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Analysis / Kung Fu Panda

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On the Shades of Conflict in the film series

The film series features the Black-and-White Morality as its Shades of Conflict, though Tai Lung and Lord Shen have some redeeming and sympathetic qualities.

This lack of gray area means that there is no Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain, that Po and his friends never do something that would get them called out, and that the Big Bad never make a Heel–Face Turn. To be more specific, it can explain one of the reasons why Po can let go of his pain and find inner peace without nearly becoming He Who Fights Monsters or Jumping Off the Slippery Slope upon learning what Lord Shen did to his parents and kind in Kung Fu Panda 2.


On the common traits of every Big Bad in the film series

Every Big Bad in the film series has some things in common.

  • They serve as the Knight of Cerebus in their respective film.
  • They are power-hungry and seek acknowledgment.
    • Power-hungry: Tai Lung wants to get the Dragon Scroll in order to become the true Dragon Warrior, Lord Shen wants to conquer all of China, and Kai wants to consume all of the kung fu masters' chi.
    • Acknowledgement: Tai Lung and Lord Shen want their parental figures to acknowledge them, and Kai expects everyone in the present day to still know him.
  • They provide the example of the Evil Cannot Comprehend Good trope.
  • Even though Po offers Tai Lung and Lord Shen a Last-Second Chance for redemption, they never make a Heel–Face Turn or regret their action partly because of the Shades of Conflict in the series.


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