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- Alternate Character Interpretation: Shifu at times borders on Ron the Death Eater. Was he, personally, responsible for Tai Lung becoming evil? Does he see any of his students as anything more than a chance for personal glory by training a great warrior? Were his issues really resolved at the end of the first movie, or is he still basically the same uncaring jerk, just with less stress in his life?
- Award Snub: Averted, as it beat out Pixar's WALL•E in every category they competed in during the 2008 Annie Awards (and it won pretty much every category it was nominated in as well), much to everyone's surprise.
- Awesome Music: Courtesy of Hans Zimmer and John Powell.
- China Loves Kung Fu Panda: Similarly to Disney's Mulan, Kung Fu Panda and its sequel were very popular in China.
- Evil Is Cool: Tai Lung.
- Fan-Preferred Couple: The second it looked like Po and Tigress were on the way to becoming an item, the fandom joyfully embraced the idea.
- While not really having anything going for it in canon, Crane and Viper appear to be the secondary item to Po and Tigress.
- Foe Yay: Believe it or not, but there are people who ship Tai Lung/Tigress (Taigress). Compared to other pairings, this one sort of makes sense, genetically speaking.
- Furry Fandom: A well written story that respects the setting, lavishly animated with excellent fight choreography with well thought out furry characters that played with Animal Stereotypes played by some of the finest actors in Hollywood.
- Gateway Series: With its ambitious storytelling, blazing action and the myriad of awards, including Oscar nominations, this series has introduced millions to the Furry Fandom at its big budgeted best.
- Genre Turning Point: Before this film, Western Animation feature films were often starkly afraid to show heroes getting into fights in which the actual trading of blows that actually connect regularly happens. Now, bruising hand to hand, albeit bloodless, combat is considered perfectly acceptable material for family films.
- Growing the Beard: Depending who you ask, either Kung Fu Panda or Madagascar, is this for Dreamworks, when they started producing either original IPs or adpatations of other works that were much better received than their earlier movies.
- He Really Can Act: Thanks to Dustin Hoffman's tutoring, Jack Black surprised a lot of people with how good he was as Po.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Seth Rogen and green insects are inseparable now.
- The Chinese were so impressed by this movie, that they held conferences about why they couldn't make animated movies like this. The third movie is being produced by the new DreamWorks Orient studio in China.
- I Am Not Shazam: His name is Po, not Kung Fu Panda. Got that, Seltzer and Friedberg?
- Jerkass Woobie: Tigress and Tai Lung's back stories make them this.
- Shifu could count as well.
- Memetic Sex God: Tigress, according to most fans. Having Angelina Jolie as her voice actress only accentuates this further. Many fans seem to think Tai Lung is this too, either because of (or in spite of) his voice actor as well as the obvious reasons.
- Moral Event Horizon: When Tai Lung confesses to Shifu that all he ever wanted was to make him proud, only to find out that he had Shifu's pride and love all along, he only spends one moment looking genuinely affected before he's right back to demanding the scroll, saying he doesn't care about apologies. Since he's basically thrown away any sort of redemption that might have been offered to him, that moment signals that he deserves everything that happens to him afterward.
- The Problem with Licensed Games: Averted. Kung Fu Panda the game is actually a well-made, fun Devil May Cry-style game, even though it departs from the film's story quite a bit. The sequel's game, on the other hand, plays this straight.
- Unintentionally Sympathetic: Stated almost word for word in the directors' commentary about Tai Lung. Although, considering his writeup in Art of Kung Fu Panda, maybe not.
- Values Resonance: Despite not being actually made by the Chinese, if one actually were to look at things from a traditionalist Confucian perspective, Tai Lung becomes an even more perfect villain. He's guilty of filial impiety; a very, VERY severe sin in Confucianism. The one thing that really seems to anger Shifu is Tai Lung suggesting that he ignore Oogway's decision for the Dragon Scroll, in effect asking Shifu to commit his own filial impiety.
- The Woobie: Po, particularly when he reveals himself to be a Stepford Smiler and Sad Clown with self-loathing issues. He wants to be special, because he doesn't like who he is. He gets over these issues by the end of the first film, just in time for the second film to reveal a really depressing backstory.