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YMMV / Kung Fu Panda

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Please add anything related to Kung Fu Panda 2 or Kung Fu Panda 3 on their own pages respectively.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Shifu at times borders on Ron the Death Eater. Was he, personally, responsible for Tai Lung becoming evil? Does he see any of his students as anything more than a chance for personal glory by training a great warrior? Were his issues really resolved at the end of the first movie, or is he still basically the same uncaring jerk, just with less stress in his life?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: In Spain, Po was voiced by comedian Florentino "Flo" Fernández who, very much like Po himself, was seen with mistrust because he landed on the role for his personal fame and not for any dubbing merit. Then the movie came out, and even if some people still believed that other voice actors would have done it better, everybody was unanimous in that Fernández did an AWESOME job. He was so well received that, even although there was still a good alternative in his replacement VA from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Aleix Estadella, fans and pundits alike became worried after learning that Fernández would possibly have to drop out of the role in the third film for schedule problems (which fortunately were cleared out).
    • An animated 3D movie with colourful talking kung-fu fighting animals and the main character being a big fat panda voiced by Jack Black who has to learn kung-fu to beat the Big Bad? By that description alone, you'd think this would have been a flop at the time, but it became one of Dreamworks' most successful movie franchises along with its sequels.
  • Awesome Music: Courtesy of Hans Zimmer and John Powell.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Shifu. Some like him for being a deep, complex, and fleshed out character while others hated him for being an abusive, mean and uncaring jerk. It's been Downplayed, however, as Shifu did get much nicer in the holiday special and the sequels.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The members of the Furious Five who don't get that much screen time or development (Monkey, Viper, Mantis, and Crane) are popular, beloved characters in their own right.
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    • Master Oogway only appears in the first half of the movie, but he's gone on to become one of the most beloved mentor characters in fiction thanks to his status as an Old Master, his wisdom, good sense of humor, genuine compassion for his students, and Randall Duk Kim's sincere, warm performance. His death scene is also one of the most visually and emotionally gorgeous of the entire film, accompanied by a truly astounding piece by Hans Zimmer. Many people have called him one of the best characters in animated film history, and the fanbase was delighted by his surprise return in the third movie.
    • Mr. Ping is beloved for being a genuinely loving father to Po despite his many insecurities and flaws, showing surprising Hidden Depths by knowing the message of the film already, and also being quite funny in his various attempts to promote his noodle shop. He ended up becoming a Breakout Character to the point of becoming the Tritagonist of the third film.
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  • Evil Is Cool: From busting out of Chorh Gom Prison single-handedly to putting up an epic fight against the Furious Five, there's no denying Tai Lung's badassery.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: The second it looked like Po and Tigress were on the way to becoming an item, the fandom joyfully embraced the idea.
    • While not really having anything going for it in canon, Crane and Viper appear to be the secondary item to Po and Tigress.
  • Foe Yay: Believe it or not, but there are people who ship Tai Lung/Tigress (Taigress). Compared to other pairings, this one sort of makes sense, genetically speaking.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Po spends the first half of the film as a Butt-Monkey. It's funny at the time... and then he gives a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Shifu, where he reveals that the abuse he suffered at the hands of Shifu and the Five was a step up from what his life had been before.
  • Gateway Series: With its ambitious storytelling, blazing action and the myriad of awards, including Oscar nominations, this series has introduced millions to the Furry Fandom at its big budgeted best.
  • Genre Turning Point: Before this film, Western Animation feature films were often starkly afraid to show heroes getting into fights in which the actual trading of blows that actually connect regularly happens. Now, bruising hand to hand, albeit bloodless, combat is considered perfectly acceptable material for family films.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Kung Fu Panda and its sequels are very popular in China.
  • Growing the Beard: Depending who you ask, either Kung Fu Panda or Madagascar is this for DreamWorks, when they started producing either original IPs or adpatations of other works that were much better received than their earlier movies.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: An ancient master of martial arts and is wracked with guilt over failing to prevent one of his students from turning evil, and is advised by his predecessor as master, a green scaly creature. Are we talking about Shifu, Tai Lung, and Oogway, or Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, and Yoda?
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Thanks to Dustin Hoffman's tutoring, Jack Black surprised a lot of people with how good he was as Po.
    • Florentino Fernández, Po's Spanish voice actor, was known by his rather vulgar humor style (and his rather excellent imitations, on the other hand) and was thought to be a bad choice for a character with the emotional depth of Po. However, his performance turned out astoundingly good.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Seth Rogen and green insects are inseparable now.
    • The Chinese were so impressed by this movie, that they held conferences about why they couldn't make animated movies like this. The third movie was even produced by the new DreamWorks Orient studio in China.
  • I Am Not Shazam: His name is Po, not Kung Fu Panda. Got that, Seltzer and Friedberg?
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Tigress and Tai Lung's back stories make them this.
    • Shifu could count as well.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "My time has come."Explanation 
    • "I see you like to X. Maybe you should X...ON MY FIST!!!" Explanation 
    • "Finally, a worthy opponent. Our battle will be LEGENDARY!"Explanation 
  • Memetic Psychopath: For some reason, the internet seems to enjoy replacing search results for infamous leaders of brutal regimes such as Holocaust and Communist China with pictures of Mr. Ping. Depictions of him as a physically abusive father are also popular.
  • Moral Event Horizon: When Tai Lung confesses to Shifu that all he ever wanted was to make him proud, only to find out that he had Shifu's pride and love all along, he only spends one moment looking genuinely affected before he's right back to demanding the scroll, saying he doesn't care about apologies. Since he's basically thrown away any sort of redemption that might have been offered to him, that moment signals that he deserves everything that happens to him afterward.
  • Narm:
    • More than a few people have compared the after-effects of The Wuxi Finger Hold to a gigantic fart cloud. The fact that it's produced by pulling someone's finger just adds to this.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Kung Fu Panda the game is actually a well-made, fun Devil May Cry-style game, even though it departs from the film's story quite a bit. The same couldn't be said about the sequel's game.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Downplayed. Nobody's really taking Tai Lung's side of the argument, but Tai Lung is just so damn cool that a lot of people were hoping for him to stick around and maybe even have a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Signature Line: "Skadoosh!"
  • Signature Scene: Oogway's death until Po admitting his deep self-loathing to Shifu that the latter feels absolutely helpless to help with proved DreamWorks can make something as deep as their main rival Pixar.
  • Sleeper Hit: At first, everyone thought that this would just be a comedic parody of Kung Fu films, never once suspecting that it would be the start of one of the most popular movie franchises in America and China.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Stated almost word for word in the directors' commentary about Tai Lung. Although, considering his writeup in Art of Kung Fu Panda, maybe not.
  • Values Resonance: Despite not being actually made by the Chinese, if one actually were to look at things from a traditionalist Confucian perspective, Tai Lung becomes an even more fitting villain. He's guilty of filial impiety, a very, VERY severe sin in Confucianism. The one thing that really seems to anger Shifu is Tai Lung suggesting that he ignore Oogway's decision for the Dragon Scroll, in effect asking Shifu to commit his own filial impiety.
  • Viewer Species Confusion: Some viewers unfamiliar with red pandas aren't sure what kind of animal Shifu is, asking if he's a raccoon, rabbit, or fox.
  • Win the Crowd: Either this film or Madagascar made people start thinking twice about disregarding DreamWorks as just another film studio or Always Second Best to Disney.
  • The Woobie: Po, particularly when he reveals himself to be a Stepford Smiler and Sad Clown with self-loathing issues. He wants to be special, because he doesn't like who he is. He gets over these issues by the end of the first film, just in time for the second film to reveal a really depressing backstory.


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