There’s a very good point made near the end of this clip, and it’s the fact that the oddballs in this movie are those that stand out as the main characters since when a person really looks at it, nearly everyone in the village is a rabbit, a pig, a goose, or a duck, while the main characters are a panda, a red panda, a tiger, a snake, a mantis, a monkey, a crane, a tortoise, and a snow leopard. Of course, there are the rhinos that guard the prison, and they might be tough against just about anyone else, but against the single snow leopard, they’re not even close to being enough since he’s a kung fu master that also knows how to pick a lock with a feather and a few deft twitches of his tail. Yeah, this movie kind of ramps up the 70s kung fu vibes and takes it to another entirely new level. But upon realizing all this one also has to realize that kids aren’t going to think about it that much since they’re likely going to see a big fat panda and figure that he’s funny enough to carry the movie on his own for a little while. And to his credit, Jack Black is that funny since as Po he’s the kind of character that is both amusing and kind of pathetic at the same time.
That’s said in the nicest way possible to be certain since Po is the type of kung fu fanatic that absolutely loves martial arts even if he doesn’t know much about them, and is so desperate to do something with his life that he can’t think of much else. But the remark about a fat, unqualified individual taking a woman’s opportunity? Hmm, it’s a kid’s movie, so it’s not as big of a deal since it’s not likely that kids are going to notice, but it does kind of imply a faint hit of ‘woke’ behavior that’s easy enough to ignore since the fact is that Tigress is already well beyond Po and remains so throughout the next two sequels. Yet for all that, she’s bound to respect him as an equal rather than continue to point out his shortcomings as she does in the initial movie. Plus, when all is said and done, the bad guy does incapacitate every one of the masters in short order, but can’t appear to phase Po that easily thanks to his unique, for the region, body type. It’s not a matter of being a man that allows Po to win, it’s the realization and the acceptance that he’s different and that he has more heart and passion than the enemy, and coupled with the skills he’s gained it’s enough to be victorious.
Also, it’s a story about learning to value others for their differences rather than excluding them because it appears that they’re being elevated for no good reason. The moment that people see someone different than themselves being elevated it’s very easy to get defensive, especially if those that have been working hard and diligently for so long feel that they’re more deserving. In some cases, such as this movie, it’s insanely frustrating, but also quite a bit different than anything we’ve seen in real life, especially given that Po has the drive and the passion to become a kung fu master, while in real life the fact is that if someone wants something then the best thing to do is to go and get it or do the best they can to achieve their goal. There are always going to be those such as Tigress that feel that their experience and the time they’ve put in elevates them above such individuals, and there’s a good point there since it is frustrating to watch someone that’s not qualified take a position that someone who is qualified has been working hard to attain. But the acceptance of what is and what’s happened is just as important in order for personal growth and to promote the necessary cooperation between those that are seeking to attain the same goal. Seriously, that’s a bit deep for an animated feature, but it’s treading on ground that a lot of people have discussed and thought about.
At the end of the day, it’s a cartoon, something to amuse kids and adults alike, and it’s done that for a while now, as have the sequels, and the short films, and the video games. There’s been enough Kung Fu Panda to last a couple of generations and the thing is that with every movie and short film there have been lessons and morals handed out for the kids to follow and remember, which is a positive note. But yes, it’s a silly idea that was created with good intentions.