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Western Animation / Kung Fu Panda

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Kung Fu Panda is a 2008 CG-animated Dramedy from DreamWorks Animation, balanced between Funny Animal humor, gorgeous art, and epic martial arts action.

Set in an anthropomorphic animal version of Chinese legend, the story follows Po, the (obviously adopted) son of a noodle shop owner. A gushing fanboy of kung fu, Po is a lumbering, awkward and gluttonous Manchild who lives in the shadow of the legendary Jade Palace, home of six of China's greatest kung-fu warriors. When their Old Master, Oogway, makes his selection of the Dragon Warrior, Po is astounded to learn that it's him. His battle for acceptance by the people he's looked up to his whole life leads him on both comic and tragic turns, especially once he finds out what being The Chosen One actually means: fighting Tai Lung, the One-Man Army who believes he deserves the title of Dragon Warrior... and will destroy anyone who objects. And Po still hasn't learned kung fu.


The film's fusion of classic kung-fu tropes, Funny Animal slapstick, and The Hero's Journey has proven extremely successful. DreamWorks has produced two sequels — Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016). The franchise also includes two TV series — one on Nickelodeon called Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (without most of the original voice actors), and another on Amazon Prime called Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, as well as the prime time Christmas Special Kung Fu Panda Holiday, and several theme park rides, most notably Kung Fu Panda Adventure.


Kung Fu Panda provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to B 
  • Absurdly Long Stairway: The stairs from the village up to the Jade Palace are epicly long. Po is twice shown having to urgently climb them only to arrive exhausted at the top, starting his long-lasting hatred of stairs.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Sword of Heroes, which is said to be so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looking at it, and indeed, Po manages to do just that.
  • Accidental Athlete: Po, who was previously thought to be hopelessly clumsy, inadvertently demonstrates his agility when he climbs up some shelves in order to steal some cookies.
  • Acrofatic: Po, after his training.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Po and Shifu's nighttime argument on the temple steps.
  • Action Girl: Tigress and Viper, with different martial styles: Tigress fights aggressively with hard-hitting strikes, while Viper fights through misdirection and grace.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Lucy Liu's previous role before Viper was playing O-Ren Ishii who was also known by the name of "Cottonmouth" in Kill Bill.
    • Many of Jack Black's phrases are snuck into the film, such as "Skadoosh!".
  • Adaptation Expansion: The video game contains a number of scenes not present (or at least directly shown) in the movie, including an explanation of how Po learned the Wuxi Finger Hold.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Imagine you are given an opportunity to fulfill your dream, only to suck horribly at it. Then your teacher threatens to make you quit through hard training, your idols hate you, and the locals mock how you suck, so your spirit is nearly broken. Po is all but ready to give up after day one, if not for his talk with Master Oogway.
    • Shifu adopts a child at this doorstep, loves him, and rears him as his son. Said son turns evil, badly injures him, and get locked up in jail. Shifu spends the next twenty years blaming himself for how Tai Lung turned out.
  • An Aesop:
    • You can improve yourself, but it takes a lot of work, effort, and dedication to get there.
    • There is no "secret ingredient" to greatness. Greatness comes from within.
    • There are no bad students, only unskillful teachers.
    • The best way to get revenge on your naysayers is to prove them wrong.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of martial arts movies.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Shifu has had no luck grooming any of his students for the position of Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung, who had the greatest potential ends up being refused by Oogway and the Furious Five, despite years of training, are not chosen because the "universal accident" that had Po arrive during the choosing ceremony.
    • Tai Lung's relentless training shaped him as the perfect physical candidate to be the Dragon Warrior but Shifu neglected his spiritual training which led to a darkness in his heart that disqualified him. Even when Tai Lung's actually does obtain the Scroll, he is unable to understand the spiritual lesson it imparts showing he was never qualified to be the Dragon Warrior even when Po tries to explain the meaning to him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Tweaked a bit in that, long before the climax of the film, Po has already gone a long way towards earning the respect of most of the Furious Five, because of his Heroic Resolve in facing his hopeless Training from Hell without complaint. Also, he's a genuinely Nice Guy, a good storyteller, and an excellent cook.
  • All That Glitters: The Dragon Scroll is said to impart enormous power upon those who read it and is the ultimate reward for the one chosen to be the Dragon Warrior. It turns out the power revealed by the Scroll is spiritual. The Scroll itself is just a shiny surface that functions as a mirror, showing the image of the person looking at it, because the power, skill and value are all within them, not the scroll. It's telling that Tai Lung exclaims at his own reflection that ''it's nothing''. The fact that Shifu also doesn't understand the meaning of the Scroll shows that he misunderstood what the Dragon Warrior is supposed to be all along.
  • All There in the Manual: The backstories of the Furious Five are not provided in the movies, but is provided in the DVD-only animated short "The Secrets of the Furious Five".
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Your Seed" as the theme song.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Po's signature girth-based fighting style has been used by at least a real life kung fu master, Wang Shu Jin, who, very much like Po, had an immense waist and could use it to push and deflect attacks.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    • Shifu says during the Illusion of Control scene, "But there are things I can control!" and proceeds to kick the tree, causing the peaches to fall around him. "I can control when the fruit will fall!" A late-falling peach then lands on his head.
    • Oogway first says "There are no accidents" as Po is being carried off on a litter after being hailed as the Dragon Warrior. Po then falls through the litter.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Played straight in some cases, subverted for all they're worth in others. Notably, Viper is the nicest member of the Furious Five, despite snakes and vipers being predatory animals.
  • Animal-Themed Fighting Style: The Furious Five are a more literal case of this, as they are anthropomorphic animals whose fighting styles are based on real-life animal form martial arts. Tai Lung, who is a snow leopard, uses the leopard style. And Po, the eponymous panda, primarily uses bear style.
  • Answer Cut:
    Oogway: [serenely] It is time.
    Shifu: But who?? Who is worthy to be trusted with the secret to limitless power?
    Oogway: [shrugging] I don't know!
    [cut to Po clumsily weaving through the noodle shop customers]
  • The Anticipator: Master Shifu likely instructed the Furious Five to try to ambush him that day, but he couldn't know where or how. Nonetheless, Master Shifu easily thwarts all five forays against him, giving a critique on their technique as he does so.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Viper apologizes to Po for flipping him and hurting him. He responds by laughing and asking to go again.
  • Arc Symbol: Oddly enough, stairs. It's a fitting visual illustration for Po's entire character — he's so out of shape that it takes him a hilariously long time to get up any set of stairs, but he always reaches the top somehow. Each time Po has a major scene on a stairway, it marks an important milestone in his Character Development:
    • Trying to climb the stairs up to the palace to get to the tournament of the Dragon Warrior. It takes him a painfully long time to climb barely a half-a-dozen steps, and by the time he reaches the top, the tournament is underway and the doors to the palace are shutting.
    • Later, he tries to flee the Jade Temple when he learns that Tai Lung has escaped from prison and is headed his way, but Shifu stops him at the stairway. The two of them share an emotionally charged argument, where Po manages to leave Shifu speechless when he points out that neither of them think he'll ever be able to be the Dragon Warrior. This is our first big bombshell about how complex a person Po really is, where it's shown that his self-loathing runs far deeper than simply "not being able to do Kung Fu."
    • Finally, he climbs the stairs again in the climax to rescue Shifu from Tai Lung. He's still badly out of breath this time — but he wins the fight with Tai Lung anyway, because at this point he's learned that becoming a master of Kung Fu doesn't rely on physical strength alone.
  • Arc Words: "There are no accidents."
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Tai Lung. Also, Tigress; there are plenty of parallels between her and Tai Lung, which is why Shifu is so harsh towards her.
  • Artistic Age: Type 2; Given that these are animals, it's hard to determine anyone's specific age. According to Secrets of the Furious Five and the sequel, Tigress and Crane are mentioned to at least be in their 30s or 40s, so it's safe to assume that other members of the Five and Po are about the same. The sequel confirms Po's age. Po was a baby when Shen massacred his home village 30 years ago, so he's 31, give or take a year. However, the third film has Mr. Ping mention that he hid the truth from Po about his adoption for 20 years.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • All of the various characters seem to have around the same level of physical strength, despite being radically different species. Mantis is portrayed as having Super Strength as he is able to bear the weight of an entire rope bridge and his four allies and Tai Lung.
    • Po claims he doesn't have claws or any other natural weapons. Pandas, like all bears, have claws, as well as teeth, and can be very ferocious animals when provoked. Bears Are Bad News applies to pandas as well.
    • Tai Lung has too many incisor teeth.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Mantis seems to be given Super Strength as he is shown performing feats of strength that would be impossible for a human-sized kung fu master, let alone an insect only a few inches tall. However, the biggest license is taken when he supports the bridge during the fight with Tai Lung. Regardless of his level of strength, he simply does not have the mass to be able to hold the bridge aloft.
  • Art Shift: The introduction scene uses a significantly different art style than the rest of the film.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The whole story is built around kung fu fan Po becoming a kung fu master himself.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Oogway dematerializes in a cloud of peach blossoms petals.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: All over the place, but a subtle, easy to miss example gives you an early glimpse of how Tigress will act towards Po. After he crashlands in the Jade Palace, the POV shot from Po shows the Furious Five all looking at him with looks that are a mix of confusion and concern... except for Tigress, who looks like she's about to cold-cock him.
  • Ass Kicks You: When Tai Lung and Po finally meet, Tai Lung mocks him in precisely this manner. "What are you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?" This is exactly what happens when the two are tumbling down the long stairs from the temple.
  • Audible Gleam: Somehow, the final dumpling has this when Po finally wins it.
  • Awesomeness Is a Force: The former Trope Namer. Its over-exposure can cause blindness.
  • Badass Adorable: Baby Tai Lung and Tigress.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Also qualifying as an Insult Backfire is Po's "I'm not a big fat panda... I'm THE Big Fat Panda!"
    • Shifu's first line is both an insult and a Badass Boast. Five kung-fu masters ambush him from different directions...
      Shifu: Well done, students! — if you were trying to disappoint me!
  • Badass Crew: The Furious Five, naturally. The bridge fight with Tai Lung shows just how well-earned their title as the top kung fu masters of China are.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Referenced in Po's quote at the top of this page: what looks to be a moment of awesomeness instead falls flat, literally... Only to be Doubly Subverted when, just as he's about to get up and go home, the firecrackers have a delayed ignition.
    • The second day of Po's "training" starts off with Shifu and the Five thinking Po has quit (much to Shifu’s and Tigress’s pleasure) when they discover that his room was empty. When they get to the Training Hall, they're shocked to find that Po actually woke up earlier than everybody else to get started on that day’s training (and somehow got himself stuck in the device used to hone flexibility).
    • At the end, when Shifu is lying wounded on the ground and slowly closes his eyes:
      Shifu: Thank you, Po. Thank you... thank you...
      Po: ...No! No, Master Shifu, don't die!
      Shifu: [suddenly opens eyes] I'm not dying, you idiot!
    • Our first glimpse of Mr. Ping is the shadow he casts on the ground. The way the shadow is shaped is a clear outline of a panda head, but then the scene reveals that he is a goose, and the shadow is formed by him and the objects he's holding.
    • After a depressed Po is not motivated by Mr. Ping calling them "noodle folk", he says "Honestly, sometimes I can't believe I'm actually your son." When Mr. Ping looks sheepish and says he going to tell Po "something he should have told him a long time ago", the audience is fully expecting a reveal about Po being adopted. Instead, he gives him the secret of his Secret Ingredient Soup.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • Shifu on his first assessment of Po.
      Shifu: When you focus on Kung Fu, when you concentrate... you stink.
    • Crane frees Po after he gets caught trying to do the split.
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette:
    • In Mr. Ping's first scene, Po comes downstairs with a shadow resembling a panda on the floor in front of him. The camera then shows that the shadow is from Mr. Ping holding a bunch of pots and bags in front of himself, which he puts aside to reveal to the audience that Po's father is actually a goose.
    • After the final battle, Po walks toward the crowd surrounded by a dust cloud so that his silhouette matches the legendary warrior from his opening dream, complete with a rounded hat and a cape billowing in the wind. After the dust clears, it turns out he has a wok as his "hat" and an apron as his "cape".
  • Battle Cry:
  • Bears Are Bad News: Inverted. Po is a giant softie and thinks he'd make an incompetent fighter because he's a panda. Justified, in that Tai Lung's first response to finding out a panda is the Dragon Warrior is to mock him. Apparently, the idea is commonplace in this world. Until Po beats up Tai Lung, that is.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The reason Shifu gives when he finally decided to train Po. Of course, the reality is quite different, given he wasn't so receptive in the beginning.
  • Behind the Black: When Shifu reveals to Po and the Five that Tai Lung has escaped, neither Shifu or the Five notice Po sneaking out of the room in plain sight.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Po is a compassionate guy who can make awesome noodle soup and has a sense of humor. Tai Lung finds out just how dangerous a panda can be in combat after he taunts Po about "sitting" on him.
  • Be Yourself: The lesson of the Dragon Scroll is the epitome of this principle which is the true heart of all styles of Kung Fu. One masters a style of Kung Fu that resonates best with one's true self. Shifu failed as a teacher to train Po in the hard styles of the Furious Five, but succeeded when he trained Po using food as the motivator. Po succeeded in Kung Fu when he stopped trying to imitate the Furious Five and developed his own "panda style". The Scroll had a mirror surface showing the image of the person looking at it, because the power, skill and value are all within them, not bestowed by the Scroll.
  • Beyond the Impossible: When Tai Lung escapes, there's a moment where he jumps on falling rocks at a rate faster than at which they're falling, and fighting against gravity. This allows him to reach the prison's stalactites, and the dynamite attached to them. Vachir goes This Is Gonna Suck.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Po's arrival just when Tai Lung is about to kill Shifu. Simultaneously played straight and parodied (he arrives just in time... but is almost completely exhausted from running up the many stairs to the Jade Palace).
  • Big Eater: Po, of course, but Shifu is not far behind. During Po's training montage, you see him pack away a large amount of food in only a few seconds.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature:
    • When Po says, "Hi Dad", the camera shows a panda-shaped shadow, but it turns out to be Ping, a duck — the panda shadow was caused by a sack he was carrying.
    • When Po returns from his fight with Tai Lung, he seems to be dressed exactly like the Dragon Warrior Po from his fantasy. No, just a wok on his head and table clothes draped on him.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Oogway selecting Po to be the Dragon Warrior results in this trope ensuing from several different parties: Po himself, the Furious Five, Shifu, and Mr. Ping all get a turn to react.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Every ideogram which appears.
    • Oogway is Chinese for "turtle". (Making the character "Master Turtle")
    • Shifu is Chinese for "teacher/father". Since he is a red panda he couldn't be called "Master Panda".
    • Tai Lung means Big/Great Dragon, which just shows how much ambition Shifu placed in his student/adopted son to be the Dragon Warrior.
    • Chorh-Gom Prison's name is Cantonese for "Sitting in prison" or just "In prison".
  • Blank Book: The Dragon Scroll. Since this is Kung Fu Panda it's actually a Type 4. The Dragon Scroll has a reflective surface that hides a Secret Test of Character; only people who could look at themselves and believe they are truly special are able to achieve greatness.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • Oogway and Shifu have a discussion about how control is an illusion. Oogway uses the peach tree as an example: you cannot control when the fruit will bloom, or how fast they will grow. Shifu counters that you can decide when to pluck the fruit, and plant the seeds. Oogway wins the argument by saying certain things are fixed, no matter how much control you exert on the tree, you can't make it bloom anything but a peach. This leads to the paradoxical lesson, you're able to gain more control over life when you accept those things that are beyond your power.
    • During their fight, Tai Lung and Shifu bring up legitimate points about their behavior. Shifu points out that Tai Lung didn't have to give into wrath and betray his master or the Valley of Peace. Tai Lung retorts that he spent his life pleasing Shifu and training for hours to earn a destiny he ultimately couldn't claim. Shifu concedes that he was more in the wrong when Tai Lung wins the fight.
  • Break the Haughty: Tai Lung gets one over the course of his life. He's raised by a doting kung fu master, who told him he was destined to be the Dragon Warrior. Then Oogway denies him, and he gets locked up after trying to take the scroll by force. Even though he makes his escape and defeats Shifu's new students, Tai Lung finds out the scroll has nothing but a reflective surface. Then he gets thrashed by an amateur panda who turns all his attacks against him and gives him the Wuxi Finger Hold.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Po imitates Master Shifu's voice when doing an impression of him after he's cooked dinner for the Furious Five. It's funny enough to get most of them (except Tigress) guffawing.
  • Bullet Time: Played straight as often as it is parodied.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Vichir harasses Tai Lung by telling him he's not getting what drove him to villainy and nonchalantly stomping on his tail to see how apparently "weakened" he is. It ends as well as you'd expect.
    Vachir: Hey, tough guy! Did you hear? Oogway is about to give someone the Dragon Scroll, and it's not gonna be you.
    Zeng: What are you doing? Don't make him mad!
    Vachir: What's he gonna do? I've got him completely immobilized. [Deliberately stomps on Tai Lung's tail and laughs it off] Oh, did I step on the widdle kitty's tail? Aw.

    Zeng: [after watching Tai Lung barrel his way through all of Chorh-Gom's security measures and guards and landing right in front of him] Can we run now??
    Vachir: [basically peeing his pants] Yes.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Po, for most of the movie. He gives the "Butt Monkey Ball" to Tai Lung near the end of the film.
    • Appropriately, Monkey also gets the most Butt Monkey moments out of all the Furious Five.

    Tropes C to D 
  • Call-Back:
    • Po raids Monkey's almond cookie stash after Shifu tells him where Monkey hides it. During the end credits, Monkey is confused at finding his stash empty as Po stands in the hallway nearby with almond cookie crumbs on his mouth indicating that Po continues to raid the cookies.
    • Also during the end credits, Zeng attempts to fix the Urn of Whispering Warriors which Po accidentally broke upon entering the Jade Palace.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Near the end of the movie, Tai Lung gives Shifu one, basically calling him out saying "I spent my life training for a goal you said I was destined for but didn't have the authority to actually grant." Shifu apologizes for his mistakes he made raising Tai Lung but Tai Lung declares that he doesn't want an apology and proceeds to strangle his former master, claws raised.
    Tai Lung: I rotted in jail for 20 years, because of your weakness!
    Shifu: Obeying your master is not weakness!
    Tai Lung: You knew I was the Dragon Warrior! You always knew. But when Oogway said otherwise, what did you do? What did you do?! NOTHING!
    Shifu: You were not meant to be the Dragon Warrior! That was not my fault!
    Tai Lung: [furious] Not. Your. Fault?! Who filled my head with dreams?! Who drove me to train until my bones cracked?! Who denied me my destiny!?
  • Call to Adventure: Hilariously played with. Po jumps at the call, then stays on even as everyone mocks him, then runs screaming from the call, saying he isn't the Dragon Warrior, when he realizes that he'll have to go up against Tai Lung.
  • Captain Obvious: Tai Lung fills this role nicely when he meets the Dragon Warrior and learns he's a panda.
    Tai Lung: [to Shifu] He's a panda! [to Po] You're a panda!
  • Carnivore Confusion: About the only foods shown in the movie are noodles, peaches, almond cookies, soup, and dumplings. The subject of meat (felines are obligate carnivores) never comes up as Tigress is shown eating tofu. According to Word Of God, all the animals are vegetarians which is necessary in this world to avoid a Sapient Eat Sapient scenario.
  • Cassandra Truth: Everybody, up to and including Po himself, believed that Oogway selecting him as the Dragon Warrior was a complete accident. However, "There are no accidents." Cue Po actually going from a kung fu fanboy to the Dragon Warrior.
  • Cats Are Mean: Tai Lung, a snow leopard who represents Leopard Kung Fu, and Tigress, who represents the more strength-oriented Tiger Kung Fu.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Initially, Po can't do the most basic kung fu maneuvers but can perform impressive feats of acrobatics while trying to get food. Fittingly, when it's pointed out to him he's ten feet off the ground in a perfect split he falls flat on his face.
  • Chef of Iron: Once Po is trained, he's a Type 1.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • During the acupuncture scene, Mantis points out that he can't do the procedure correctly because Po's body fat keeps getting in the way. This protects Po when Tai Lung tries to utilize a Pressure Point attack against him.
    • The recipe for "Secret Ingredient Soup", which Mr. Ping promised to reveal to Po actually provides Po with the answer to the Dragon Scroll: there is no secret ingredient, it's what you do yourself to make it good.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    Tai Lung: Our battle will be legendary!
  • Chilly Reception: Oogway's selection of Po was not initially accepted by any of the other masters and they made no secret of their disdain (Tigress especially), but Po warms up the atmosphere in due time with his humor and cooking.
  • The Chooser of The One: Master Oogway chooses who becomes the Dragon Warrior.
  • The Chosen One: The Dragon Warrior is the mystical kung fu master who will bring peace to the valley (and to Shifu as well, as it turns out). Half this movie is dedicated to whether or not Po really is the right Chosen One.
  • Citywide Evacuation: Towards the film's end, the Furious Five evacuate the Valley so they won't be in Tai Lung's warpath when he arrives.
  • Color Motif:
    • Word Of God says the color gold was used to symbolize heroism in the film and Po's training sequence is tinged with gold. Tai Lung's eyes are also gold — because in his eyes, he is the hero of the story. The same applies to the gold-eyed Tigress, who was supposed to be chosen to become the Dragon Warrior until Po came along.
    • Word Of God says that green represents wisdom (the reason why Po's eyes are green: he has the capacity for great wisdom). In the film's color theory white, orange and brown represent honor, energy and dedication (the reason why Shifu's design incorporates all three, "to visually support [his] character traits").
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Po uses anything he comes across in the final battle, from noodles, bent over trees, woks, roof tiles, bamboo sticks to his opponent's own tail.
    • The Five ambush Tai Lung on the bridge, gang up on him from every direction, tie him up, cut the bridge, and drop him into the gorge. They straight up try to end the fight as quickly as possible, because he's that big a threat.
  • Comfort Food: Po eats when he's upset, which he admits himself.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: The film takes the time to justify this trope. Realizing they can't help him stop Tai Lung, Shifu commands the students to do the next best thing, and organize the evacuation of the town. When Po and Tai Lung tear their way through many buildings in the final battle, there's no collateral damage to worry about.
  • Covert Pervert: In the scene when Tigress performs a split and breaks the plates that Shifu throws as a demonstration of flexibility, Po's reaction is one of Nerdgasm and when Tigress lands in front of Po, his face implies that he might well be admiring her ass.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Done in the same fashion as the opening sequence. First it's the animated cast, then pictures depicting slices of their lives after the end of the movie. Some are heartwarming.
  • Cue the Sun: As the morning sun comes up, Shifu discovers the solution of how to train Po. It's also dawn when Po shows up to face Tai Lung and defeat him.
  • Cynical Mentor: Shifu became this after Tai Lung's turn to evil.
  • Darkest Hour: All the heroes have a soul-crushingly heartrending night when Master Oogway, the one who stopped Tai Lung before and the only one who has faith in Po as the Dragon Warrior, dies, leaving Master Shifu with a seemingly impossible promise to train the fat panda, while Po now fully realizes how hopeless he truly is on top of his profound self-loathing that even Shifu cannot alleviate while Tigress feels no other choice but to defy her master and set out to stop Tai Lung herself despite his prohibition.
  • Dead Hat Shot: The last we see of Vachir is his golden horn cover landing in the snow.
  • Death Course: The training dojo includes a wide variety of deadly obstacles that the Furious Five use for their daily training. When Po tries it on his first days, he's quickly pulverized.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Tigress is rigid, tough and disciplined due to Shifu being her Cynical Mentor after Tai Lung turned evil. We see a sign of her softening when she gives a smile to the Furious Five after they decide to follow her and take on Tai Lung together. As she accepts that Po has earned the role of Dragon Warrior that she thought she was being prepared for and that Master Shifu has obtained peace over his failure with Tai Lung, she herself is able to mellow even further.
    • The male equivalent with Shifu. He only starts smiling after doing the When You Snatch the Pebble test with Po, and comes back smiling and able to exchange playful jokes with Po.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The opening has Po narrating that "Legend tells of a legendary warrior... whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend..." as well as mentioning the "most heroic heroes of China" and the "thousand demons of Demon Mountain".
  • Determinator:
    • For most of his training, Po refuses to give up no matter how badly he's beaten to a pulp or insulted by everyone around him, until he comes to feel that even "the greatest kung fu teacher in all of China" couldn't make him anything more than just some ordinary schmuck.
    • Tai Lung hasn't given up on claiming the Dragon Scroll after twenty years of imprisonment.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The main reason Master Oogway dies is so he's not available to use his nerve attack to deal with Tai Lung because he knows that Shifu won't successfully train Po as the Dragon Warrior as long as he keeps relying on Oogway.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Po's Rage Against the Mentor speech to Shifu at the stairs. Underneath Po's jovial facade is a panda with self-loathing, who was greatly hurt by abuse and insults, including those Shifu threw at him in order to get him to leave. Shifu didn't realize the depth of Po's feelings and desires until this point leading to a My God, What Have I Done? moment... which is subtly shared by Tigress who was eavesdropping on the conversation.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Played straight with Master Oogway. Parodied at the end with Master Shifu, who ends up surviving his fight with Tai Lung but was exhausted from doing so.
  • Disability Immunity: Po is so chubby that Tai Lung's pressure-point attacks don't work on him, only succeeding in tickling him.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: The Furious Five and Shifu dislike Oogway's decision to select Po as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: The ultimate defeat of Tai Lung isn't shown directly, but from afar people are shown as seeing a big explosion.
  • Doorstop Baby: Tai Lung was found by Shifu at the door of Jade Palace.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Jack Black sings "Kung Fu Fighting" with Cee-Lo Green during the end credits.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The Furious Five are only ever called Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey. Although, given that Shifu tends to call Po "Panda", they might actually have names...
  • Don't Think, Feel:
    • As Shifu explains to Po, when he concentrates on doing Kung Fu he stinks, but when he takes his mind off of it (like when he wants food) he shows a great deal of natural skill and potential. All that was needed was for it to be unlocked and grown.
    • The reverse is true, too. Shifu admits that he was trying too hard to train Po as he did the others, and that he had to take a non-traditional route with Po.
  • Double Don't Know: How Shifu responds to Po's Armor-Piercing Question of just how he intends to turn a clumsy, overweight panda into The Chosen One. It's fairly well-executed: an agitated Shifu shouts the first "I don't know", takes a moment to calm himself, then repeats it in a much more resigned tone.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Shifu forbids the Furious Five from engaging with Tai Lung, but after watching Shifu fail to explain how he can make Po into the Dragon Warrior, Tigress goes off to stop Tai Lung herself. She is quickly pursued by rest of the Furious Five only to be told they don't want to stop her but that they are coming with her.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The Dragon Scroll, which is held in the jaws of a giant dragon statue. The taijitu also appears as The Pool of Sacred Tears, as well as the symbol on the back of Oogway's cloak.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Occurs during the messenger's flight to Tai Lung's prison, and his flight back from it. Again during the fight between Tai Lung and Shifu.
  • Dramatic Wind: After the climactic fight, Po walks toward the crowd surrounded by a dust cloud so that his silhouette matches the legendary warrior from his opening dream, complete with a rounded hat and a cape billowing in the wind. It's Played for Laughs because the wind that billows his cape does not disturb the dust cloud at all and it stops the instant he emerges from the dust to reveal a wok as his "hat" and an apron as his "cape".
  • Dramedy: For all the humor and action, there is a powerful theme about family and heroism in the story.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The movie intro has Po dreaming of himself being an uber-awesome legendary kung-fu warrior, who is a respected friend of the Furious Five. After defeating Tai Lung, Po emerges from the dust casting a silhouette that resembles his dream warrior image only to be confronted by the Furious Five who bow in respect and call him a master.
  • Dream Intro: The intro starts with Po being an uber-awesome legendary kung fu warrior and then Po wakes up, revealing that that was just a dream and he's just the son of a noodle cook.
  • DreamWorks Face: Look at the poster.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Oogway's ascension to the Spirit Realm is marked by a storm of petals carrying him into the air.

    Tropes E to F 
  • Eccentric Mentor: Oogway.
  • Elephant in the Room: Po's father is a goose, but it's never even acknowledged by any of the characters in the first film. It's subtly referenced at a scene near the end: Po says he sometimes "can't believe I'm really your son!" because they're such different people. There's an awkward pause, and his father tells him there's "something he should know"... and it turns out he's just telling him the secret ingredient of his secret ingredient soup. It is a plot point in the sequel, though.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: The fact that Po is so enthusiastic about learning kung fu, combined with his self-esteem issues keeping him from actually making any headway, leads The Stoic Tigress to assume he's treating everything as a joke, when the truth is far more somber.
  • Empathic Environment: When Shifu fights Tai Lung, it's a dark and stormy night. Po arrives on the scene at the crack of dawn and the world begins to be bathed in warm sunlight and the clouds start to break up.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Becomes part of Po's "final exam" after Shifu takes him to the Pool of Sacred Tears for training. Shifu puts out a bowl of steamed buns and tells Po that his training is complete and he is free to eat. However, each time Po attempts to eat a bun, Shifu steals it out from under him and it becomes apparent that the test is for Po to keep at least one bun from being eaten by Shifu.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Po demonstrates magnificent feats during his fight with Tai Lung, the leopard believes the scroll gave Po powers. It's understandable, since Tai Lung doesn't realize the scroll is just a reflective piece of paper.
  • Epic Fail: Po's first attempt at training with Shifu. He punches a doll meant for training children which immediately bounces back up smacking him in the face. This not only causes him to lose a tooth but also knocks him into the advanced training area where he is viciously beaten and burned.
    Shifu: There is now a level zero.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Tai Lung feels this way when Shifu doesn't speak up after Oogway refuses to give him the Dragon Scroll.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • When Shifu discovers just what kind of feats Po can achieve in his pursuit of food, he finally realizes how to train him in kung fu.
    • The Secret Ingredient of Po's father's "Secret Ingredient Soup" causes Po to realize the significance and true meaning of the Dragon Scroll: there is no secret ingredient to make something, or someone, special.
  • Evil Brit: Tai Lung, a villainous kung fu master voiced by the British Ian McShane.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Tai Lung is totally unable to understand the Dragon Scroll's wisdom. If there is no secret he's been fighting for, after all, he's been destroying everything he once loved for nothing.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Tigress and Tai Lung were both orphans who were abandoned by their parents, and revealed to be ridiculously strong and talented in kung fu at young ages upon being adopted by Master Shifu. They were also pretty bitter over not being chosen to become the legendary Dragon Warrior, but Tigress chose to let it go and better herself so she could stay an honorable person, while Tai Lung let his resentment consume him until he was willing to go on rampages for power, just to validate himself. Thus, Tai Lung symbolizes what Tigress could've become, had she let her pride and anger at being passed over for someone else cloud her actions and personality.
    • Po and Tai Lung had their entire lives revolve around kung fu; Tai Lung was a star student who received training early in his youth, while Po is a humble noodlemaker and obsessive fan boy who has memorized everything related to kung fu and its history. Tai Lung let his skill and talent go to his head and expected to become the Dragon Warrior because he was physically skilled enough to be so, only to crumble when Oogway refused him. On the other hand, Po had to work his way up to become a kung fu master, and was chosen by Oogway because of his humility and eagerness to learn and better himself, qualities a true Dragon Warrior should have.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Tigress listens in on Po and Shifu's conversation before Tai Lung's arrival, only to hear Po calling out Shifu for the mistreatment and abuse he and his students constantly gave him, just for being the "wrong" person to be the Dragon Warrior. It leads to a subtle My God, What Have I Done? moment for Tigress, who was treated similarly herself as a child, and begins to feel bad for doing the same to Po.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: For those of us who know Mandarin Chinese (as opposed to other dialects), some of the names are also this trope. Oogway, if pronounced the right way, means "turtle". Shifu means "master" and is generally used in the context of the master training a student. This also doubles up as a slight redundancy when Po calls Shifu "Master Shifu" or "Master master". Unfortunately does not apply to Po or Tai Lung, as the variation in how those names might be intoned make it impossible to confirm which particular Mandarin word they are referring to. Interestingly, Tai Lung could be translated to "Great Dragon"... so you can see why he thought he had the "Dragon Warrior" prophecy in the bag.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Tai Lung was revealed to have gone through one in flashbacks after being passed over for the position of Dragon Warrior.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The hand-drawn opening sequence and its Buffy Speak meets Totally Radical narrative voice over are revealed to be part of a dream Po is having: the rest of the film is 3D animation and more conventionally written.
  • Fallen Hero: Tai Lung used to be an honorable martial artist but then found out he was not meant to be the Dragon Warrior.
  • Family Business: The noodle shop. Slightly parodied: "...and then you will fulfill your destiny and take over the restaurant: just as I took it over from my father, who took it over from his father, who won it from a friend in a game of mahjong."
  • Fate Worse than Death: By all appearances, Tai Lung hasn't just been imprisoned for decades, but immobilized (and tormented by the guards when they had the chance) for 20 years. It may have been more humane to just kill him instead. Downplayed in this case; since his body didn't seriously atrophy (Master Shifu remarks his strength actually increased post-imprisonment) he may have been meditating the entire time to focus his Chi.
  • Fatal Flaw: Wrath for Tai Lung. After decades of demanding training from Shifu who assured him that he was going to be the Dragon Warrior, Tai Lung is furious at being denied the Dragon Scroll. Not even years in prison tempered his anger since his only thought upon escaping is to inflict his vengeance on the valley of Peace. Even when Po pauses in their fight to show sympathy about him not understanding the scroll, he responds in anger rather than face his failure.
  • Fight for the Last Bite: Po and Master Shifu are eating dumplings. When it's down to the last one, Shifu makes it as an impromptu training for Po by snatching it just as the latter's about to eat it. Fight over dumpling ensues, and Po slowly but surely hones his reflexes... until he manages to grab it. Then he decides to give it to Shifu instead, saying that he's not so hungry anymore. Shifu sees it as a sign of growth.
  • Fighting Panda: Played With. Despite being the character and the title of the film being Kung-Fu Panda, Po the panda starts the film with no martial arts training at all, and spends much of it as the least competent martial artist among the other animals. However, he does eventually grow into the position of The Chosen One, and is a good martial artist for the rest of the franchise.
  • Finger Extinguisher: Po learns how to extinguish a flame with his bare hand during his training.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Comes in two flavours — the Wuxi Fingerhold for Shifu and Po and a paralyzing nerve strike for Tai Lung and Oogway.
  • Finishing Move: The Wuxi Fingerhold and the Nerve Strike attack.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Po and Shifu, as well as Po and the rest of the Five.
  • First-Name Basis: For most of the movie, Po is called "Panda" by everybody in the Jade Palace. Then Shifu finally calls him by his name. Judging from earlier interactions, it's meant to be a pretty big deal.
  • Five-Man Band: The Furious Five, as of the first portion of the movie where they don't accept Po as one of theirs, form a team of five (as their name states). Tigress is considered by all of them to be a leader-figure who works with the four others — Monkey, Crane, Mantis, and Viper — and their vastly different fighting styles and skillsets.
  • Floorboard Failure: Happens to Po as he tries to sneak down a hallway late at night.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Shifu sends Zeng to Chorh-ghom Prison to verify Tai Lung's security, Oogway accurately warns him, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." Sure enough, Tai Lung manages to escape, all because Zeng left him a feather.
      • In a more minor example, when Shifu sends Zeng the goose to Chor-Ghom, Zeng briefly hits a pillar and a few feathers fall off showing that he is molting. Tai Lung uses one to pick the lock of his imprisonment.
    • The acupuncture scene. While mostly there for comedy, it gives an early hint about Po's nerve points being hard to hit under all his "Fat?" "I was going to say fur."
    • When Po plummets at the ground after being rocketed into the sky, he only loses consciousness for a few seconds, having suffered no further injuries even though falling from that height should at least have fractured some bones. This is another implication of how resistant his chubby body is to damage.
    • When Po is serving noodle soup to the Five, they remark that it tastes great, to which Po disagrees, saying it's nothing like his dad's soup that contains a secret ingredient, but the Five insist that it's amazing. Po later finds out his dad in fact doesn't use a secret ingredient, but "to make something special, you just have to believe it is", prompting him to realize his strength lies within himself.
    • Oogway briefly mentions that he feared he wouldn't live to see the Dragon Warrior selection day. He does, luckily, but later dies ++ as in, ascends to the Spirit Realm in a storm of petals.
    • Shifu mentions that the key to kung fu is turning your opponents' strength against them — foreshadowing how in the final battle, Tai Lung's blows cause Po to bounce back and hit him with equal force.
    • A clever hint that Po is actually far more agile and coordinated than his form might suggest comes during the dinner scene, when he pulls off a perfect Stealth Hi/Bye on Shifu while standing next to him.
  • Fork Fencing: Po and Shifu use their chopsticks and kung fu skills to literally duel for the last dumpling at the end of his training.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Po returns to his dad's shop when the village is being evacuated to avoid Tai Lung, watch his reaction as the apron magically appears around his waist after his dad hugs him.
    • Po and Shifu's chopstick fight. When Shifu takes the first dumpling there's a single frame where he's looking into the camera and smiling like he's posing for a photo.
    • Another one when Mantis was trying to give Po an acupuncture treatment. During the shot where Po falls down after making one funny face, Crane and Monkey can be seen, peeking through the door.
    • Blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but when Tai Lung says Po is "just a big... fat... panda!", Po's expression changes to one that is clearly unimpressed.
  • From Zero to Hero: The chubby kungfu-fan Po suddenly gets the title of Dragon Warrior bestowed upon him, and the movie shows how he begins to train to be deserving of that title. He subsequently makes good on that title several times over.

    Tropes G to H 
  • Game Changer: The unexpected dubbing of Po as The Dragon Warrior, a clumsy giant panda who turns out be a preternaturally talented martial artist of considerable power with the right instruction who also enables his colleagues to find a happiness they did not know they needed.
  • Genius Ditz: Po has The Gift but is too spaced out and lacking confidence to be aware of it.
  • Gentle Giant: Po, again. He's a panda and thus naturally big, but he's a sweetheart who loves to cook and has a good sense of humor. He eventually becomes a case of Beware the Silly Ones when pitted against Tai Lung.
  • The Gift:
    • Tai Lung, though it's to his detriment. He has a severe ego problem that prevents him from being truly receptive of the Dragon Scroll's wisdom. This is why Oogway refused to make him the Dragon Warrior. His response to this was less than cordial.
    • Po, though it takes some teasing out to get to it. Once Master Shifu figures out Po needs the incentive of food to make him fight well, Po learns very quickly.
  • Good Morning, Crono: Done to Po at the beginning of the movie when his dad wakes him up from a dream and tells him to wait tables.
  • Good Parents: Although Mr. Ping has unrealistic expectations regarding Po's interest in the noodle business, one can see that he is always there for his son, and is a loving, devoted father who cares for his well-being. When Po emerges victorious from his battle with Tai Lung, Mr. Ping runs forward and hugs him in relief that his son wasn't killed and proud that he proved himself.
  • Grim Up North: The forbidding, snow-wreathed mountains that house Chorh Gom prison, very appropriately found in Mongolia.
  • Groin Attack: Happens to Po the first time he tries out the Furious Five's training room.
    Po: Oh-ho-ho! My tenders!
  • Handicapped Badass: During a flashback we see Shifu hesitate when attacking Tai Lung, allowing the leopard to deflect his kick and break his leg. Shifu has needed a cane ever since although he's still a capable warrior who fought and defeated the Furious Five all by himself in a training session.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Downplayed with Po. While he has not been training as long or as hard as the Furious Five, he does put forth the effort during his training montage. His lack of a years of training is offset by his ability to watch kung fu techniques and figure out how they work, which is how he worked out the Wuxi Fingerhold all by himself. This idiot savant ability combined with his body fat allowed him to succeed against Tai Lung where the others failed.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Po has a psychological need to gorge on food when he is upset, so part of his training achievements include being able to conquer that urge as he grows spiritually healthier.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Tai Lung does it to himself. Tai Lung's rage falters for a moment when Shifu apologizes for how badly he screwed up raising him, but ultimately he hardens again and refuses to accept Shifu's apology.
  • Heel Realisation:
    • Master Shifu when Po tells him he's known all along that Shifu was trying to get rid of him, but he stayed because Shifu is the greatest Kung Fu Master in all of China and was hoping that Shifu could teach him how to not be someone that he himself despised. Since Shifu has been acting like a Jerkass and not a teacher (contrary to his own Master's wishes), he can't help feeling guilty.
    • When confronting Tai Lung, Shifu realizes his own pride was responsible for turning his favorite student into the monster he is now.
  • Heroic BSoD: Po suffers this most prominently when he looks inside the dragon scroll to find out it was just a reflective surface. He gets better after he finds out the true meaning of it with unexpected help from his father.
  • Heroic Resolve: As the junior novelization voiced the thoughts of most of the Five seeing Po endure Shifu's hopeless "training," without complaint "He can't be the Dragon Warrior but he's really tough!"
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shifu decides to stay behind and fight Tai Lung to allow time for for Po and the Furious Five to evacuate the villagers. Downplayed in that Shifu was completely willing to give his life to protect the valley, but Po rises to the role of Dragon Warrior and saves him at the last minute.
  • Hit Flash:
    • Po gets one when he crashes into the exhibition/ceremony.
    • Later, the Furious Five get one when Tai Lung defeats them on the bridge.
  • Hit Stop: The movie loves to use this trope, whether it be playing it straight, parodying it, or doing both. Take for example the scene where Tai Lung and Po are falling down the Absurdly Long Stairway, and the scene slowing down as when Tai Lung hits his face particularly hard. Becomes a Parody when the scene, still in slow-mo, shows Po landing ass first on Tai Lung's head.
  • Hope Spot:
    • During Tai Lung's escape, the guards manage to blow up the rocks near the entrance with stalactites and dynamite, sending Tai Lung falling. Vachir even laughs mockingly as the leopard goes down. Tai Lung then goes Beyond the Impossible by jumping upwards towards an intact stalactite, and weaponizing the dynamite attached to it to blow up the guards. Vachir starts sobbing and going This Is Gonna Suck.
    • Once played straight when the Furious Five seem to have sent Tai Lung to his Disney Villain Death. Unfortunately, he's tougher than he looks and manages to recover, using the rope wrapped around him to gain leverage.
    • Shifu holds his own fairly well against Tai Lung when the latter returns to the Jade Palace. He deflects most of the blows tossed his way, buying time for Po and the others to evacuate. Then Tai Lung brings out repeated nerve attacks, as well as calling out his father for filling him up with false hope that he was the Dragon Warrior. Eventually, Shifu collapses, and Tai Lung succeeds in snapping Oogway's staff. All Shifu can do is apologize to Tai Lung for failing him, and refusing to tell him while being strangled who has the Dragon Scroll.    
    • Inverted in the climax: it's Tai Lung who gets one when Po gives him the Wuxi Finger Hold:
      Tai Lung: You're bluffing! Shifu didn't teach you that!
      Po: No, he didn't. [cue Tai Lung's relieved face] I figured it out. [cue Tai Lung panicking] Skadoosh! [Critical Existence Failure ensues]
  • Humiliation Conga: Tai Lung and Po are evenly matched until Tai Lung fails to get the wisdom of the Dragon Scroll, even though Tai Lung is obviously focusing on the said scroll rather than his opponent. Po just takes being thrown around as good fun, while Tai Lung is obviously enraged by every setback, due to his overwhelming Pride. It can't be denied, however, that this trope is how Tai Lung views the final battle.

    Tropes I to J 
  • I Am Not Your Father: Subverted. As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that Mr. Ping, a goose, is not the biological father of Po, a panda. At one point it appears as if Ping is about to tell Po that he's adopted, but instead he reveals the secret ingredient of his Secret Ingredient Soup.
  • I Am Spartacus: A variant; Tigress tries to claim she is the Dragon Warrior when fighting Tai Lung on the bridge, both to intimidate him and to make sure he doesn't slaughter a defenseless panda. Tai Lung doesn't buy it; he says he knows none of the Five was chosen.
  • I Am What I Am: "I'm not a big fat panda. I'm THE big fat panda!"
  • I Gave My Word: Shifu promises Oogway he will accept Po as the Dragon Warrior and do his best to train him, minutes before Oogway unexpectedly passes away.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Tai Ling rejects both his former Master's apology, and the true message of the Dragon Scroll.
  • I Have No Son!: Shifu towards Tai Lung in the climax.
    Tai Lung: [standing on the steps of the Jade Palace for the first time in 20 years] I have come home, Master.
    Shifu: This is no longer your home. And I am no longer your master.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: A central theme of the movie as demonstrated by Po's dream of being a legendary warrior. There's more to it than that, though — Po suffers from extremely low self-esteem and wants more than the life he has now.
  • Impact Silhouette: During the final battle, when Tai Lung crashes to Earth, he leaves a hole with an outline of his body, including his tail.
  • Impairment Shot: Po knocks himself unconscious trying to get in to see the Furious Five. We get the Hit Flash, then the eye-shaped blink-blink as he awakens to see Master Oogway pointing at him as his choice for the Dragon Warrior.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: After Po earns the Dragon Scroll, he struggles to open the container. After Shifu opens it for him, Po gives him the "after I loosened it up" line.
  • Improbable Chopsticks Skill: Part of Po's improvised training. Shifu as well, as he taught Po.
  • Improv Fu: Half the final battle in the first film is Po fighting in this manner by using the items he's familiar with in his native town, frustrating Tai Lung.
  • Improvised Lockpick: A stray feather from Zeng's body lands near where Tai Lung is being held captive, and he uses it to unlock the cuffs holding him.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Yes, Tai Lung is badass he can set his paws on fire and not even get burned!
  • Ineffectual Loner: Defied. Tigress decides on her own to face and defeat Tai Lung. But before she leaves the town, the four other Furious show up and say they'll go with her, rather than trying to dissuade her from it.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Po realizes he has no kung fu training yet has been chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Although Master Shifu tries to get him to quit through verbal abuse and unfairly advanced training, Po accepts this with dogged determination in the hopes Shifu can make him into a kung fu master. Tai Lung, by contrast, was naturally adept in kung fu from a young age and was continually praised for his skill by Shifu that make him feel entitled to the title of Dragon Warrior which set him into a rage when denied the Dragon Scroll and was cast into Chorh-Gom prison.
  • Insult Backfire: After receiving a significant blow from Po, Tai Lung growls, "You can't defeat me! You're just a big... fat... panda!" Po retorts, "I'm not A big, fat panda. I'm THE big, fat panda!"
  • Interspecies Adoption: Po's father is a goose. The first movie manages not to bring this up at all, aside from a Bait-and-Switch in which his dad sits him down to tell him an important secret... the secret ingredient in the soup. The sequel provides some backstory, though, and the third film expands on this further. There's also Shifu's adoption of Tai Lung.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • The first time Shifu tells Po "Look at you!", he's caustically critical about his weight and smell. The next time, Shifu is admiring how Po managed to pull off some impressive moves and perform a perfect split.
    • When Po panics over Shifu threatening the Wuxi finger hold, Shifu asks "Oh, you know this hold?" Po repeats this in Shifu's accent when he's about to perform the move on Tai Lung.
  • Irony: Shifu talked about how Tai Lung would become strong enough one day to receive the Dragon Scroll, and Tai Lung trained hard to succeed and make him proud. This type of upbringing made him arrogant, entitled and power-hungry, precisely the character flaws that made him unsuitable to receive the scroll. And then when he finally reads it, his character flaws prevent him from understanding and accepting the very lesson the scroll is meant to teach.
  • Jerkass:
    • The pain of Tai Lung's Face–Heel Turn caused Shifu to withdraw showing affection to his students such that his lessons to the Furious Five are curt, harsh, and rarely complementary. Oogway diagnoses it as him lacking Inner Peace due to his failure with Tai Lung which is why he makes Shifu promise that he will train the Dragon Warrior.
    • Tigress behaves this way towards Po; even when her colleagues have warmed to him, recognizing his undeniable resolve, she remains coldly standoffish towards him as she believes he is not taking his kung fu training seriously.

    Tropes K to M 
  • Kevlard: Po's body fat is shown to make him resilient to impact from heights allowing him to bounce along the ground and makes him immune to nerve attacks.
  • Ki Manipulation: Both Oogway and Tai Lung are shown being able to do strikes to pressure points that block the flow of Ki in their opponent and cause paralysis.
  • Killed Off for Real: Oogway ascends to the Spirit Realm and the third film in the series confirms that Tai Lung was sent to the Spirit Realm by the Wuxi Fingerhold.
  • Land of Dragons: This is set in a version of medieval China, after all...
  • Large Ham: All of the narration/dialogue in the intro. It's made on purpose, of course.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Upon meeting Po for the first time, Tai Lung laughs and says, "What are you gonna do, sit on me?" Cue Po literally sitting on Tai Lung's head during their stairway tumble seconds later.
    • For that matter, all the one-sided beatdowns and cruelty the Furious Five and especially Shifu dished out to Po in the earlier act of the film? Tai Lung later hits them with worse, particularly Tigress.
  • Last Request: Oogway makes Shifu promise to believe that Po is the Dragon Warrior and to do his best to train him. Once Shifu agrees Oogway ascends to the Spirit Realm.
  • Last-Second Chance: The directors' commentary implies that Po's sharing of the Dragon Scroll's true meaning to Tai Lung could have meant his redemption, if he chose to accept it, but Tai Lung doesn't.
  • Last-Second Word Swap:
    Po: Ow! I thought you said acupuncture would make me feel better!
    Mantis: Trust me, it will. It's just not easy finding the right nerve points under all this—
    Po: Fat?
    Mantis: Fur! I was gonna say fur.
    Po: Sure you were.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Shifu when he realizes that he CAN train Po.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Crane rescues Po from his full split.
    Po: Oh, hey, thanks.
    Crane: Don't mention it.
    Po: No, really, I...
    Crane: Ev-er.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While all of the Furious Five are fast and capable of powerful attacks, Tigress best fits the Bruiser category. Also Po by the end of the movie and Tai Lung, of course.
  • Lightning Reveal: Doesn't even involve darkness. Master Shifu waits for Tai Lung on the stairs to the Jade Palace. Dramatic Thunder sounds and Shifu closes his eyes for a moment against the lightning. When he opens them, Tai Lung is standing before him.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: After learning the lesson from the Dragon Scroll, Po shows up at the Jade Palace to save Shifu and take on Tai Lung.
  • MacGuffin: The Dragon Scroll is rumored to bestow limitless power on the reader but is reserved for the Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung desires the scroll regardless of not being chosen
  • Made of Iron: The Furious Five, Shifu, and Tai Lung all survive a lot of punishment due to them being Kung Fu Masters. While Po is still in training and not yet a Master, his Kevlard body allows him to absorb a lot of damage without so much as a broken bone.
  • Magic Feather: The Secret Ingredient of the Secret Ingredient Soup, and the Dragon Scroll are both narrative devices intended to convey the lesson that to make something special you just have to believe it is special.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    Oogway/Shifu: You must continue your journey without me.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Shifu is Chinese for "master".
    • Tai Lung means "great/ultimate dragon".
    • Po also means "peace", and that's exactly what he brings to the valley.
    • Oogway means "turtle", but he's a tortoise.
    • Vachir means "thunderbolt", though unfortunately for him, it fits both him and his death. Powerful, direct and over in an instant.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Tai Ling does eventually gets his paws on the Dragon Scroll... but he can't grasp its spiritual lesson and he gets no value out of it.
  • Medium Blending: The opening and ending credits are 2D. The second film expands the concept, so several flashbacks and memories are in 2D, and the opening credits seem to be loosely based on Indian shadow puppetry.
  • Mentor Archetype: Shifu, though a pretty Jerkass one.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played straight for Oogway, who ascends and leaves Shifu in his place, and deliciously subverted for Shifu himself.
  • Meteor Move: Tai Lung pulls off two of these while still airborne: first he kicks Po to the ground with enough force to create a small crater, then deepens said crater by flipping upside down and driving his fists into his fallen opponent.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Po is beaten by Mantis using this style of beatdown.
  • Million-to-One Chance: Guided by Because Destiny Says So, the one feather Vachir knocked loose landed just within Tai Lung's reach and provided him a tool he could use to escape.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Epic Kung Fu mastery aside, Master Shifu is tiny. Justified, given he's a red panda which are approximately the size of a big male cat.
  • Misplaced Retribution:
    • When Tai Lung is denied the Dragon Scroll he comes on a rampage through the Valley of Peace even though none of the citizens had anything to do with him being rejected as the Dragon Warrior.
    • Oogway pinpoints that Shifu is taking out his frustration of Tai Lung's failure on Po, because an untrained panda doesn't seem like he can stop Tai Lung and assuage Shifu of his guilt. He talks with Shifu about the illusion of control, and that Shifu has a choice; he uses the peach tree as an analogy, where Po is a peach seed. Oogway says that Shifu can't wish for a peach seed to grow into an apple tree, but what he can do is nurture the seed to grow, especially since Shifu knows how to plant one in the ground. 
  • Missing Mom: Po's adoptive father doesn't seem to be married.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Tai Lung's prison escape starts with some Black Comedy, as Vachir tortures him to reassure Zheng that the leopard is locked up. Then Tai Lung launches a Curb-Stomp Battle against all of the guards and doesn't give up, including the part where he tosses Vachir's own dynamite at the rhino and his army, proceeding to blast them off the mountain. Zheng is lucky to be alive.
    • An overwhelmingly sad moment from Tigress's backstory is immediately followed up by the gag of Po suddenly adopting a ridicuous face and says "Dooooiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnng...!". It turns out Mantis' acupuncture was to blame.
    • The iconic moment Shifu and Po share at the mountain path comes off the heels of a gag where Po was comically running and screaming down the mountain after slipping away from Shifu.
    • The final battle, taking place right after the incredibly serious battle between Shifu and Tai Lung.
  • Motor Mouth: Po.
    Po: I should probably stop talking.
    Shifu: If you can.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: Master Oogway is to choose one of the Furious Five (who have all received extensive kung fu training) to become the Dragon Warrior, but ends up choosing Po due to his accidentally crashing into the middle of the ceremony. Oogway decides that this is the universe making its preference known.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Realistically, there's no way that Shifu, Monkey, Viper, Crane, Mantis, Tigress, Po and especially Tai Lung could carry out the feats of strength and endurance they are shown doing in the film. However, as they are patterned after Kung Fu Warriors of Chinese Folklore, their kung fu skill (and the implied Chi manipulation) is all that matters, even when you're holding up a rope bridge with five people standing on it.
  • My Greatest Failure: How Shifu regards his training of Tai Lung, and it showed in his raising and training of Tigress and the Furious Five.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Tai Lung is set up to be a bigger threat with his expertise in kung fu and outsmarting his opponents; even with the Furious Five working together with their different fighting styles to restrain and kill him, he still manages to come out on top by using nerve strikes against them. Thus, the Dragon Scroll is needed to obtain the power to defeat him. Once Po realizes the secret of the Dragon Scroll, he proceeds to beat Tai Lung and then obliterate him with the Wuxi Finger Hold.
  • Mystical Jade: The sacred palace where kung fu masters reside is called the Jade Palace. It is situated atop Jade Mountain, and it is known to be a place of justice, honor, and knowledge.

    Tropes N to O 
  • Never Say "Die": The series all but confirms that Po killed Tai Lung, but he never actually says it. He actually "skadooshed" him. Based on what happened in the end of the movie, this trope isn't far off since we never saw the body. Kung Fu Panda 3 all but explicitly confirmed it since it shows that the Wuxi Finger Hold banishes those who are "skadooshed" to the Spirit Realm.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: It's an action/comedy, but the trailer puts more emphasis on the "comedy" than the actual movie does.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Shifu's paranoia led him to send Zeng to double-check Tai Lung's imprisonment, which ends up providing Tai Lung the feather he uses to escape. As Oogway cautioned Shifu...
      Oogway: One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.
    • Going even further, after Tai Lung picks the lock of his shell, nearly every security measure the rhinos at the prison use to stop him only manages to help him get further. The oversized crossbow bolts they fire turn out to be perfect tools to break the rest of his chains, and then climb the prison walls. The lift mechanism they used to try and strand him down there turns out to still be climbable as well, as they don't cut it higher up, and then their last-ditch dynamite turns out to be the perfect weapon to take out the rest of the rhinos guarding the entrance.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
  • Noisy Nature: Mantis's combat scenes are accompanied by incongruous cricket-chirps. Mantids aren't crickets, although they're at least in the same infraclass.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: A very short one from Po, at that:
    Tai Lung: You... can't defeat me... You're just a big... fat... panda!
    Po: I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm the big, fat panda.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Furious Five, a name given to a group of five powerful kung fu masters.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Most characters doesn't sound Chinese. The ones that do are played by Chinese actors.
  • Not Worth Killing: After defeating and immobilizing the entire Furious Five, Tai Lung opts to let them return to Shifu as a form of gloating. He's saving that for the Dragon Warrior.
  • Oblivious Adoption: At first, the film didn't immediately establish its rules regarding cross-species relationships or breeding that's necessary in a World of Funny Animals setting. However, as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that Po and Ping's relationship is unique and that Po accepts that his father is a goose without question. While the issue is hinted at a few times, the story deals with it in a Bait-and-Switch manner.
    Ping: We are noodle folk. Broth runs deep through our veins.
    Po: I don't know Dad. Honestly, sometimes I can't believe I'm actually your son.
    Ping: [looking sheepish] Po, I think it's time I told you something I should have told you a long time ago... ... the secret ingredient in my Secret Ingredient Soup.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Since Po arrives just as they shut the gates to the Jade Palace, the tournament to choose the Dragon Warrior is only barely seen by both the audience and Po, but we're told they contain events like Crane vs the Thousand Tongues of Fire or Tigress vs Iron Ox and his Blades of Death.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Po's highlighted in slow motion "Oh, crap!" when charged by Tai Lung.
    • And Tai Lung's expression when Po reveals he knows how to use the Wuxi Finger Hold, followed by an apprehensive cringe.
    • Shifu when Oogway tells him of his vision that Tai Lung will return.
    • Even Oogway has a mild example:
      Shifu: It's very bad news...
      Oogway: Oh, Shifu, there is just "news". There is no good or bad.
      Shifu: Your vision was right! Tai Lung has broken out of prison! He's on his way!
      Oogway: [freezes in place] That is bad news.
    • At the last instant of Tai Lung's escape:
      Zeng: Can we run now?!
      Vachir: [tiny voice] Yes.
  • Old Master: Both Oogway and Shifu play the trope straight.
  • One-Man Army: Tai Lung escaping from prison. He picks the lock of his restraining shackles with a feather, then dodges hundreds of arrows, ballista bolts and explosions. When they destroy the bridge he is on, Tai Lung climbs up the falling debris to get to the top. Finally he fights his way past the remaining rhino guards and sets off an explosion that blows open the main gate. All in under four minutes.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Shifu invokes this facing Tai Lung, stating it wasn't between Tai and the Dragon Warrior, but between Tai and himself.
  • Only Six Faces: Every unnamed character is either a pig, a rabbit, or a rhino, the last of these only appearing as prison guards. There are also some occasional geese. Various species appear mostly as Mooks and other minor characters (wolves, panthers, alligators, boars, at least one buffalo). It's justified, however, in that the developers focused on animals that were native to China.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: During the dumpling fight, Po decides he doesn't need the dumpling he's fought so hard for because he's not hungry and Master Shifu smiles in response; showing Character Development for both.

    Tropes P to R 
  • The Paralyzer: Tai Lung's nerve strike, which he learned from Oogway. Thanks to Po's Kevlard nature, it doesn't work against the Dragon Warrior, only succeeding in tickling him.
  • Parody Sue: Po's dream as the totally awesome Legendary Warrior.
  • Peaceful in Death: Played with.
    Shifu: ... You have brought peace to this valley. And to me. Thank you. Thank you, Po. Thank you...
    Po: No! Master! No, no, no! Don't die, Shifu. Please...
    Shifu: I'm not dying, you idiot! Uh... Dragon Warrior. I am simply... at peace.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse:
    • Mantis, who can hold up a rope bridge with Tai Lung AND three of his teammates on it.
    • Shifu, who is a red panda and about the size of large cat.
  • Please Wake Up: "I'm not dying, you idiot!"
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Po delivers one before executing The Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung.
    Tai Lung: [fearfully] You're bluffing. You're bluffing! Shifu never taught you that!
    Po: Nope. I figured it out. Skadoosh.
  • Pressure Point: Oogway uses this to initially stop Tai Lung in a flashback. In his 20 years in prison, Tai Lung figures out what Oogway did and uses a similar attack against the Furious Five.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The Legendary Urn of Whispering Warriors that contains the souls of the entire Tenshu army. Promptly broken by Po.
  • Pride: Much of the plot originates in this trope.
    • Shifu was too proud of Tai Lung. That's why he wasn't able to see the darkness festering in the latter's heart.
    • Tai Lung's Fatal Flaw. Shifu kept telling him he was destined for greatness to the point where Tai Lung came to believe that he and he alone was meant to be the Dragon Warrior and trained hard to make Shifu proud of him. When Oogway decided he was not spiritually fit to be the Dragon Warrior, Tai Lung flew into a rage and laid waste to the Valley of Peace.
    • Commander Vachir, took Shifu's message of greater caution as a slight against his ability to run the prison. He then shows off the prison to Zeng and accidentially provides Tai Lung with the means for his escape.
    • Tigress shows a bit of wounded pride when Po is selected as the Dragon Warrior. She can't believe that someone who is so poorly disciplined could be given such a high honor. This partially leads her to seek out and confront Tai Lung herself, a confrontation that she and her friends prove ultimately outmatched for.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Shifu raised Tai Lung as his adoptive son, believing the Kung Fu prodigy to be the destined Dragon Warrior. When Oogway denied the talented warrior the title due to lack of humility and wasn't defended by Shifu, Tai Lung snapped, to put it mildly.
  • Race Name Basis: Shifu calls Po "Panda" almost every time they speak. Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey are only ever referred to as such. It's unclear if they are named because of their species or because it's their Kung Fu style.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Happens twice.
  • Rain of Arrows: When Tai Lung is escaping prison, the guards use this to try and stop him. It doesn't work.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Oogway is this and a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. He advises Shifu that trying to stop Tai Lung from escaping prison may lead to Shifu causing the escape while showing sympathy about Shifu's anguish. When he chooses Po as the Dragon Warrior, the tortoise goes to comfort the panda after his disastrous first day and encourages him not to give up or worry about his future. Before he dies, Oogway makes Shifu promise to train Po and believe in him.
  • Redemption Rejection:
    • When Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung, telling him that he had always been proud of him, and that pride was what blinded him to what he was becoming, Tai Lung looks genuinely affected... and then the rage returns to his face and he says that he isn't here for apologies: he just wants the Dragon Scroll. That's when the audience realizes that his road to redemption became that much harder.
    • It's also implied by directors' commentary that Po trying to help Tai Lung understand the true nature of the Dragon Scroll may have been another chance at redemption, but Tai Lung is so blinded by rage and pride that he doesn't accept that, either.
  • Repetitive Name:
    • Master Shifu. "Shifu" (shīfu) means "master" in Chinese (if you pronounce it correctly, which nobody in the movie does), so this is like calling him "Master Master".
    • The same applies to the prison of "Chorh-Gom". So Tai Lung is imprisoned in the prison of Prison.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Tigress feels overshadowed by Tai Lung, and incapable of taking the place he supposedly had in Shifu's heart. As Secrets of the Furious Five reveal, she was an orphan adopted by Shifu as well, making her Tai Lung's replacement in all aspects. She's wrong at least in the sense that Shifu did a very poor job of expressing his love and approval in time to Tai Lung as well.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played with. In the dream introduction, many of the thugs at the inn are Chinese alligators. However Viper of the Furious Five is the nicest member of the group and the first to warm up to Po.
  • The Resenter: Tai Lung, when he is rejected as the Dragon Warrior despite a lifetime of training for that role.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Shifu asks who could possibly be worthy of having the Dragon Scroll, the key to limitless power!!! There's a long pause, then Master Oogway says, "I don't know."
  • Rhino Rampage: Inverted. While Commander Vachir and his guard, the Anvil of Heaven seem to be a good fit for the trope, Tai Lung tears through them so quickly, it's hard to say they ever display anything close to a rampage.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Tai Lung, young Tigress and Po. Most bunny characters also qualify.
  • Right Behind Me: When Po impresses the Furious Five with his cooking it leads to a more relaxed atmosphere with the group. A stray noodle on Po's lip that resembles Shifu's mustache leads Po into several unflattering imitations of him with the last naturally being done as Shifu stands behind him in the doorway.
  • Rousseau Was Right: All three villains in this trilogy have detailed backstories giving them reasons as to why they became bad guys. Everybody is human at heart.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Dragon Scroll contains a reflective piece of paper, symbolizing that specialness comes from within. It's quite telling that when Tai Lung looks at it, his response is "it's nothing", which symbolizes that Tai Lung has no real identity beyond his pursuit of the Dragon Scroll and the title of Dragon Warrior.
  • Rule of Three:
    Oogway: There are no accidents.
    Shifu: Yes Master, I know. You've told me. Twice.
    Oogway: Then that was no accident either.
    Shifu: Thrice...
  • Running Gag: Po's difficulty climbing the long stairway to the temple and falling down it.
  • Running on All Fours: Tigress, Tai Lung, and Monkey all drop to quadrupedal running at some point in the story.

    Tropes S to T 
  • Sanity Has Advantages: One of the reasons Po holds his own against Tai Lung so well in their fight is because he is absolutely obsessed with getting the scroll, even to the point of ignoring Po if he sees an opportunity to obtain the scroll instead, and Po takes full advantage of this.
  • Saved for the Sequel: It looks like we're going to find out about Po's origins toward the end of the first movie, but then that turns into The Unreveal. It's part of the premise of the sequel.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: "Sha-fa-fooie!" and "Ska-doosh."
  • Scary Black Man: Michael Clarke Duncan makes Vachir sound like one, yet ironically, he appears to be a white rhino.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds and the environments of the movie are exceptionally lavish for a Dreamworks film.
  • Schmuck Bait: A minor example with the Sword of Heroes, so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looki-OW!
  • Secret Ingredient: The "Secret Ingredient Soup" doesn't have one — the only secret ingredient is its maker's skill.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Master Shifu causes this after he hears from Oogway that Tai Lung will return. He sends a goose messenger to have Tai Lung's prison guards doubled, but the goose's mere presence provides a feather that allows Tai Lung to escape. Oogway even cautioned Shifu, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it."
  • Self-Insert Fic: Po's Dream Sue has him buddies with his heroes, the Furious Five.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • Chor-Ghom essentially means: "the prison of Prison".
    • We also have "Master Shifu," which means "Master Master".
  • Shell Game:
    • Used for a Visual Gag during the dumpling fight. Shifu hides a dumpling under an overturned bowl, then twirls the three bowls at blinding speed using his chopsticks. Po upturns the right bowl to free the dumpling.
    • During his climactic fight with Tai Lung, Po does the same trick while standing on a pair of bamboo poles, with the Dragon Scroll hidden amongst some woks. This time however, Tai Lung is having none of it, and unleashes a strike that blows away all the woks simultaneously revealing the scroll.
  • Ship Tease: Po does seem to have a greater admiration of Tigress than the other members of the Furious Five. The chunk of brick Po tried to pick up as a souvenir, after Tigress's stunt, was named the Love Chunk by some producers. Given that Po was also admiring Tigress' ass upon her landing, you can make of that what you will.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted for the final battle. After Shifu and Tai Lung's dark and serious duel in the rain, the sun rises and Po appears at the top of the steps, panting for air. That's when the real Final Battle begins, demonstrating that a story's climax can be hilarious and awesome at the same time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene stated in Right Behind Me above is built around a not-at-all-hidden Hidden Mickey.
    • The expression of eastern philosophy done by the Dragon Scroll (being a blank, reflective piece of paper) is almost identical to the Book of Enlightenment (with each page containing a single circular mirror that reflects the reader) in the 1978 film Circle of Iron.
    • After Tai Lung discovers that the Dragon Scroll is blank, in the ensuing fight Po steps on Tai Lung's feet after blocking his attacks. This is a nod to Kung Fu Hustle where Sing stomps on the baddies's feet. A lot.
    • Oogway's paraphrase is from Alice Morse Earle:note 
      "The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."
    • The fight over a dumpling, with chopsticks, between Po and Shifu, to a similar fight with chopsticks in The Fearless Hyena.
    • Monkey occasionally fights with a Simple Staff. His brother is named Wukong. The Chinese classic Journey to the West has a trickster monkey god/legendary figure who fights with the As-You-Will Staff named Sun Wukong.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The producers depicted the beauty of ancient China so well that the Chinese themselves had official conferences to explore why they can't make animated films about themselves like this. The third film's production was moved to a new division of DreamWorks Animation in China (specifically, "Oriental DreamWorks" in Shanghai) with the specific intention of showing them how to make films like this.
    • The film features only species that exists/existed in China. Even the crocodiles, or more precisely Chinese Alligators, and rhinoceros (Javan Rhinoceros. Shifu's a Red Panda. Tai Lung is a Snow Leopard. Tigress is a South China Tiger.)
    • The Furious Five and Po are shown performing the specific style of Kung Fu that matches their species. Tigress uses Tiger-style Kung Fu, Monkey uses Monkey-style, Po uses Bear-style and so on. To take it further, as each of the five are training in the temple, there will be a Freeze-Frame Bonus scene that shows an iconic stance or movement of that style. For example, Monkey flies through a hoop in a straight leg kick that exactly matches the iconic flying kick of Monkey style.
    • When Tai Lung berates Shifu and says he "trained until [his] bones cracked!" This is not an exaggeration; but an intense training method where some martial artists hit things until their bones crack, specifically to have the cracks fill up with bone, making them harder overall.
    • In the final battle, Po uses Dragon Style, fitting with his "Dragon Warrior" status. This style uses stances and attacks from all of the other animals. Po uses Tigress-style punches, Mantis-like dodges (when possible) and Monkey-like agility. Dragon style also uses a lot of low-high-low style attacks to keep opponents off balance, as the Dragon is thought to be masters of all elements (i.e., the sea, or low attacks to the legs and feet, coupled with the heavens, or high attacks to the head.)
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Po tricks Tai Lung into biting his own tail, which is complemented with an audible crack sound.
  • So Proud of You: Facing certain death at the paws of Tai Lung, Shifu unwinds enough to tell Po and the Furious Five that he's proud to have been their Master.
  • Spare a Messenger:
    • After his One-Man Army rampage through the thousand guards of his Tailor-Made Prison, Tai Lung encounters the Sole Survivor, a duck messenger sent by Master Shifu, seizes him by the neck the smooth, cultured rumble of Ian McShane, tells the duck to fly back to his master and inform him the real Dragon Warrior is coming home.
    • Tai Lung immobilizes the Furious Five with his unstoppable nerve-strike, but allows Crane to fly them back to the Valley of Peace in order to intimidate the Dragon Warrior. Po is already scared as it happens, but not deterred.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": "I'm THE big fat panda!"
  • Start of Darkness: Tai Lung's fall from grace is narrated by Tigress.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • Po pulls one on Master Shifu after being told that he'll have to face Tai Lung all by himself and bolts out of the palace running toward the stairs. After realizing Po is gone Shifu's reaction is priceless.
    • Shifu waits for Tai Lung on the palace stairs only to have him appear after a flash of lightning. It's implied Shifu knew Tai Lung was nearby and intentionally closes his eyes for a moment to invite the encounter.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky:
    • Tai Lung's prison break involves the usage of huge arrows and then falling stalactites to propel himself upwards towards the exit.
    • When Po is chasing the Dragon Scroll that has just flown off the roof of a collapsing building, he uses roof tile fragments to propel him upwards toward the Scroll.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: Tai Lung, with giant crossbow bolts that he kicks into the wall.
  • The Stinger: The final shot of the film after the credits is Po and Shifu sharing a quiet moment with some dumplings — and a peach tree beginning to grow where Shifu and Oogway had buried the pit.
  • Stock Scream: The last Rhino Guard on the bridge makes a Wilhelm Scream as Tai Lung throws him into another guard.
  • Stop Hitting Yourself: Viper briefly uses this tactic against Tai Lung, coiling around his wrist and neck and forcing him to hit himself in the face.
  • Super Senses: Shifu, presumably a riff on his large ears.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: The Furious Five often pulls dynamic group poses of this nature.
  • Super Strength: Much of the cast. Especially Mantis, who can lift Po and holds onto the rope bridge single-handed while his cohorts fight Tai Lung.
  • Supreme Chef: According to the Furious Five (sans Tigress of course, who appears to be eating tofu instead) Po makes "amazing" noodle soup. It comes with being the son of a restaurateur and noodle maker.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Master Shifu administers a kung fu test during a meal where he challenges the glutton Po to steal the last steamed bun from him. When Po finally manages to get the bun, he shrugs and tosses it back. "I'm not hungry." This is the best outcome because not only has his kung fu skill advanced but he has conquered his tendency to gorge when he is upset.
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • Even after Tai Lung has beaten him, Shifu acknowledges that he is proud of Tai Lung and his love blinded him from what his demanding training was turning Tai Lung into and apologizes.
    • When Tai Lung beats Po and obtains the Dragon Scroll, he's heartbroken on seeing that the scroll is blank. Po empathizes since he didn't understand it at first either and offers Tai Lung a chance at redemption by explaining the meaning to him..
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Tai Lung's prison was built specifically to hold just him.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The fight between the Furious Five and Tai Lung takes place on a long rope bridge that is eventually cut off and used to restrain Tai Lung and kill him by using the momentum to smash him against a mountain. Except Tai Lung manages to survive, and swings over to his destination and frees himself anyway.
  • The Tell: During a conversation with Po underneath the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom:
    Oogway: You eat when you're upset.
  • Tempting Cookie Jar: Master Shifu discovered Po's latent martial arts talent when he incited Po to steal Monkey's cookies on the storage room's top shelf. The panda climbed up ten feet in a second and did a perfect split without even realizing.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Yup, Vachir taunting Tai Lung about someone else becoming the Dragon Warrior won't have any consequences at all. Now, how did that go again?...
    • When Tai Lung finally meets Po, he makes fun of Po's girth and asks if the only move he knows is sitting on his opponents. And of course, several seconds later, as they careen down the stairs, Po's giant butt smashes down on Tai Lung's head (in slow motion). Po actually continues to seat-slam Tai Lung several more times throughout the fight.
      Tai Lung: What're you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?
      Po: Don't tempt me.
    • When Zeng returns from witnessing Tai Lung's escape, Shifu says he's glad someone has turned up with good news. It's not.
  • That's Gotta Hurt: Most of the Five have this reaction when Po gets knocked into the advanced training areas and is badly beaten and burned.
  • This Cannot Be!: "You...You cannot defeat me!... You're just...a big... fat... panda!".
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Played with. Oogway says only the Dragon Warrior (i.e. Po) can defeat Tai Lung but no one else believes this. Later Shifu changes his mind and tells the Furious Five not to fight Tai Lung. They ignore him and fight him anyways. Later Shifu himself tries fighting him, assuming from the blank scroll that is what Oogway meant. Ultimately, Po does fight Tai Lung by himself but only because everyone else has already tried.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The tiger in Chinese culture is the representation of hard power, bulldozing through their opponent. The Dragon is soft power, and derives their fighting ability through patience and wisdom. Tigress is shown always ready to step forward and strike out and even asks to take the fight out to Tai Lung before he reaches the Valley. Po has more patience and even takes the time to figure out how to do the Wuxi Finger Hold all by himself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The point of the movie is Po becoming someone badass enough to defeat Tai Lung.
  • Touch of Death: The Wuxi finger-hold. As the third movie reveals, it sends mortals to the Spirit Realm.
  • Training from Hell: Before Shifu's Character Development, he's tough on the Five and trained Tai Lung to the brink. When he realizes Po can't do the same routine, he smirks: "There is now a level zero." Made worse by the fact that Shifu had no intention of seriously training Po and just wanted to discourage him. His real training is less dangerous.
  • Training Montage: Naturally. Shifu starts training Po using food as an incentive. At first, Po can barely do situps or fend off Shifu from stealing his lunch. Then he starts doing poses and pushups on his own and actually puts up a fight when he tries to get noodle soup the second time.
  • Tree Buchet:
    • One of Po's failed attempts to get into the Jade Palace to watch the tournament. He's too heavy for it to work, then the tree shoots out from his grasp, springs back and hits Po on the head.
    • Tai Lung does this with a huge crossbow bolt embedded in the floor to give him initial thrust for his Stepping Crossbow Bolt scene.
    • Tai Lung cops a tree in the face when Po uses this technique against him once they've fallen to the bottom of the temple steps.
  • True Companions: Even though Shifu forbids the Furious Five from engaging with Tai Lung, Tigress goes off by herself to stop him. The rest of the Furious Five quickly catch up with her to say they're coming with her. Tigress gives them all a quick smile as they run along the rooftops leaving the valley of Peace.
  • Turtle Power: Oogway is a tortoise, and regarded as one of the most powerful kung fu masters out there. For one, he was able to defeat Tai Lung quickly by using debilitating nerve strikes.

    Tropes U to Z 
  • Underestimating Badassery: Vachir well and truly thought that the defenses of his prison would be enough to keep Tai Lung trapped. To make a long story short, they weren’t.
  • Unimpressive Progress Reveal: One scene has Po climbing the stairs to the temple. The scene cuts to the sun overhead shifting in the sky, then back down to Po who collapses exhausted on the stairs. Then the camera zooms out and reveals he's made it up about a dozen steps.
  • Unlocking the Talent: Shifu believes Po is a worthless martial artist at first, especially when he sees how poorly disciplined and comes in at level 0. When he is forced to believe in him and train him as the Dragon Warrior because of his promise to Oogway, it occurs to him the problem may actually be his own fault. He begins training Po in a way that works, and Po goes from a lazy, self-loathing panda to a competent kung-fu fighter in very little time.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Vachir's own arrogance in the security of his prison leads to Tai Lung escaping. When Vachir boastfully slaps Zeng on the back, it causes a feather to fall loose that allows Tai Lung to free himself from his shackles.
  • Verbal Backspace: Shifu shows he's still got some of his old grumpy self.
    Po: No Master Shifu, don't die!
    Shifu: I'M NOT DYING YOU IDIOT... err, Dragon Warrior.
  • Victory by Endurance: Po's main method of fighting against Tai Lung is to let Lung merely tire himself out with his fruitless attempts at injuring him, unable to paralyze Po due to his excess body fat and having every direct attack bounce back at him.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Downplayed. While the "Valley of Peace" is not a Sugar Bowl world, it does represent the calm, tranquility of Chinese rural life. Tai Lung's escape casts a pall of dread over the valley as they await his return. Notably, his background music and motifs are dramatic and in a minor key.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tai Lung's composure really starts to fall apart once he sees that Po has the Dragon Scroll he so coveted. Instead of fighting intelligently and using the environment to his advantage, like he did in every fight before, he single-mindedly pursues the scroll, losing more and more of his composure, as Po takes every advantage of Tai Lung's lack of focus. It culminates when he finally obtains the Dragon Scroll and finds it to be blank. He rejects the lesson of the Scroll that Po explains and lashes out in rage at Po. When he discovers his pressure point attack has no effect on Po, it causes him to throw all semblance of strategy and martial arts mastery out the window, and even after getting beaten and barely able to get up and stumble around, he just keeps rambling and trying to attack Po.
  • Villain Respect: Tai Lung is impressed by how well the Furious Five fight against him on the bridge. He admits that Shifu taught them well, before showing them he learned Nerve Attacks.
  • Visual Pun:
    • As part of his Calling the Old Man Out Tai Lung asks Shifu who was it that told him he was destined for greatness and pushed him to train brutally for that purpose. Shifu, while deflecting sword attack, sees his reflection in the blade.
    • Oogway is carrying a lantern with him when he meets Po at the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom. After dispensing some advice, he walks away, but leaves the lantern behind with Po. In other words, Oogway enlightened him.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Po and Tai Lung go without any upper garments the entire film.
  • Wax On, Wax Off:
    Shifu: When you focus on kung fu, when you really concentrate... you stink. But perhaps that is my fault. I cannot train you the way I have trained the Five. I now see that the way to get through to you is, with this.
    [pulls out a bowl of dumplings]
    Po: Oh great, 'cause I am hungry!
    Shifu: [laughs and pulls the bowl away] Good. When you have been trained, you may eat.
  • Weapon Twirling: Master Shifu twirls his chopsticks before his awesome fight with Po for the last dumpling.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: No actual biological sons, but if you count adopted examples and master/student relationships, there are several. Shifu to Oogway. Tigress, Po, and Tai Lung (each in different ways) to Shifu. Po even wants to prove himself to Ping in the sense that he can be more than a good cook.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Po, in the first parts of the movie. While he actually does know what he's doing, as he's a fanboy who obsessively researches the subject of kung fu, he's too uncoordinated and out of shape to pull off the advanced techniques that more experienced masters can do.
  • When He Smiles: Mentioned by the Furious Five; they say that Master Shifu used to be nicer, and he even once smiled. Po can't quite believe it and he's amazed when Shifu actually gives him one Smile of Approval after another during his real training regimen.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: The ending of Po's Training Montage has Shifu serve Po a bowl of dumplings and tell him that he's free to eat — only to repeatedly snatch them as Po tries to eat them, eventually going through ten in just two seconds. It's after a few dumplings that Po realizes his training isn't over just yet, resulting in a Fight for the Last Bite.
    Shifu: You are free to eat.
    Po: AM I?!
    Shifu: ARE YOU?!
  • Wok Fu: At the end, Tai Lung throws Po into an empty restaurant during the final battle, and as a result the panda throws several woks at the snow leopard, puts the Dragon Scroll under one of them, and swaps them around so that Tai Lung will get the wrong one.
  • World of Funny Animals: It's a world of Chinese Folklore and Kung Fu Masters inhabited by funny, civilized animals but zig-zagged all over the place. Some animals are mostly anthropomorphic like Po, Tigress, Shifu, or Oogway. Others are not like Mantis, Viper or Crane. Because everyone is sapient, Vegetarian Carnivore is enforced and most meals involve soup, noodles, and tofu. Birds run the gamut from Ping who can deftly wield a knife with his Feather Fingers, to Crane whose wings function like wings and uses his talons to pick things up.
  • Worst Aid: Mantis tries to help treat Po's injuries with acupuncture. The problem is that Po's — "fur" as Mantis corrects him — obscures his chi points, so he ends up stopping Po's heart and triggering his facial nerves instead. Po's obscure chi points become a Chekhov's Gun when it turns out Tai Lung can't find them either or hurt him with a nerve attack.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Tai Lung clearly expects Po to be one of these, and he is very displeased when Po does not seem to meet his expectations.
    • After the fight at the bridge, he acknowledges the Furious Five as such.
      Tai Lung: Shifu taught you well.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Shifu reacts with appropriate shock when Master Oogway's staff is broken during the fight with Tai Lung.
  • Wuxia: An Affectionate Parody.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Shifu at the Pool of Sacred Tears asks Po if he wants to learn kung fu, his response to the panda impassioned "Yes!" says that he knows Po can be trained after all.
  • You Can Panic Now: After Tai Lung destroys every barrier that Vachir and his men made to prevent him from escaping, the latter begins to panic after Zeng asks if they can run now before Tai Lung blasts them with the dynamite through the prison gate.
    Zeng: Can we run now?
    Vachir: [sobs in terror] Yes.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Oogway has a vision that Tai Lung with return which triggers Shifu to take actions that faciliate Tai Lung's escape. This is noted by Oogway, who points out that "one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it" when Shifu sends Zheng off.
  • Zerg Rush: Realizing they can't defeat Tai Lung one-on-one, the Furious Five sans Mantis hit him with a series of attacks on the bridge and wrap him in the ropes. After he manages to cross anyway and defeat them, he commends them for the effort.

Tropes in the Short Films:

    Secrets of the Furious Five 
  • An Aesop: Five, actually; to be a good practitioner of kung fu, one must have patience, courage, confidence, discipline, and compassion.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Po is telling the bunny kids about the fabled strength of Grand Master Viper's venom —
    "One touch of his ivory tips could fell fifteen gorilla warriors! ...And a mid-size crocodile."
  • Art Shift: 3D animation is used for the present day and 2D animation for the backstories of the Furious Five.
  • Banana Peel: Monkey's flashback shows that banana peels were his favorite prank to the hapless villagers. Then he attempts this on Oogway by surrounding him with peels, but the turtle manages to get past them all and Monkey falls prey to his own trap.
  • Casting Gag: In Secrets of the Furious Five, Young Monkey's voice actor is Jaycee Chan, the son of Jackie Chan, who voices the older Monkey.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted in the Crane story, where Mei Ling, a female cat, is a true blue friend who is vital in starting his martial arts calling. Also Tigress who acts mean, but only because she is so strong that she has hurt others and tries to distance herself.
  • Comically Missing the Point: All the bunny kids in Po's class want to learn about kung fu is the "kicking butt" part; subverted by the end when it turns out they did listen to the message of Po's stories.
  • Darkest Hour: More precisely, darkest seconds in Crane's with him giving up his dream of entering the martial arts academy when his application is mocked. It ends the instant he stumbles into the entrance test room and finds the confidence to pass with the very qualities for which he was mocked.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Monkey pulled off the belt strings of all the tough guys sent to drive him out, causing them to drop their pants and leave in shame.
    • The reason he did this? He was subjected to his pants dropping when he was younger; the best way for people to be humiliated would be how he was.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Oogway and Monkey. That and Oogway saving his life from being crushed by a giant wooden pillar.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Used seriously in the story of Tigress.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The wool-stealing crocodile bandits from Mantis' story have no problem with locking him up and laughing at him, but they have visibly horrified expressions when they think he's dead.
  • Killer Gorilla: The bandit who attacks Viper's village.
  • Let's Dance: Said by Viper, who used her ribbon dancing skills as a method of fighting.
  • Lighter and Softer: It's basically Kung Fu Panda as a typical Aesop-based kids' show.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Bao Gu, where Tigress was raised and inadvertently terrorized because of her abilities as an apex predator and her temper of being so rejected. However, Master Shifu is able to fix those problems.
  • Playing Possum: Mantis uses this to trick the crocodile bandits into opening the cage he was trapped in.
  • Ship Tease: Tigress' backstory is the only one that makes Po cry, though most would agree that it is the saddest one out of them all.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: In the sense that the producers make it clear in this short that "kung fu", when it only refers to martial arts, is really a Western misnomer when its true meaning is "Excellence of Self."
  • Stop Hitting Yourself: Viper uses this trick against the gorilla bandit: she coils around his wrist and his neck, forcing him to hit himself on the face.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Po is telling the stories of the Furious Five to teach his students An Aesop. It's quite likely he simplified the events to make his point.

    Kung Fu Panda Holiday 
  • Art Shift: The first few minutes are an awesome 2D dream sequence and the rest is CGI.
  • The Cameo: Tai Lung in Po's dad's dream/nightmare.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Po and the Furious Five bring up the Winter Festival while battling a horde of bandits.
  • Christmas Special: In the story, it's at least the closest Ancient Chinese analogue thereof, the Dong Zhi Winter Festival. The special still gives it all the trappings of Christmas, however.
  • Colossus Climb: One of the first moves Wo Hop tries to provoke Po into killing him, but Po eventually picks him off and puts him in a large jar to make him stop.
  • Cool Hat: The fancy hats/wigs worn by the Kung Fu masters.
  • Disaster Dominoes: At least four separate ones, held together with Old Spice.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Master Rhino shows up in this special: the same character who was only in the second movie for mere minutes before Shen killed him.
  • Fancy Dinner: Po has to host one for the all the Kung Fu masters when he'd rather be cooking with his dad. Mind you, Po tried to compromise by trying to get his dad to cook for it.
  • Food Porn: Po is tasked to pick the best chef in China, and also do some cooking himself.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The same radish basket that plays an important part in the sequel is not in the first movie, but is present in the Holiday special, in the same location Mr. Ping pulls it out from in the second movie.
  • Honor Before Reason: After accidentally being dishonored by Po, Wo Hop the bunny chef tries to kill him in combat and when that doesn't work he keeps trying to kill himself. May or may not be a Shout-Out to The Book Of Bunny Suicides.
  • Martial Arts for Mundane Purposes: The Furious Five and Po use their mastery of kung fu to... cook and serve a fancy dinner?
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Po and Mr. Ping make cooking noodles look absolutely epic.
  • Never Say "Die": Apparently Po and/or his dad thinks that Tai Lung is dead.
  • Orgasmically Delicious: The noodle shop's holiday specialty, at least in Po's dad's dreams.
  • Placebo Eureka Moment: Po mumbles to a guard beside him on how to deal with his conundrum, but then realizes the solution and thanks to the guard... even though the guard didn't really do anything.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Perfection is nice, but it's also boring and insanely stressful.
  • Shown Their Work: The Winter Feast resembles the traditional Chinese festival of Dong Zhi, which holds many parallels to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, such as family gatherings and feasting to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
  • Suicide as Comedy: Wo Hop.
  • You Are Not Alone: The moment when Shifu tries to decline Po's invitation for Mr. Ping's Winter Feast. Shifu says that it is only for Po's family, which Po responds with "You're my family too."


Kung Fu Panda

After imparting one final lesson to Master Shifu, Master Oogway realises that his time has come...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence

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