Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda ★★★★½

So many people jokingly wonder how a movie whose primary protagonist is a literal fat joke can be so good, and to me it seems clear that the movie doesn't work despite its amateurish characterization, but because of it. Obviously, the movie's lesson is that accepting yourself as you are is its own superpower – but this isn't a superhero movie, it's Kung Fu, and importantly it isn't just a spoof of the Kung Fu genre, it is itself a great Kung Fu film. The way Kung Fu works is that one uses their innate strengths and personality to define their style. Each character isn't just a random animal, their being is a celebrated part of their identity, and their Kung Fu training is as much about getting physically stronger as it is about honing the power of the self. Po isn't just a fat panda, as though he is someone trapped inside this fat panda suit, he IS his body, he IS a fat panda, just like Tigress is a tiger and all the Furious Five are their physical beings. "I'm not just a fat panda, I'm THE fat panda."

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