Kung-Fu Panda 2

Inciting Event: While fighting off wolf bandits in what he thinks is just a routine battle, Po is briefly hypnotized by a symbol on one of the wolves’ uniforms. He has a vision of the mother he never knew.

Po’s personal journey in this story is about figuring out what happened to his real family, so it only makes sense that the Inciting Event should center around that. However, it’s also nice how the filmmakers included Po’s first brush with the antagonist Shen’s troops in this same scene—even though Po doesn’t yet know that Shen is about to become his foe on a larger scale.

First Plot Point: Shen kills the protector of the capital Gongmen City. As soon as Master Shifu gets word, he sends Po and the Furious Five out to liberate the city and stop Shen’s new weapon—which is reputedly able to destroy kung-fu. This is an obvious First Plot Point that plays by all the rules: Shen’s new weapon changes the paradigm for Po and his friends, which prompts Po to physically leave his Normal World at the Jade Palace and journey to Gongmen City. Still, it isn’t the strongest First Plot Point you’re ever going to see, since the impact to Po’s life is pretty minimal. All that happens to affect him here is the news that something bad happened elsewhere.

First Pinch Point: After arriving in Gongmen City and infiltrating the prison, Po discovers that legendary Masters Croc and Ox are so defeated by Shen’s new weapon that they refuse even to leave the prison. Po and the Five are subsequently captured themselves.

Midpoint: Po meets Shen and discovers his weapon—a cannon. He also learns Shen was present the day Po’s parents abandoned him. This is a nice shift on a number of levels. Not only does it finally bring the protagonist and the antagonist face to face, it also supplies a key new revelation in Po’s inner journey. It also makes the fight between Shen and Po mutually personal for the first time.

Second Pinch Point: Tigress orders the obviously disturbed Po to stay behind while she and the rest of the Five take out Shen’s weapons. Po disregards her and goes after Shen. As a result, he ruins the Five’s attempt to blow up Shen’s cannon factory. Po himself is blown into the river, and the Five are captured. Not only does this absolutely emphasize the stakes, it also neatly sets up the climactic confrontation.

Third Plot Point: Po finally remembers what happened to his parents—and finds inner peace. The Third Plot Point is always two-sided: the character is driven to his knees, and then he must rise back up to his feet. This Third Plot Point does a great job showing the “rising” as Po dances with the raindrop and gains both the inner and outer skills necessary for him to triumph in the Climax. But the low moment really isn’t that low. He learns what happens to his parents, and it’s sad, but not that sad, especially since audiences pretty much already knew what the score was.

Climax: Shen blasts Po, the Five, and Masters Shifu, Croc, and Ox into the river and frees his cannon-bearing ships from the harbor. This leaves Po as the only one able to face down the cannon balls and take out Shen.

Climactic Moment: In the final mano a mano battle between Po and Shen, Shen’s cannon falls on him and kills him.

Resolution: Po goes home to his adopted dad Mr. Ping, content in his knowledge about his real parents and his newfound inner peace.

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