Regarding This One Piece Of Criticism Against KFP3: A Defense
I’ve been meaning to make this post for ages and ages; I just want to make this one objection against a specific piece of criticism that I’ve seen. Namely, of the part in the third movie where Oogway tells Po that when he first landed in front of him, he “saw the future… and the past! I saw the panda that could unite them both.”
Some people seem to have interpreted this line differently from here, so I’d like to point out that Oogway’s wording here is vague. I don’t think he meant this literally at all; I do not think he had a literal vision of any sort. The wording in the Chinese version is equally vague, meaning that he was not necessarily talking about an actual vision that he had. I AGREE that had Oogway had an actual vision in that moment, it would have been a little bit off. So I am of the conviction that he never had an actual vision.
He saw Po’s POTENTIAL. He made a connection in his mind to the pandas he’d already had experience with in the past, backing up his choice of Po as the Dragon Warrior a little bit in a way that those around him (Shifu, the five, Po himself) were unaware of.
Basically, he saw Po - a panda - in front of him, and of course he was reminded of the experiences he’d had with pandas, of some of the things they were capable of. His “I saw the future” and “I saw the panda that could unite them both” - this is all about potential here in my eyes. He saw A future that Po could bring, not literally, but he realised that possibility.
I’ve seen the interpretation that Oogway had a literal vision (which I obviously disagree with) and it is argued that Oogway having a literal vision completely nullifies/changes a lot of the point of the first movie.
But since I don’t think there was any actual vision involved I am saying that NOTHING about the first movie is changed. The only thing that’s different is that we are now aware of the connection Oogway made in his mind between Po and the pandas that he’d met in his past. Oogway was still honestly just “going with the flow” by choosing Po. (that rhymes lol)
Po is still not really the predestined “Chosen One” - not strictly so.
Like how do I put this? “There are no accidents”, but at the same time everything just kind of works out in the end sort of thing? Oogway was just going with the flow. Nothing was set in stone but it did work out. I don’t know how to explain the fact that destiny is in full effect but not in the way that some people have been criticising,,.. I don’t know how to adequately convey that.
Yeah, movies 1 & 2 kinda emphasise that there’s nothing particularly special about Po, but to look what he is capable of - look what he can become.
I’ve seen it said that the message here is that anyone could have become the Dragon Warrior and that that’s the message, that that’s the subversion of “the Chosen One”, but I don’t really buy into that.
And since movie 3 seems to be saying “actually Po is special no one else is as special as Po and can do what he does, he’s the chosen one!” that is obviously a source of criticism.
But I don’t think any morals here have been undermined. We still know how Po started out, still know he had to work damn hard and honestly Po has grown to become Exceptional in his own right. The moral of Movie 3 is to be the best you you can be etc. Po being the Dragon Warrior wasn’t particularly “Predestined” but There Are No Accidents and I honestly think he is the only one who can fully fulfil that specific role. This is not a downer message. Everyone has an incredible potential that they can fulfil, and for Po that is being the Dragon Warrior. Other people have other things that they can fulfil and become incredible. And we take courage from the fact that Po has come so far and to look where he is now, fulfilling his potential. So basically:
- Just because Po has reached mind-numbingly awesome levels at being the Dragon Warrior doesn’t mean that others can’t reach awesome levels in roles that they are suited to and/or have carved out for themselves. Po’s accomplishments are not alienating to the audience for this reason because a focus of the third movie is bettering oneself, being the best YOU you can be. Not the best Po. Not the best Dragon Warrior. The best YOU. (And for Po, being the best him he could be is what he showed us. And that is unique to him. Everyone has stuff unique to them)
- The third movie helps build on what the previous two movies have shown us in regards to having Po go from your average kinda guy with no Kung Fu skills to the Dragon Warrior. Not only does this help us appreciate how awesome PO is becauase WHOAA he’s come SO far and he can become this awesome considering how he started out?! But it teaches that OTHERS also have the POTENTIAL to make that same kind of incredible progress and up their levels of awesomeness beyond imaginable, even if they currently don’t seem particularly impressive. Therefore, I don’t find the showing off of Po being Super Awesomely Special to be alienating at all for this further reason. Because it is not an inherent, unique characteristic that only he possesses but something he grew into and something that others possess the potential of. We all have our inner Super Special Awesomeness Potential kinda thing. After all, he started off pretty average just like us.