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Tear Jerker / Kung Fu Panda

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"You must believe."

Both Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3 have pages, along with the series.

  • When Po tries to leave only to be stopped by Shifu who realizes he has to train him. Po confesses that he endured all the abuse Shifu and the Five shoved at him because despite it all, Po said the pain couldn't hurt as much as the pain Po felt every day in being who he is. Po going into length over just how much it hurt being himself and the heart-rending realization at just how little Po thinks of himself is one of the more brutal moments of the franchise, especially because many people could connect to that sort of feeling. It gives the film such heart while Shifu struggles to find a way to help the panda.
    Shifu: You will beat [Tai-Lung] because you are the Dragon Warrior!
    Po: YOU DON'T BELIEVE THAT! You NEVER believed that! From the first moment I got here, you've been trying to get rid of me!
    Shifu: Yes, I was! But now I ask you to trust in your master, as I have come to trust in mine.
    Po: You're not my master... and I'm not the Dragon Warrior!
    Shifu: Then why didn't you quit?! You knew I was trying to get rid of you, yet you stayed!
    Po: Yeah, I stayed. I stayed, because every time you threw a brick at my head, or said I smelled, it hurt! But it could never hurt more than it did every day of my life just being me. I stayed, because I thought if anyone could change me... could make me NOT me, it was you! The greatest kung-fu teacher in all of China!
    Shifu: But I can change you! I can turn you into the Dragon Warrior! And I WILL!
    Po: Come on! Tai Lung is on his way here right now! And even if it takes him a hundred years to get here, how are you going to change THIS into the Dragon Warrior?! HUH?!
    Shifu: (silence)
    Po: How? How!? HOW!?
    Shifu: I DON'T KNOW!! ...I don't know.
    Po: (angry and disappointed) That's what I thought.
    • The worst part of all this, is while Po's ripping into Shifu, you can see Shifu realizing for the first time that Po's a person with feelings and motivations, not just some obstacle put in his way. At the same time, you can hear the desperation in Po's voice when he asks how Shifu could turn him into the Dragon Warrior because he's brutally aware of his shortcomings and faults more than anyone else and endured heaps of abuse just to try and change that. Po really wants Shifu to prove him wrong yet with his lack of a good answer ends up proving him right. Po has a really good reason to be upset and disappointed with Shifu.
      • Shifu's My God, What Have I Done? expression really cements it, as well as Shifu visibly searching for an answer to Po's Armor-Piercing Question. Shifu has maintained an image of knowing exactly what to do and say, but now he's completely at a loss as to how to move forward, and it's entirely his own fault.
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    • Tigress is spying on the whole conversation and presumably heard everything. While she has a more stoic expression than Shifu, there's enough where you could tell she's also beginning to feel bad about how she had treated Po. Then you remember how she was also ostracized and felt ashamed of herself back when she was a child. It's clear that while she didn't show it, she's been through similar pains. Furthermore, she's definitely feeling guilty for having treated Po the same way.
    • It also puts into context some of Po's Big Eater tendencies. He eats when he's upset. And he's often so upset with just having to be himself that he eats to deal with it.
  • Also when the Dragon Scroll seems to be a sham, Po once again starts to self deprecate, with the Furious Five looking from behind. Their injuries make it hard to tell whether their expressions are pain or guilt and sympathy, but Tigress' rather saddened reply afterwards lacks any of her former malice.
    Po: Okay, so like, Oogway was just a crazy old turtle after all.
    Shifu: No. Oogway was wiser than us all.
    Po: *mournful* Oh, come on! Face it, he picked me by accident! Of course, I'm not the Dragon Warrior! Who am I kidding?
    Tigress: *solemn* .....But...who will stop Tai Lung?
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  • Shifu resultantly decides to deal with Tai Lung alone, asking his students to evacuate everyone and expressing his pride for them at last. Po just stands and looks at Shifu guilt ridden, before Crane sympathetically leads him out the palace.
  • When Tai Lung confronts Shifu. The snow leopard's first line, "I have come home, Master," is oddly sincere, even regretful. This of course is followed by Shifu's visibly painful reply: "This is no longer your home... and I am no longer your master."
  • The dialogue during the beginning of the fight between Shifu and Tai Lung highlights how Tai Lung felt that Shifu was the one who betrayed him, raising his hopes of being the Dragon Warrior only to immediately turn away when Oogway said otherwise.
    Tai Lung: You knew I was the Dragon Warrior! You always knew...
    [Flashback shows Shifu presenting Tai Lung to Oogway, with Oogway giving Shifu a disappointed look]
    Tai Lung: But, when Oogway said otherwise, what did you do? What did you do?!
    [Shifu turns away from Tai Lung with a sad expression, while Tai Lung looks betrayed. Returns to Present with Tai Lung snarling]
    Tai Lung: NOTHING!
    Shifu: You were not meant to be the Dragon Warrior! That was not my fault!
  • Even during their fight itself, there were moments which tugged the heartstrings. The raw pain and anguish in Tai Lung as he cried out how he only ever wanted to make Shifu proud of him. And whilst he initially hurls the question as to whether Shifu is proud of him now in an angry, mocking tone, when he repeats it the tone changes. It stops being a taunt and becomes a plea.
    • And then all of that is matched by Shifu's brokenly whispered reply that he was always proud of him. In that moment, that one tiny moment, when Shifu apologized for having failed him, Tai Lung almost, almost relented and did a Heel–Face Turn. The relationship between these two has to be one of the most deep, complex, and heartbreaking in the movie.
      Tai Lung: [savagely beating Shifu] All I ever did, I did to make you PROUD! Tell me how proud you are, Shifu! Tell me! TELL MEEEEE!
      Shifu: [weakly] I have always been proud of you. From the first moment, I've been proud... and it was my pride that blinded me. I loved you too much to see what you were becoming... what I was turning you into. I'm s... I'm sorry.
    • The moment, in flashback, when Shifu could not bring himself to attack Tai Lung because he in turn flashbacked to him as a cub, was also poignant and emotional.
      Tigress: He tried to take the Dragon Scroll by force, and Shifu had to destroy what he had created...but how could he?
      [from Shifu's perspective, the adult, snarling Tai Lung attacking him suddenly changes to his innocent cub self, cooing and happily reaching out to him with outstretched paws]
  • Oogway's ascension. Actually a lot more fitting word for that would be his "death". It is a true Never Say "Die" moment. He was desperate for Shifu to accept Po before his time came. The music that plays makes it worse.
    • Shifu's panic at the loss of his mentor right before Tai Lung arrives is his Darkest Hour. The worst mistake of his life is coming back to beat him into the ground, he has no idea how to make it right and his mentor is no longer around to guide him.
      Shifu: [desperately pleading] Master! You can't leave me.
      Oogway: You must believe.
      Shifu: MASTER!
      • The more you think about it, the sadder it gets. Shifu is already old himself. How long has Oogway been his master, his guide, his friend, even his own surrogate father? There's little doubt Shifu is closer to Oogway than anyone else in the world... and then he just disappears. If we were to take the animated series as canon, Shifu was with the Jade Palace since he was twelve.
      • Even putting aside the immediate problems, think how alone a person feels in that moment in general. Shifu never had to have all the answers, because Oogway was his safety net. Now the buck stops with him, and he feels far from ready to face that. Later, when Po asks how Shifu is going to turn him into the Dragon Warrior, Shifu is forced to admit he doesn't know. He's accepted that he has to do it, but he's still lost.
  • On the way back to the Jade Palace, the Furious Five openly insult and demean Po's shortcomings, seemingly unaware that Po was listening in as he trails behind them. Po's attempts to talk to Crane afterwards ends in disaster, as both he and Tigress make it clear that none of them want Po to be the Dragon Warrior or in the Jade Palace at all (though Crane tries to be nice about it). Devastated that his idols see him as one big joke, Po goes to the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom to pig out on peaches, when Oogway catches him for a talk. It's when the audience sees just how much Po hates himself and how he desperately wants acceptance and respect.
  • The movie in general highlights one of the biggest problems in the world of kung fu: It was originally about self-improvement, but eventually the meaning became tainted, and people began focusing more on pride, superiority, talent, and power. Teachers and students alike would bully and turn away anyone who didn't have a natural aptitude for fighting, something both Shifu and the Furious Five did to Po. Oogway may have known about this, which was why he chose the more open-minded Po to be the Dragon Warrior instead of someone experienced like Tigress.
    • A YouTube commentator said it best:
      Beowulf DW: As a martial artist myself, this scene displayed the worst parts of the culture of martial arts: the pride, the sense of superiority, the tendency to forget that everyone had to start somewhere, and that not everyone is naturally gifted. When I earned my black belt, my master took me aside and told me that I had no talent for the martial arts, and that when I first showed up for lessons, he honestly didn't think that I would last two months. That changed when I showed up to my first belt test with a broken toe. My teacher told me that that same will to persevere would serve me better than any natural talent ever could.

      TLDR: this movie hits me where I live.
  • Similar to Tai Lung, Tigress' backstory. Especially since her past actions made her the jerk she was in the movie. Of special note is the very end of her story of Tai Lung, where we get to see her as a cub...just as excited and eager about kung fu as Tai Lung, which only results in Shifu refusing to look at her, absently and emotionlessly correcting her form but saying nothing. The look on little Tigress's face says it all.
    Tigress: Shifu loved Tai Lung like he had never loved anyone before... or since.
    • To see how happy he was with Tai Lung makes the scene exactly heartwrenching on Shifu's side. When she does the same move Tai Lung did, look how heartbroken he is. He can't even look at her.
    • Tigress' backstory is made worse by the reveal in Secrets of the Furious Five that she was raised in an orphanage where she was the only predator and Shifu was the first person who wasn't afraid of her.
      Shifu: I am -
      Young Tigress: Afraid?
      Shifu: (closes the door) No.
      Young Tigress: Well, you should be! I am Tigress! Tigress the monster! ...A monster no one wants.
      Shifu: You are not a monster. You're just a little girl.
  • The expression on Shifu's face when Tai Lung breaks Oogway's staff.
  • Any of the bullying the Furious Five do at Po, particularly how cruelly they talk about him behind his back, and how Po just puts on a brave face and endures it. Especially how Po snaps at Shifu towards the end when he tries to make Po fight Tai Lung when he first strikes and Po fires off a small tirade about how no one believed in him, the FF and him especially.
    • Not only that, but Po looked up to the Five. And he fantasized about being friends with them. You can see how heartbroken he is when they all make it clear that they despise them. They get better, but it's still painful.
  • Tai Lung turning against his Master, and spending 20 years in prison, for what turns out to be..."Nothing?!" No wonder he went berserk instead of accepting the same epiphany that Po did.
    • More specifically, Tai Lung declares "It's nothing!" right while he's looking at his own reflection in the Dragon Scroll. Add in the fact how he clearly felt the only way anything he did mattered was if it made Shifu proud of him, and him being an orphan left on the doorstep, and it's very clear Tai Lung has a huge Inferiority Superiority Complex and that much of his rage and lashing out, from the rampage to his final attack on Po, is motivated by this. While it doesn't excuse the awful things he did, it is incredibly sad that the snow leopard had no sense of his own worth, that he believed everyone (from his birth family to Shifu and Oogway) had turned on him or abandoned him, that he felt everything he had learned and done had been for nothing, and that he ended up almost killing the one he had loved so much. (Just look at his face when Oogway denies him the scroll and Shifu just turns and walks away without defending him.)
    • Throughout the series, gold has been the color used for heroes. They will wear gold, or be shown in golden light. The scene where Oogway denies Tai Lung the scroll shows the leopard in a golden light, before cutting back to the present and showing him in gloom and darkness. Tai Lung, in the flashback, was probably a legitimate hero, protector of the Valley of Peace, adored and idolized by those he defended. Then he threw it all away and became The Dreaded when he was denied what he felt was his birthright.
      • Not only that: Tai Lung's eyes themselves are gold (and to judge from how he looked as a cub, this is something he gained as he grew up). While this can be interpreted as part of the snow leopard's whole "I am meant to be the best and I'm the real hero here" mentality, it can also be viewed as he literally has the eyes of a hero. Which, to tie back into the film's Aesop, means that he already was a hero all along, he just had to believe in himself. But he didn't, because he was so convinced he had to have the scroll and that coveted praise and pride from Shifu, and this destroyed his inner heroism and ruined his life.
  • It’s hard to think about due to the moment mostly consisting of Awesome and Funny, but the fact that Po immediately comes to this conclusion:
    Shifu: (amazed) Look at you!
    Po: Yeah, I know, I disgust you.


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