Kung Fu Panda 3 is the 2016 third installment to DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda franchise, and the sequel to Kung Fu Panda 2. It is the first film of the franchise, as well as any DreamWorks movie in general, to be co-produced by Oriental DreamWorks in China.
In the realm of the spirits, Oogway faces an opponent from the past, the evil spirit Kai (J. K. Simmons). Kai has waited five hundred years, gathering enough chi from late kung fu masters in order to defeat Oogway and return to the world of the living, something he succeeds in. Meanwhile, in the Valley of Peace, Po learns that Shifu is retiring and passing his role as the Furious Five's teacher to him, a position Po struggles to handle. His mind is soon diverted, however, as he is faced with the arrival of his biological father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), who takes him to a hidden panda paradise in the mountains. Things quickly go downhill when Kai arrives and wreaks havoc at the Jade Palace, leaving Tigress the only one to escape and warn Po of the approaching threat. Now, Po must gather his teaching skills in order to train the pandas into capable fighters that will help him defeat Kai, while also learning how to master the power of chi.
Kung Fu Panda 3 provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo:
- Master Porcupine's jombie uses a bow and what looks like his own quills as arrows.
- During the pre-climax fight, the panda children using firecrackers and some pandas use themselves as catapult ammunition.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Kai's jade swords on chains can can pierce through and slice solid rock.
- Accidental Hero: Li Shan helps create the panda army that ends up defeating Kai's jombies in the Final Battle by lying to his son about knowing about chi and bringing him to the village. It does help that he wants his son's respect back after he has to admit he's lied to him, and studies the chi manipulation technique while Po does training sessions for everyone in the village.
- Achilles' Heel: Kai can see and otherwise sense through his jade zombie minions... but this backfires during the Final Battle thanks to the various kinds of abuse the pandas give them.
- Actor Allusion: You might say Mei Mei knows how to lose a panda in 10 days.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Kai lets out an amused chuckle when he saw one of his Jombies Squashed Flat by the two hammock-catapult Pandas in midair.Seriously?
- Adult Fear:
- Played straight with Li Shan who finds his son after twenty years only to learn he's a famous warrior who fights enemies on a daily basis. When Li Shan learns that an even more threatening foe is approaching, whose jombies thoroughly thrash Po, Li decides to lie about knowing how to master chi in order to bring Po with him to the panda village and out of harm's way.
- There's also once more Mr. Ping's fear that he will end up rejected as Po's dad now that his biological father has appeared. He insists on coming along to the panda village, on the pretext of making Po's favorite foods and worries about cooking in the panda village. He mellows on seeing that all the baby pandas like his cooking after running him ragged, on learning that Li lied to keep Po safe, and on seeing Po train himself to prepare for battle. He then reaches out to Li Shan with dumplings and talks about how they're Not So Different.
- Li Shan and Mr. Ping are frantic when Po does a Heroic Sacrifice and goes to the Spirit Realm with Kai. When Po comes back, both dads hug him while Mr. Ping is chiding "Don't you go disappearing into petals again!"
- Advertised Extra:
- Mei Mei is a surprisingly minor character given how much attention she got in the promotional material. Note how she's present on the Chinese poster◊, while Li Shan, indisputably a much more important character, is absent.
- Bao as well, considering that he was promoted in behind-the-scenes features and even made playable in the tie-in fighting game (with his actor being one of the few from the films to retain his voice actor, even). In the movie, he gets very few lines and is just another one of the panda kids along with the others.
- Airplane Arms: Po briefly runs like this in the opening montage with him and the Five.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Po is victim to this once again, this time due to his biological father. Shifu and the Five's first impression of Li is him repeating "I'm gonna getcha!" in a baby talk voice to Po while everyone else looks on awkwardly.
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted, albeit with the Chinese cover for the film rather than the Japanese. The American cover has an emphasis on cuteness, showing a confused Po among the other pandas. The Chinese poster, on the other hand, has a much more serious focus, with Po in an Ass-Kicking Pose (as well as wearing his Spirit Realm clothes), being with the Furious Five, and featuring Kai as an Evil Overlooker.
- Ancient Evil: Kai, who was sealed away five hundred years ago when Oogway was young. This also means no one has any idea who he is, which is both to his advantage (as no one really has an idea of how to beat him), and anger.
- Animal Battle Aura: Po gets a golden dragon shaped aura when his allies channel their chi to him.
- Animal Gender-Bender:
- A male goose lays a bunch of eggs when frightened by Kai, probably for Rule of Funny.
- Master Chicken is male, but looks more like a hen than a rooster.
- Apologetic Attacker: A humorous semi-example: Monkey tries to snap the jombie Mantis out of it, but he ends up latching onto his zombified friend, who starts attacking the remaining Furious Five members at the Jade Palace, with Monkey apologizing to them after each blow.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Po and Shifu's discussion after Po failed miserably at teaching the Five involves Shifu directly questioning Po's sense of identity, in order to start him on the path to mastering chi. This silences Po's objections as he struggles to answer.Po: I don't wanna be more! I like who I am!
Shifu: You don't even know who you are.
Po: What do you-Of course I do! I'm the Dragon Warrior!
Shifu: And what exactly does that mean, Dragon Warrior?
- Art Evolution: Because of new animation software, all of the character models were rebuilt for this film. This is perhaps most visible with Po who overall has a slimmer appearance than in the two previous films.
- Art Shift: Some of the flashback scenes were presented in 2-D animation, while the Training Montage with Po training the panda village in Kung Fu has a more stylised 3-D effect.
- Ascended Extra: Mr. Ping had minor roles in the last two movies but here he's the Triagonist of the film.
- Badass and Child Duo: Tigress and Lei Lei during the battle against the jombies in the Panda Village. Lei Lei even helps out a little.
- Badass Boast:
- Delivered by Po at the Final Battle: "Am I the son of a panda? The son of a goose? A student? A teacher? Turns out... I'm all of them. I am... The Dragon Warrior!"
- Bonus: "Get it? See the giant dragon??"
- Tigress gets a brief one herself during Kai's attack on the Jade Palace. Kai mockingly calls her a "little kitten", then proceeds to fight off Shifu, Monkey and Viper. Cue Tigress leaping at Kai and delivering a kick so powerful it emits a wave of chi, causing him to lose his blades and fall to his knees.Tigress: How's that for a "little kitten"?!
- Twice with Shifu. First, after Kai speaks to the Jade Palace warriors through his jade zombies and identifies himself, it sounds as if Shifu (unlike everyone else so far) recognizes his name... but then he doesn't either. After that, when researching in the scrolls for information on him, he finds a scroll in a special case which he says holds all the knowledge they seek. Upon removing it, it seems to be blank (and he even exclaims "Again?!") before discovering the story when he unrolls it further.
- At the very beginning, we have Po boasting how "Justice... is about to be served!" followed by him and the Five racing to the Valley below in an extended action sequence, making it seem they're off to fight bad guys. Turns out they were just going to Mr. Ping's to have "justice platters" for breakfast.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Oddly, nearly every panda except Po.
- Bear Hug: A literal example with Big Fun, since he's a panda bear and he likes to give out hugs.
- Be Yourself: This trope is the reason for the central theme of 3, that being "You don't have to be anyone other than yourself." But at the same time it adds "But be the very best of yourself that you can possibly be."
- Big Bad: Kai, the ancient warrior spirit, and a former friend of Oogway, is out to destroy his legacy and absorb everyone's chi to become all-powerful.
- Big Damn Reunion: Po reunites with his biological father whom he hasn't seen since he was a cub. Later, Po remains in the spirit realm after having defeated Kai and finds himself reuniting with Oogway.
- Big Entrance: Discussed and lampshaded. Po says that this is a very important thing... and to everyone's surprise, including his own, Shifu agrees, pointing out a proper entrance can get you the advantage before the fight actually starts. He then follows up with the "dramatic exit": getting Po to look behind him so he can slip away. This becomes important in how Po is able to banish Kai back to the Spirit Realm.
- Big Sister Instinct: Tigress develops this with Lei Lei.
- Big Sister Worship: Lei Lei is completely smitten with "Stripy Baby" Tigress and is constantly by her side.
- Big "WHAT?!": Delivered by Po when Shifu tells him that he will be the next teacher of the Furious Five. The rest of the gang doesn't exactly seem all that thrilled either, based on their own reactions.
- Blunt "Yes": Shifu gives Mantis one when he assigns him to team up with Crane:Crane: Master, what are we going to do?
Shifu: You are going to find out where Kai is. Follow the trail of those jade creatures, but do not engage, for with every foe he faces, Kai becomes stronger.
Crane: Why me? Is it because I asked?
Shifu: No. It is because you can fly. Go!
Mantis: Should have kept your beak shut! [laughs]
Shifu: And take Mantis.
Mantis: What? Ohh, man! Is it because I—
- The trilogy began with Po as a legendary, revered warrior in a robe and wearing a nice hat - albeit only in a dream. This film almost ends the same way, but under much different circumstances: Po only dons the outfit he wore in the opening of the first film after accepting himself as the Dragon Warrior after sending himself and Kai to the Spirit Realm. Po loses the outfit once he returns to the mortal realm, but he still ends the film and the trilogy as the legendary, revered warrior he once only dreamed he could be.
- In the film itself, Shifu states, "Before the battle of the fists, comes the battle of the mind." The lyrics finish the whole statement during the credits: "When you don't know who you are, just look inside."
- Bowdlerise: Po's "I think I just peed a little" line at seeing the full capability of Master Rhino's armor is changed in the Mandarin dub to "This is too much".
- Bowel-Breaking Bricks: A goose is so frightened of meeting Kai he lays a bunch of eggs rapidly.
- Brick Joke:
- Lei Lei, a little baby panda, takes Po's Tigress action figure and calls it "Stripy Baby". When Tigress appears, Lei Lei recognizes her and gives her a Glomp.
- One that spans the entire series - at the end of Kung Fu Panda, Po appears to be wearing a straw hat and cape after defeating Tai Lung. He finally gets to wear them for real during the final portion of his fight with Kai in the Spirit World.
- British Teeth: Hom-Lee, whose smile is rather homely, until he gets hit with nunchucks and his smile is straightened out.
- The Bus Came Back: Oogway returns in this film after having been completely absent from the second film (not counting the opening logo of that film) after his death in the first film. It turns out that he's been spending all this time in the spirit realm, and wasn't interested in leaving it.
- Master Chicken is pretty much nothing but comic relief. Including as a jombie.
- During the final battle in the Spirit World, once Po fully becomes the Dragon Warrior, the fight against Kai turns into a string of humiliations for the Big Bad.
- Po shows his father the Hall of Heroes, which includes the Urn of Whispering Warriors he broke in the first film having been repaired (not terribly well). And then it gets broken again when Li, having been discovered by Shifu and the Five, tosses away one of the weapons.Po: Someone broke that... once.
Po: Some idiot...
- The flashback of Po's mother and Po as a baby is shown again, this time in 3D. Lord Shen's feathers briefly flash in the background.
- The Wuxi Finger Hold of all things makes a return when Po attempts to use it against Kai.
- When Po becomes the Dragon Warrior, the move he uses to summon the spirit dragon is the one in 2, when he finds inner-peace, and redirects a droplet of rain onto a leaf on the ground, and later a cannonball back at the ship.
- Crane labeling every action starting with "wings of" like he did with his "Wings of Justice" attack from the second film. Mantis also announces his presence with "Fear the Bug!" from the second film as well.
- As the second film, Shifu gripes about Po's speedy learning skill of lifelong techniques, once again muttering about him doing it at such a young age.
- There is a brief flashback to the moment Oogway first chose Po as the Dragon Warrior, as Oogway reveals to Po that he chose him in part because he was a panda, and believed that he would be able to channel his C'hi.
- Po shows his father the Hall of Heroes, which includes the Urn of Whispering Warriors he broke in the first film having been repaired (not terribly well). And then it gets broken again when Li, having been discovered by Shifu and the Five, tosses away one of the weapons.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Po to Li, after he reveals he lied about knowing how to master chi. Made all the more painful by how quiet, hurt, and bitter it is, rather than furious or browbeating like most examples of the trope.
- Calling Your Attacks:
- Lampshaded by Mantis when he comments on Crane's habit of shouting "Wings of (X)!" Mantis tries "Antenna of Power" later against Kai, except of course nothing happens.
- Shows up again later with Mantis after he gets grabbed by Lei Lei. It's easy to miss, but he shouts "Antenna of Fear!" as he gets taken away.
- Mr. Ping and Li get into the act as well. "DOUBLE DAD DEFENSE!"
- Po throws a few among simple orders in during his Training from Hell. It makes things worse.
- Interestingly, Po has been well-known for doing this before, yet he doesn't do it for most of the movie. He only does it briefly during his final battle with Kai: "Belly Gong. Butt Slap. Perhaps a bit of lunch, 'cause I'm starvin'."
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Shifu chooses Po to be the next teacher of the Five, something Po isn't all too happy about, and he's relieved to join his father in the panda village to get away from the new responsibilities. When a wounded Tigress arrives at the village and tells Po the others have been defeated by Kai, Po has to serve as a teacher after all, training the other pandas.
- Came Back Strong: Kai is much stronger than he was when Oogway banished him to the Spirit World in ancient times, due to how much chi he's stolen. And because he's no longer alive, the Wuxi Finger Hold doesn't work on him.
- The Cameo:
- Master Croc returns as one of the masters investigating the jombies and is turned into one shortly afterward.
- Lord Shen is seen in the flashback from the second film that is reused during Li Shan's mourning of Po's mother.
- Tai Lung also makes an appearance as an amulet on Kai's waist, next to Mantis, though it's so brief it counts for a Freeze-Frame Bonus. He's also one of Po's action figures during his bathing scene.
- Captain Obvious Reveal: An In-Universe-version played for laughs. When Mr. Li and Po meet, Li tells Po he's looking for his lost son, while Po tells Li he's looking for his lost father (note that neither of them think that any other pandas are alive). They wish each other luck, and both turn to leave. Everyone in the crowd watching them facepalms.
- Casual Danger Dialog: When Po joins Shifu and the Five's fight against the "jade zombies", he's not so much concerned with how effectively the latter are fighting as he is excited to find that they're more kung fu masters he idolizes. He even insists that Feng, (the palace artist from the holiday special), paints a portrait of him with one of them, while they're fighting.Po: I'm being choked by Master Porcupine. This is so cool! [grabs action figure] Oh! Oh! Look, it's you!
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Po reveals to Tigress that he plans on using the Wuxi Finger Hold against Kai. Tigress warns him that it won't work, and after the first attempt is a No-Sell, Po manages to get the jump on Kai, and skadooshes both of them to the spirit realm when Po applies the Wuxi finger hold to himself.
- Chekhov's Skill: At the beginning of the film, Shifu demonstrates the "dramatic exit" to Po by shouting "What's that?" and then quickly leaving while Po looks another way. At the climax battle, Po pulls the same trick to make Kai look away, giving him an opening to jump him.
- At the beginning, Shifu tells Po that the Furious Five's training will be in the Dragon Warrior's hands, telling them that there is always more to learn, even for a master. After Po's first class gets the Furious Five hurt, it is near the end when Po is able to help the other pandas learn kung fu by putting their individual talents to use, and Shifu is impressed by how far Po has progressed as the Dragon Warrior.
- Clucking Funny: One of the new Kung Fu masters introduced is Master Chicken.
- Cocky Rooster: Master Chicken is male (although looks more like a hen than a rooster), and is a brave Kung Fu warrior who charges at Kai at the first opportunity.
- Combined Energy Attack: Po's friends and family send him their chi, giving him a Golden Super Mode and the power to destroy Kai once and for all.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Po: Who are you?
- The villagers do a Face Palm when Po and Li Shan meet for the first time:
Li: I'm Li Shang. I'm looking for my son.
Po: You lost your son?
Li: Yes. Many years ago.
Po: I lost my father.
Li: I'm very sorry.
Po: Thank you.
Li: Well, good luck to you.
Po: You too. I hope you find your son.
Li: And I hope you find your father. [Both of them turn to leave. Mr. Ping's guests facepalm at Po and Li failing to see the resemblance to each other]
- This exchange:Elderly panda: [to Po] Oh, he's so handsome, just like his father!
Mr. Ping: Thank you!
- And later, this:Po: I'm gonna stay, and fight that monster.
Mr. Ping: Po, he may be a monster, but he's still your father.
Po: Not him! Kai!
- Continuity Cavalcade: Po's room is filled with references to the previous films, including the old dummy from the training hall, the Furious Five action figures, the drawings of Tigress and the Five from Po's old room, and a painting of Master Thundering Rhino and the Tower of Sacred Flame, among others.
- Continuity Nod:
Dragon Warrior: Enough talk, let's fight!
- Po has added even more action figures to his collection, including ones of Tai Lung, Master Croc, and the Wolf Boss. Because of course he would.
- After Po's first failed attempt at training the Five, they all walk/crawl bruised and battered towards him, similarly to how he did in the first film after accidentally stepping into the training exercises.
- When Po sees Shifu and all of the Five except for Tigress have been zombified, he says "Oh no, it's true, you guys have all been turned green! Except for you, Mantis. You were already green." followed by Mantis twitching his antennae in annoyance, similar to in the first movie when he says "Whoa, the Furious Five! You're so much bigger than your action figures! Except for you, Mantis. You're about the same." and Mantis twitches his antennae.
- After Po's failed attempt at teaching the Five, Shifu shows up and after telling Po about chi and how Po needs to be Po he leaves, leaving the lantern he had brought with Po as Oogway did in the first film.
- From the first film; Shifu gets momentarily distracted by something about his opponent that allows him to be incapacitated by a single blow. Secondly, his face gets smashed into a wok, much like his former student Tai Lung.
- In both the first and third films, the antagonist ends up with his own tail in his mouth once Po gets the upper hand in the fight.
- Shifu unrolls the scroll that holds the secret to Kai's identity. It's empty and Shifu is not amused, though it is revealed that he just had to unroll it further.
- When Shifu reads from the scroll detailing Kai's and Oogway's past, he reads too slowly, causing Mantis and Monkey to try and finish his sentences, just like Mantis did in Secret of the Five before he learned patience.
- Several elements from The Art of KFP make it into this one, such as: the abandoned junk in the desert (in the book it was the location of a Wretched Hive, in the movie it's where Crane and Mantis track Kai); Po's outfit in the Spirit World, which matches the Dragon Warrior costume from the storyboarded dream sequence from the first movie; the statues of the great kung fu masters around the stairs to the Jade Palace, which were originally intended to be a Vault of Heroes under the steps where Po was to have his final battle with Tai Lung; Tigress's new outfit, which is essentially the one from the book re-colored to gold; and even a number of shots of the panda village or the landscape during the journey there.
- Master Porcupine is a character that was originally going to be in the first Kung Fu Panda film, as a doctor using his own quills for acupuncture needles. He appears in this film as one of Kai's jade zombies, using his quills as arrows.
- Po accidentally dumps Sichuan peppercorns in his bathwater instead of soap and comments "My tenders!" while quickly adding cold water. Later he also suffers another Groin Attack while training an elderly panda.
- The bridge that Li and Po cross on the way to the panda village appear to be the same bridge where the Five fought Tai Lung in the first film.
- During the confrontation between Po and Kai at the end of the film, Po repeatedly mocks Kai's speech as he's delivering it as "chit chat". Or, in other words...
- Crossover: Not the movie itself, but one trailer features Shrek and Donkey: as part of a Shout-Out to the Snickers brand, Po and Monkey are not themselves, having become hungry enough that the former became Donkey while the latter became Shrek.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While they're not stupid, more just very chill and relaxed, the pandas are able to fend off most of Kai's jade army after Po's training.
- Cuddle Bug: One of the panda villagers loves giving out hugs, even to total strangers. This is later weaponized in the battle against the Jombies, with the villager holding one in place by hugging it.
- Cue Card Pause: When Shifu reads the scroll mentioning Kai, it mentions that he was once Oogway's brother... in arms.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: This is pretty much what Po delivers on Kai after channeling a dragon Battle Aura in the spirit realm — and it must be noted it only lasts as long as it does because Po is toying with him.
- Dance Party Ending: Or a kung fu party ending.
- Deader Than Dead: During the final battle within the spirit realm, Po unleashes all of his chi into Kai per his boast about taking it, and while he revels at first, he discovers that it's too much for him to handle, and it disintegrates him. Given he was already a spirit...
- Death Is Cheap: Apparently, passing away in the films' universe, at least if you're a kung fu master, means you go on "living" in the spirit realm. And it's not impossible to return (though you might have to work for it a few centuries).
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Li at one points tells Po how much he loved his mother, and how she was everything: "Smart. Beautiful. Tremendous appetite..."
- Defeat Equals Explosion: The final battle ended with Kai blown to bits.
- Delayed Reaction: When Shifu says he's passing on his teaching duties to Po, the Five are stunned shocked. As for Po, he just casually nods... Then he processes the info, and it leads to the Big "WHAT?!" moment above.
- Demoted to Extra: The Furious Five save Tigress suffer from this, having much less screen time here than in the second film (where, by contrast, they had a prominent role accompanying Po on the mission to stop Shen) and all becoming zombified by Kai by just beyond the movie's halfway point. While Shifu gets captured as well, he still gets more time onscreen than the rest before Kai gets to him.
- Despair Event Horizon: A brief one occurs after Kai hands Po his ass all the way back to the panda village. Tigress, Po's dads and the rest of the pandas look on in horror at the battered Po, who can only look up at them and admit that he was wrong about being able to take on Kai and begs them to flee. Only once Kai shows up again and gives Po the Eureka Moment he needs about sending Kai to the Spirit Realm does Po resume fighting back.
- The Dreaded Pretend Tea Party: Inverted. Little Lei Lei is delighted to meet "big Stripy Baby" in the person of Tigress. Standoffish at first, Tigress is soon won over by the relentless affection. When Kai attacks, Tigress is reverently playing tea party with the adoring cub.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Shifu walking in on Po relating the story of how a Kung Fu master intimidated a threat so that he didn't have to fight might cause people to think he's about to chew Po out again...only for him to say that Po is actually correct, because shaking an enemy's self-confidence before a fight is just as important as the fight itself.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Kai is very put-out that no-one remembers him or his exploits... so when Po does, he's actually extremely excited and pleased. To the point he almost considers sparing him.
- Easily Forgiven:
- Shifu and the Five are completely distracted from the fact that Po and Li wrecked the interior of the Jade Palace by playing inside it due to their excitement for Po finally meeting his biological father. No-one mentions the issue ever again. Though the fact that Kai showed up shortly afterward and destroys that part of the palace may have something to do with it.
- While angry with him, next time time Po speaks with Li, he's come to forgive him for lying about learning how to use chi, since Li then makes up for it by volunteering the panda village as an army to fight Kai's jombies. At the end of the film, he accepts his biological father in his life.
- Elephant in the Room: Po meets another Giant Panda for the first time since he was a cub, an older panda named Li Shan explaining that he's looking for his son. Po is shocked to hear this and replies that he lost his father. An awkward silence passes as the two pandas then wish each other good luck and walk off. Everyone watching can't believe either of them and facepalms. The realization then hits each other just before they completely walk away.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: Of the traditional sort generated by The Power of Friendship. Sustained by the freely given chi of his friends, students and family, Po is invulnerable to Kai's signature trick.
- Evil Overlooker: Used with Kai in the Chinese poster for the film.
- Face Palm: A mass one by Ping's customers when Po and Li ignore The Not Secret of being son and father.
- Fade Around the Eyes: When Kai captures Crane, the camera quickly zooms on his face just before switching to the next scene. When the scene switches, his eyes can briefly be seen in the sky.
- The Farmer and the Viper: Kai brought Oogway to the Pandas to heal him, which they did out of kindness. Kai promptly turned on them the moment that he realized the power he could get from stealing their chi.
- Fish out of Water: Both Mr Ping and Tigress find themselves a bit out of place within the Panda village. This makes for a humorous role reversal against Po for the latter, with her more less playing the comic relief during the pandas' Training Montage.
- Oogway tells Kai, when he reveals how much chi he has absorbed, that "the more you take, the less you have." This obliquely alludes to what happens when he is fed Po's chi and it is too much for him to handle, because he can't control that much power. As well as the fact Po wins by having chi given to him rather than taking it.
- When Mr. Ping hears about Shifu promoting Po to a teacher, he tells him to take the job and eagerly states that "one day when you're in charge of the whole Jade Palace I can sell noodles in the lobby!" After Kai is rendered Deader Than Dead Oogway names Po his true sucessor and during the celebration in the Jade Palace Arena at the end of the movie Mr. Ping is giving out noodles to the baby pandas.
- Free-Range Children: The panda children are often seen doing whatever they please with little adult supervision.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Mr. Ping lands one on Jombie-Shifu.
- Furry Reminder:
- Po has a humorous line alluding to the diet of real-life Giant Pandas. When he's trying to tell the other pandas his battle strategy by using food, he's shocked to find the younger pandas eating both the dumplings and the noodles he tried to use. When one of them eats the bamboo stick he was holding, he chuckles and says "Okay, I saw that coming."
- Parodied with this exchange:Li: I guess it'd be cruel to make [Mr. Ping] fly all the way back.
Po: You can fly?!
Mr. Ping: I'm a bird, Po.
- Later, Mr. Ping walks atop deep drifts of snow because his feet are webbed and essentially snowshoes, while Po and Li are forced to trudge slowly through it. Ping's smirk says it all.
- Gasp!: A mass one by Ping's customers at seeing Po and Li Shan together.
- Going to Give It More Energy: After giving Kai a Curb-Stomp Battle, Po sends a wave of his chi into him. Kai's excitement at the amount of power turns to panic when he realizes it's too much for him to handle.
- Golden Super Mode: When Po's fathers, Tigress, and the rest of the Panda village transfer their chi to Po, he gains a new outfit with a lot of gold and golden Animal Battle Aura in the shape of a Chinese dragon. He also becomes strong enough to overwhelm and defeat Kai.
- Good Is Not Soft:
- Mr. Ping and Li Shan land several blows against jombified Shifu because the latter is chasing Po and Po will not hurt his teacher, even when Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Po destroys Kai's soul, but given the sheer evil he's committed and that he's already come back once, it was both no less than what Kai deserved and probably the only way to stop him for good. Bonus points for doing it by giving Kai exactly what he wanted.
- Grand Finale: The film is this since it brings closure,however there is a possible fourth film sometime in the near future
- Green-Eyed Monster:
- No, no, no, not the jade creatures. Upon learning Po has mastered his chi, Shifu lets out an annoyed "Of course you did...", before humbling himself to ask Po if he can teach him.
- Also, Kai is both a metaphorical and literal example.
- HA HA HANo: When Po attempts the Wuxi Finger Hold on Kai, he pretends to be defeated by Po, only to reveal that it was a No-Sell gesture:Po [about to apply the Wuxi Finger Hold to Kai]: Sorry buddy, gotta send you back to the Spirit Realm. Skadoosh!
[The Wuxi Finger Hold doesn't work ] Okay, that didn't work, let me try one more time. Skadoosh! Skadoosh, Skadoosh... What the...?
Kai [pretending to be surprised]: Hold on, wait! It's working! No! Noo! [Kai makes choking gestures] Ha ha ha, no it's not. Did Oogway teach you that little trick? Too bad: it only works on mortals, and I am a Spirit Warrior.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Also counts as a Continuity Nod to KFP2. Once again, Po masters a skill by the end of the film that he was told about by Shifu at the beginning and where Shifu goes to the length of explaining how it takes many, many years of training in a lonely cave to master it. Shifu's exasperation is evident when Po tells him he got his new staff from Master Oogway after defeating Kai in the Spirit Realm. He does soften however when Po promises to teach him. The movie reveals in the end that it is a lot easier than Shifu thought, since the pandas figure it out by accidentnote and Po teaches the entire Valley of Peace to channel their C'hi in apparently less than a week.
- Has Two Mommies: Gender inversion. Despite some initial antagonism on Mr. Ping's side as he is afraid of losing Po, he and Li end up bonding as they seek to help Po. They end up fighting against a Jombie-fied version of Shifu together and when they welcome him back, even use "we" to refer to themselves as his fathers.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Invoked. Po performs the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself while holding onto Kai to send them both to the Spirit Realm. Po later tells Oogway that he had no idea that he'd be able to return.
- Shifu might also count since he conciously makes Kai focus entirely on him so Tigress can get away and save Po, leading to him being jombie-fied.
- Hidden Elf Village: A Hidden Panda Village.
- Hong Kong Dub: Averted. Because this particular movie is being co-made by Oriental DreamWorks in China, the animators made two different versions; one where the characters move their mouths after the original English dub, and another where they move their mouths after the Chinese dub. This is the first time something like this has ever been done with an animated feature.
- Hope Spot: Po's plan to defeat Kai goes off without a hitch... but it turns out the Wuxi Finger Hold doesn't work on Kai because he's a spirit.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Done briefly by Monkey when he tries to wake a jombified Mantis, though it's really Played for Laughs.Monkey: Mantis, it is me! Your BESTIE!!! [jombie Mantis proceeds to beat him up]
- I Resemble That Remark!: Gets Played for Laughs at the beginning of the movie.Po: [to Shifu] Me, Teach? I mean, why not Tigress? She's always telling everyone what to do!
Tigress: [deadpan and not amused] Be quiet, Po.
Po: See what I mean?
- Insistent Terminology: Po has to remind Mr. Ping he's not playing with dolls, they're action figures.
- I Shall Taunt You: Po starts his offense on Kai by making fun of his "chit-chat" and interrupting him. This distracts Kai long enough for the panda village to launch their first ambush.
- Ki Manipulation: Or rather, chi, using the Chinese pronunciation. The next lesson Shifu tasks Po to learn, and it serves a big role in the film.
- Last-Second Word Swap: When Lei Lei asks Po if she can keep the Tigress figure, Po starts saying "Nooo..." until he sees that she's about to cry and finishes with "...problem! Yeah, of course, that's why I brought her... take good care of her...?"
- When Po is meeting the other pandas, he sees Hom-Lee and says "You're like me, but... with a hat!"
- Liar Revealed: Turns out that Li doesn't know how to master chi; he only told Po he did and that he had to come to the Panda Village to learn it because he didn't want to lose his son again and was afraid (rightfully so) that Kai would kill him. Unsurprisingly this leads to a Third-Act Misunderstanding for a bit, until Ping reaches out to Li and, united in their love for Po and desire to protect him, they go to him and offer themselves, and the whole village, to train to be the army Po needs.
- Lighter and Softer: Downplayed, while it still has dark moments such as the talk about Po's deceased mom and how dangerous Kai is. The jokes are more abundant compared to the Darker and Edgier second film.
- Like Father, Like Son: Inverted, as Po's biological father is revealed to share a lot of his traits, such as being unable to climb a tall flight of stairs without nearly passing out and being comically oblivious, as neither he nor Po suspect they're related to each other at first despite all the evidence pointing to it. Li also appears to share Po's adoration for various kung fu relics, and the two enjoy playing with them like little kids, in addition to Po and Li Shan being big eaters. One of the crucial differences is that Li Shan starts off teaching Po skills of napping, eating, relaxation and rolling down hills that are impractical in the long run when Kai approaches the village, eventually redeeming himself when he offers to take a stand with the panda village, and Po is eager to be part of the action.
- Logical Weakness: Po realizes that since Kai is synchronized with his Jombies, all he'll have to do is distract the Jombies (with the help of Ping, Tigress and the Panda villagers) in various ways, leaving Kai vulnerable for Po to get to him unopposed and use the Wuxi Finger Hold. It all worked, except for the bit about the Wuxi Finger Hold.
- Logo Gag: The movie opens with Po running up a mountain staircase, and jumping onto the moon, telling the audience "Just start without me. I'll catch up" after exhausting himself, parodying the DreamWorks logo of a boy fishing from the moon as he dangles his fishing line in the sky.
- Lost Superweapon: Of a sort. The pandas used to be the only ones with the knowledge to fully master chi or use it for healing, but over the centuries it's become an ancient legend they don't know how to call upon any more, so that it ends up being something they all have to (re)learn, not just Po.
- Match Cut: A brief one after Kai turns Crane into a jade amulet; the image of the former's face transgresses into the clouds and mountains of the next shot.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Oogway in this film is revealed to be have been over 500 years old. While tortoises in real life do live to an impressive age, they usually don't pass 200 years. It's not made clear if Oogway's longevity is a case of Artistic License Biology or if it's actually a perk of being a spiritual master. Or if it's both.
- Meaningful Name: Kai's name, as a warlord, is entirely appropriate given that it means "Victory".
- Mooning: In one trailer, Po shows off "backwards Kung Fu", then ends it with "a respectful backwards bow" — in other words, mooning the viewer.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Po and the Five go racing down from the Jade Palace in an epic, extended action sequence at the start of the movie... only to be going to Ping's for lunch. Lampshaded by Mantis when they go back to the palace: "Do we have to strike a pose every time we land?"
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Played for laughs when Kai returns to the Valley of Peace, only to find that nobody recognizes who he is:Kai: Kai has returned!
Rabbit Villager, Goose Farmer: Who?
Kai: Kai. General Kai. Supreme Warlord of all China!
Goose Farmer: I dunno.
Kai: The Jade Slayer. Master of Pain. You may know me as the Beast of Vengeance. Uh... Maker of Widows?
Goose Farmer: Huh?
Kai [frustrated]: Okay, I used to work with Oogway?
Rabbit Villager, Goose Farmer: Oh, Master Oogway!
Goose Farmer: He was a great warrior!
Rabbit Villager: We've heard of Master Oogway, he's a...
Kai: Okay, okay, enough. Silence!
Po [seeing Kai's entry]: Whoa! That's what I call a dramatic entrance!
- Inverted when Kai meets Po at the panda village:
Kai: Ha ha! You must be the Dragon Warrior!
Po: And you must be Kai, Beast of Vengenace, Maker of Widows!
Kai [sarcastically impressed]: Yes! Finally! Thank you! Almost makes me want to spare your life!
Po: Oh, you want to spare me? How about you spare me the chit-chat!
Kai: Who are you?
- Reconstructed when Po receives a supernatural chi transfusion from the panda village, including Tigress and Mr. Ping, before he starts the final battle with Kai:
Po: I've been asking the same question: Am I the son of a panda? The son of a goose? A student? A teacher? Turns out... I'm all of them. [The chi surrounding Po takes the form of a dragon] I am the Dragon Warrior. Get it? You see the giant dragon? Get ready to feel the thunder!
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Played for Laughs during Po's first attempt at training the Five. He tries his best to call out various battle techniques for them to perform to which they all obey, even as they figure they're about to get hurt doing so. They don't hold back with complains after it, though.
- Near-Villain Victory: Kai gets this twice. First is when he reveals to Po that the Wuxi Finger Hold doesn't work on him, followed by him overpowering Po and leaving him unable to defend the pandas, his fathers and Tigress. After Po has managed to drag them both to the spirit realm anyhow (through the technique of Taking You with Me), Kai proceeds to turn Po into a jombie, something he nearly succeeds with as well until Po's friends and family learns how to use chi to save him.
- Never Trust a Trailer: One of the US trailers has Tigress telling Po that he needs to teach the pandas to fight. In the film, she's actually asking Po if he's learned to master chi, and the subject of training the pandas doesn't come up until Li Shan suggests it. The same trailer also has Tigress state that Kai attacked the Valley of Peace and that it's "all gone". In the film, he's only shown attacking the Jade Palace; it's unknown if he did any damage to the Valley below.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Subverted. While Po is upset that Li lied to him to make him come to the village and to get away from Kai, Li does point out that Kai would have defeated Po as well as Shifu and the other members of the Furious Five. Bringing Po to the village buys everyone time to mount a defense, and to defeat Kai.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Inverted; Po learns that all of his weaknesses in the previous films — unable to climb stairs, Big Eater — are normal for all pandas. He's delighted on learning how well he fits in during the village, and that his weaknesses weren't weaknesses at all but character traits.
- No-Sell: The Wuxi Finger Hold doesn't work on Kai because it only works on mortals. Po finds a way to make it work on him indirectly.
- Not a Morning Person: Li explains groggily to Po that all pandas sleep in until noon.
- Not So Different:
- Po is delighted to have found his family, to learn that others share his strengths, weaknesses and appetites. Mr. Ping even mellows on seeing how all the baby pandas are like a tiny mob of Pos who like his cooking.
- Mr. Ping after Li Shan admits he lied to pull Po out of danger goes to the latter with fresh dumplings, and admits he also lied because he wanted to make sure Po didn't leave him. He understands the need to be an Overprotective Dad and a Papa Wolf, and with Ping's jealousy appeased, their Bumbling Dad tendencies make them quite like minded.
- Within the quirky Panda Village, Po and Tigress' roles are practically reversed from what they often are in the Jade Palace, with Po's eccentricities making him an efficient leader and Tigress reduced to a bewildered Fish out of Water.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Tigress racing all the way to the panda village while injured. And then Tigress recovering to help train the villagers.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Crane has a rather priceless expression upon meeting Kai.
- The Wuxi Fingerhold only works on mortals.
- Kai has one when he realizes he can't control the chi Po just flooded him with, resulting in him being obliterated.
- "Oh, Crap!" Fakeout: Kai's reaction to Po attempt to use the Wuxi Fingerhold on him.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Oogway's scroll describing Kai is much more serious and straightforward than his normal laid back way of doing things, even outright saying if Kai ever came back, only a master of Chi was capable of stopping him. Not only does this show how dangerous he is, it shows that Oogway was likely torn up seeing his old friend turn into a selfish psychopathic monster.
- Oogway's reaction to Kai, complete with a Little "No", is the only time in the series where he is shown to have an Oh, Crap! reaction rather than a detached bemusement or stoic deadpan.
- Open the Iris:
- Po when witnessing the full capability of Flying Rhino's battle armor.
- Also every single panda baby when food is close.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Kai has the ability to drain the chi of kung fu masters and summon jade statues of them to do his bidding, including masters who've been dead for more than a century. Tigress even refers to the creatures as "jade zombies", which Po and Monkey then nickname "jombies".
- Out of Focus: Since the plot places more emphasis on Li Shan and the panda villagers, the Furious Five become less prominent here than they were in the two previous films, particularly because Kai turns all of them except Tigress into his puppets for most of the movie.
- Panda-ing to the Audience: Taken Up to Eleven with the secret panda village, including such resident pandas as Li Shan, Mei Mei, Dim & Sum, Grandma Panda, panda cubs Bao and Lei Lei et al.
- Papa Wolf:
- Mr. Ping, while scared that Po is going to leave him for Li Shan, keeps questioning the strange panda that has appeared and smuggles himself in the lunch he packed for Po to go to the village and make sure his son is safe.
- In the climax Mr. Ping and Li Shan team up against the jombies, donning armor and alternating attacks, to protect Po from a jombified Shifu.
- Passing the Torch:
- Shifu tells Po that he wants him to be the next teacher of the Furious Five.
- Oogway passes his staff to Po, appointing him the new Leader of all of Kung Fu.
- Planning with Props: Po learns this doesn't work when a) your audience includes baby pandas and b) your props are edible.
- Quizzical Tilt: After Kai declares thunderously "I HAVE RETURNED", the two previously scared egg-less farmers tilt their heads and ask, confused, "Who?!"
- Plucky Comic Relief: Reconstructed. Tigress, who is usually The Comically Serious at best, ends up a Fish out of Water in the goofy Panda Village. The screentime focused on Po training the pandas to be warriors is peppered with humorous scenes of Tigress dealing with Lei-Lei.
- Reality Ensues: Kai returns to the mortal world, expecting his skill and brutality to still be legendary. It turns out 500 years has been more than enough time for everybody to forget he ever existed.
- Really 700 Years Old:
- Oogway is revealed to be over 500, and with Po being appointed his successor, he will probably have a similarly long life.
- Po may in fact be immortal, now that he has effectively slain himself and come back from the Spirit World in a manner similar to what Kai did, though Po was able to return due to not being sealed away.
- Recycled Trailer Music: The first trailer uses the Madagascar theme.
- Remake Cameo: In an interesting case, Fred Tatasciore and Mick Wingert , who voiced Shifu and Po on Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness , voice minor characters here.
- At the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, we see Po's kind in their hidden village portrayed as rice growers. This film completely cuts all that out and portrays it as a village with no noticeable agricultural source. Of course, there is a chance that the rice field still exists somewhere close to the village and we just don't see it in this film due to the season being winter in the mountains.
- Li Shan's portrayal at the end of the second film also suggested he was some form of spiritual leader — in this film, he turns out to be just a regular guy with no training of any kind.
- The Reveal:
- The Wuxi Finger Hold was left as a mystery in the first film, with not much more details than it results in No Body Left Behind, gives off a lot of energy and fog, and the "hardest part of it is cleaning up afterwards". In this film, it shows that by touching the finger to someone, they are forced to go to the Spirit World, leaving behind a yin-yang symbol composed of flower petals. Of course, it is also shown to only work on Mortals, not spirits.
- While in the spirit realm, Oogway reveals to Po that he was the one telling Li Shan that Po was alive.
- Reverse Arm-Fold: Po strikes this pose while overseeing the pandas' training; fitting for a martial artist / drill sergeant phase.Po: [evil grin] They are ready.
Tigress: [incredulously] ...What?
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Lei Lei and the other toddler pandas.
- Rule of Cool: Don't ask how Po is able to leap hundreds of feet into the sky or practically fly down to the Valley of the Peace from the Jade Palace above (and back again), just enjoy how awesome it is.
- Rule of Drama: Despite the badass combatant Tigress is, she does nothing to help Po when witnessing him being defeated by Kai, but holds onto Lei Lei and gives him a heartbroken look instead. It likely served to show how hopeless even she considered the situation to be, along with emphasizing her Big Sister Instinct with Lei Lei.
- Rule of Funny:
- Pandas have barely visible "private parts", yet Po still feels the need to cover himself when getting out of his bath (even as he's also covered in bubbles).
- The opening sequence with Po and the Five shows Po apparently having no issue travelling up and down the steps to the Jade Palace anymore (see Rule of Cool above), yet when he climbs the steps with Li Shan a while later, he's as exhausted as ever (though he notably does recover faster than before).
- Running Gag:
- Grandma Panda getting hit on the head repeatedly with flying objects.
- Kai frustrated that no-one remembers him, or knows who the heck he was.
- Scenery Porn: From what can be seen of early footage of the hidden panda village, it is sure to be filled with this. The Chinese trailer also shows a clip of Po reuniting with Oogway in the spirit realm in what can only be described as an absolutely gorgeous piece of Chinese inspired dream-like setting. The final movie more than lives up to these trailers, as well as adding in the gorgeous landscape during the journey to the village and any time spiritual fighting occurs, most notably Oogway versus Kai at the start of the movie, and Po versus Kai after he used the Wuxi Finger Hold.
- Secret Test of Character: Shifu reveals why he gave Po the teaching assignment after the disaster in the Jade Palace:Po: I don't know why you ever thought I could teach that class!
Shifu: Oh, I knew you couldn't.
Po: What? You set me up to fail? Why?
Shifu: If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.
Po [whines]: I don't want to be more! I like who I am.
Shifu: You don't even know who you are.
'Po: What do you— Of course I do: I'm the Dragon Warrior.
Shifu: And what exactly does that mean, Dragon Warrior?
- Shifu goes on to tell Po that being the Dragon Warrior is more than just punching and kicking; the incredible power of chi awaits him.
- Series Continuity Error:
- This movie retcons the events of the episode Enter the Dragon from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness where Po already mastered chi to fight the episode's main antagonist, while he doesn't know what chi is in this movie. Additionally, the episode states that the universe granted Oogway the ability to master his chi, while this movie states he learned it from the pandas, and the series is supposed to be set before the events of this movie. However, this would support many fans' belief that the TV series are non-canon to the films.
- In the 2015 prequel short Secrets of the Scroll, Po's figures of the Furious Five ends up being accidentally given away to a rabbit child, yet Po still has them in this film. Either Po leaving the figures with the child took place after this film, or he made new ones.note
- Ship Tease: Not to the same extent as the previous film, but Po and Tigress still have some subtle moments here and there.
- Consider the following: The prevailing ship is Po and Tigress, Tigress is played by Angelina Jolie, and some of the panda kids were played by her children. You can see where this is going.
- Mei Mei (who has at this point been hitting on Po in every scene she is in) asks "Who is she?" in an almost condescending tone when she first sees Tigress, which is a very stereotypical way to address a woman you see as a rival Love Interest. It's probably no coincidence that she's the one to ask said question out of all the pandas either. Plus, once Tigress is in the village, Mei Mei stops flirting with Po completely as if having admitted defeat.
- While she's weakened at the time, Po and Tigress still seem very comfortable about holding each other with faces only inches apart while she tells him about Kai.
- When Po is playing with his action figures in the bath tub, he imagines Tigress swooning over how handsome he is. Also, when he leaves for the Panda village, the only action figure he brings with him is the one of Tigress.
- Po and Tigress at one point begin to spar while discussing how to deal with Kai. The ensuing spat that follows has them sounding Like an Old Married Couple.
- When Po realizes he can't defeat Kai, he turns to look at Tigress with a horrified expression, implying she's his primary concern. Tigress hugs Lei Lei and gives the same look of despair in return. When Po has made it back from the spirit realm, Tigress has a gigantic smile on her face and rushes to hug him. Considering how she had reacted to something similar in the second movie, this is definitely an improvement.
- While it doesn't develop into anything, Po still has a hilarious reaction upon meeting Mei Mei, clearly being self-conscious about meeting a female panda his age.
- Hilariously enough the Dance Party Ending shows a possible Last Minute Hookup between Mei Mei and Hom-Lee, the panda with the crooked grin whose smile gets straightened out when hit by nunchucks.
- One British commercial parodied the famous "Sneezing panda" clip with Li Shan being surprised at a toddler panda sneezing.
- The "A Father Rises" clip is a direct Shout-Out to Star Wars.
- While in the spirit realm, Oogway gives Po his staff and tells him that he has "a bigger one". This is reminiscent of the ending to the first Madagascar film, where King Julien gives Alex his crown and says "It's okay, I've got a bigger one!"
- "Chitty chitty chat chat" is a reference to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Shown Their Work: The village pandas' behaviour is influenced by a trip the creators took to a panda reserve, where they observed how said animals are big eaters, heavy sleepers and, yes, fond of rolling around.
- Li Shan shows Po a baby picture he had painted on Po's 100th day. The 100th day is considered an important milestone for babies in China (a celebration of the fact that they've survived that long, and thus are more likely to keep surviving), and zoos wait 100 days to name any baby pandas in their care.
- Skewed Priorities: When Tigress appears in the Panda Village to tell Po that Kai has destroyed the Valley of Peace, Ping asks "Is my restaurant okay?" and all the pandas give him a look.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Played with; at the end, when Mei Mei's nunchucks hit Hom-Lee and straightens out his smile, then she says hello to him while holding a hand fan in front of her face.
- So Last Season: Subverted. While the Wuxi Finger Hold can't affect Kai directly, Po finds out a way to hit him with it indirectly.
- So Proud of You: Downplayed; the look and bow Shifu offers Po at the end when witnessing how successful a kung fu teacher he's become all but shouts this.Shifu: The student has truly become the tea... [looks at Po's staff] Wait. Where did you get that?
Po: Oh, this. Oogway gave it to me in the spirit realm.
Shifu: Oh, of course he did.
Po: I think I mastered Chi.
Shifu [sighs]: Oh, of course you did. Can you teach me?
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The villain of this movie, Kai, far eclipses Tai Lung and Shen in power.
- Squee!: We know Po always squees at basically everything dealiing with kung fu, but when his dad puts on Master Flying Rhino's armor and then pulled a string (upon which the armor sprouted additional spikes, great metal wings like a hussar and a little flag on top), Po squee'd so hard he wheezed, and as he hastily admits afterwards:Po: I think I just peed a little.
- Standard Snippet: When Li reveals just why the master was called Flying Rhino through a hidden capability of his armor, a stunned and fanboying Po can only stare at him in awe... while a snatch of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" plays.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Po is taken to his father's new home after Shen's massacre of their previous home — a secret panda paradise — and has a hard time fitting in.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: While the franchise is no stranger to this trope, particularly in Legends of Awesomeness, it's especially prominent here, where the Big Bad steals the chi of martial arts masters, including the Furious Five, resulting in them being turned into his evil minions. Not to mention the various incredible chi effects both in the Spirit World and the mortal world.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Lampshaded by Shifu when Po returns to the panda village:
- Swapped Roles:
- The normally bungling Po bonds with and competently weaponises his like-minded kin within the Panda Village, where Mr Ping and even Tigress, who usually function soundly in their usual routine, are such Fish out of Water that they end up playing comic relief.
- When Po is first deemed the Five's teacher, and they more or less end up reenacting his "Level Zero" workout from the first film due to his bad direction, while Po agonisingly watches the same way they did his. They even crawl on-frame by the same shot afterwards.
- Taking You with Me: Po uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself while holding onto Kai to send them both to the Spirit Realm, after finding out it won't work on Kai directly (as Kai is already a spirit).
- Tempting Fate: When Crane asks Shifu what the plan is, Mantis does a bit of premature boasting:Crane: Master, what are we going to do?
Shifu: You are going to find out where Kai is. Follow the trail of those jade creatures, but do not engage, for with every foe he faces, Kai becomes stronger.
Crane: Why me? Is it because I asked?
Shifu: No, it is because you can fly. Go!
Mantis: Should have kept your beak shut! [Mantis laughs]
Shifu: And take Mantis.
Mantis: Oh, man! Is it because I—
- Toilet Humor: When Po witnesses how Flying Rhino's full battle armor works, he reacts in complete awe and comments that he "just peed a little."
- Trailers Always Spoil: The various trailers spoiled quite a lot such as Kai destroying the Jade Palace, Tigress travelling to the panda village, Po reuniting with Oogway, and the final battle taking place in the spirit realm.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: Po is forced to train the pandas in kung fu after Kai attacks the Valley of Peace.
- Tranquil Fury: Po's reaction upon gaining his new powers in the Spirit Realm in order to defeat Kai for good.... only to then erupt in giggling elation from his giant Dragon gimmick.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: When Po asks about his mother:Li Shan: She was the total package: smart, beautiful... Tremendous appetite. [Po chuckles] She was the love of my life. And then, just when I thought I couldn't get any luckier, along you came, my Little Lotus. I really had it all... until that one moment, when I lost everything.
- Un-person: Nobody remembers who Kai is because Oogway kept the records of him hidden away and never mentioned him to anybody. This greatly angers Kai when he returns, seeing that Oogway has destroyed his legacy.
- The Unreveal:
- We never do find out how Li and the other pandas survived Lord Shen's attack.
- Could Oogway come back to life like Po did if he wanted to? He doesn't know; he never tried.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Preparing for his final battle with Kai, Po reasons that he needs to get close enough to Kai to employ the Wuxi Finger Hold. We then see a Training Montage where Po drills the other pandas not in kung fu but in skills they already possess (hugging, hacky-sack, ribbon dancing), then moving on to weaponizing those skills (hugging logs so hard they splinter, using fireworks instead of hacky-sacks and nunchucks instead of ribbons). Even amid the training, Po's plan is still not revealed; when he announces, "They are ready," Tigress is scratching her head. Finally, when Kai arrives with the jade-zombie army of martial arts masters, Po springs his plan and the other pandas succeed in holding their own against the jombies and distracting Kai enough for Po to get close enough for the Wuxi. Which does not work on Kai because he is no longer mortal. The parts of Po's plan that we don't fully know about in advance work flawlessly. The part he discusses in the beginning (the Wuxi Finger Hold) doesn't. At least not without some improvisation.
- Up to Eleven: Po is apparently only a beginner when it comes to stuffing his mouth with dumplings as his record is 40, while Li Shan's is 103. And that's his warm-up.
- Villainous Breakdown: Kai loses it when Po manages to drag them back to the Spirit World. Not only is he clearly furious, nearly all the comedy in his character vanishes. Made all the more unsettling by the contrast with the humorous one he faked only a few minutes before when the Wuxi Finger Hold didn't work on him.Kai: It took me 500 years to take Oogway's chi. I will have yours even if it takes me 500 MORE!
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Po gets one after he and Li had too much fun spinning around on some shields in the Jade Palace. It happens again at the panda village after Po rolls down a mountainside too fast.
- Wham Line:
Kai: Hold on, wait. It's working. No. no! [chuckles] No, it's not. Did Oogway teach you that little trick? Too bad. It only works on mortals. And I am a spirit warrior.
- "I'm Li Shan. I'm looking for my son." Then it gets played with as everyone present but Po and Li realizes what that implies.
- When Po finally catches Kai, he tries the Wuxi Finger Hold on him in order to stop him, but it does not work at all. Kai then drops this bombshell.
- Followed by Po telling the Five: "RUN."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's implied Kai has been creating dozens of jombies offscreen, but we only ever see a select few. When the jombies are all restored, the only ones to be actually seen are the ones we met when they were still alive.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Po is furious at Li for lying to him about knowing how to master chi. However, they reconcile later on when Li wants to make things up to Po and offers himself and the rest of the village to be his army.
- Where It All Began: The final scene of the film takes place in the Jade Palace Arena, the same place where Po was chosen by Oogway to be the Dragon Warrior in the first film.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: It's implied that Oogway could resurrect himself and return to the mortal realm like Po was able to, but due to living for over 500 years the turtle is completely content with staying in the Spirit Realm.
- World in the Sky: This is how the Spirit World is represented, with chunks of rocky landscape with a few ruins atop floating around in a weightless environment.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Po gives one when his friends give him their chi, realizing who he truly is.