lung, however, Shen doesn't lose his head, managing Tranquil Fury despite his breakdown, resulting in a much more even fight. This is most likely due to the Soothsayer's prediction starting to come to pass, and by this point Shen is getting desperate to change it. His Mind Screw didn't work and force is his only option. You can pretty much sense it in Shen's voice when he asks how Po overcame his trauma. Even if it's calm, his ambition has been left in ruins and he's got nothing to lose, leading to the final assault and ultimately death at his own hands.
Was It Really Worth It?: The Soothsayer asks Shen if everything he's done so far, and everything he's planning to do, will be worth it in the end after he destroys his ancestral home in a failed attempt to kill the Five. Shen's response implies he's not certain if it will be or not.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Like in the first movie, this trope is invoked during the final battle. Shen professed his hatred of kung fu and desire to eradicate it more than once, but in the end, when told by Po that he should do what he really desires to do with his life, instead of being controlled by his past, Shen chooses to have one last kung fu battle with Po, and actually manages to fight Po on even terms, proving that he wasn't just attacking in a blind rage (look how well that ended for the far more powerful Tai Lung). Then the wreck of his cannon interrupts the fight and crushes him, in the far less subtle application of the same trope.
The floor of Gongmen Jail has a curved line running through its circular center. When Tigress confronts Po there, she is standing at one point and repeatedly tossing him to another, causing them to form a yin-yang symbol when viewed from above.
What the Hell, Hero?: In Kung Fu Panda 2, not only does Po keep freezing up during crucial moments whenever he sees Lord Shen's symbol, but he refuses to explain why. This doesn't rub well with the other Five (Tigress especially) when this problem makes him miss the perfect opportunity to catch Shen. It passes when they find out why he was distracted, though.
Played straight, too. Ironically, when the Furious Five and Po was all chained up before him, instead of just tearing them to pieces with those blades of his, Shen decided to go for a dramatic, meaningful, but much slower death by said giant cannon. Needless to say, that cost him his victory.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: Po and the Furious Five were unable to destroy the cannons at the foundry or stop Lord Shen from bringing the cannon ships out of Gongmen City. Still, they succeed in thwarting Lord Shen's plans and defeat him.