I feel like people don't talk enough about how insane the ending of Kung Fu Panda is.
(alternate title:, "One of the many reasons why I LOVE Kung Fu Panda")
There's an almost-universal truism in kids' movies that the hero can't kill anyone. Not even the Big Bad, no matter how warranted it is in the moment or how much the audience wants it. You simply can't do that. Heroes don't kill.
There are exceptions, but this truism is especially universal in the studio that's practically synonymous with kids' films: Disney.
That's why so many Disney villains end up accidentally killing themselves. Usually by falling off of something:
I can only think of four heroes in the entire Disney catalog that deliberately, intentionally choose to kill a sapient, intelligent villain, and all of them were self-defensive and in the heat of the moment, where sparing the villain wasn't an option:
(Note: I have seen most Disney movies, but not all of them)
....and then Dreamworks came along, said "fuck that," and had their goofy, lovable Jack Black character ice a motherfucker just 'cause.
Po has already completely won the fight. The day has been saved. He has Tai Lung at his mercy.
And Po's not even reluctant about it. There's no burden of responsibility. They didn't just have Po kill, they had him enjoy it because his method of murder is so wicked cool.
Po is a hero in a kids' movie who not only kills his villain, but fucking executes him. All with that signature Dreamworks smile on his face:
I have gazed into the abyss, and the abyss said "skadoosh."
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