Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2

PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.
Genre: Animation, children’s, family
Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes

The saga of Po continues as we find the cuddly Panda Bear in this sequel teaming up with the Furious Five once again to safeguard the Valley of Peace. But, when a new adversary launches a treacherous scheme to seize control of China and obliterate the martial arts, Po must look back to his origins in order to unleash his true potential.

In the end, Po finds himself face to face with his
most powerful opponent to date.

In Search Of The Golden Goose

Jack Black is back as the Kung Fu fighting Panda Bear named Po in this sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2. While Jack Black does well as a cartoon, right out of the gate it becomes obvious this sequel is nothing more than an attempt for the Hollywood money makers to make more cash. At least that’s what they’re hoping for. Reality is the first Kung Fu Panda was a surprise hit for those involved so they decided to make a sequel simply to make more money. It is no secret that after the success of the first Panda movie, those involved with the project decided to quickly lock down the cast for a second movie. But, as with many things in Hollywood, when they try to capitalize on a surprise hit, the sequel usually falls flat.

While Kung Fu Panda 2 doesn’t fall totally flat, this is not nearly as strong as the first one.

From a voice talent standpoint – Kung Fu Panda 2 shines. Once again those lending their voices for various characters are notable names when it comes to Hollywood fame. With Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, Gary Oldman as Shen, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis and Lucy Liu as Viper – this animated sequel does come to life on the big screen. Such a voice line up also proves once again that Jack Black is good as a cartoon and even though he’s playing the lead role, finds great support from those around him. If it weren’t for the strong voice character roles of those around Black, Kung Fu Panda 2, could have fallen into the category of “best left alone”.

Is This An “Avoid The Show” Movie?

While Kung Fu Panda 2 has issues, as a parent, I would have to say it does not fall into the category of “avoid the show”.

This is a movie where we need to take off our total critic hat and put on a parent hat. Through the critics eye, there are many problems. However, through a parental eye, Kung Fu Panda 2 is good cartoon fun with some great messages tossed in along the way too. Most importantly, we discover once again that letting go of the past is important. Kids are bombarded these days with negative messages – and in some cases – constant bullying. However, through the character of Po we discover a very important lesson about how to move forward, forgive and actually succeed no matter what’s going on around you or what’s taken place in the past.

When it comes to the downside of the movie, even though it clocks in at just an hour and a half, Kung Fu Panda 2 moves rather slowly. It seems like the writers had a small idea for a movie, but didn’t really know how to fill in the blanks. As a result, while the story line does hold throughout the movie, at times it seems more like a series of short-stories to simply arrive at the final destination and conclusion of the movie. However, while this is a drawback for an adult, for kids it’s a huge plus. Lets face it, kids have a shorter attention span and this movie is aimed directly at the kid-zone audience. So once again, even though from a critical standpoint this is a downside, the upside is the fact that kids won’t get bored.

One other aspect of Kung Fu Panda 2 worth noting is how they deal with what we call the “darkside”.

There is a darkside to this movie and when I first saw the theme show up on the big screen I thought – “Here we go, a fascination with evil”. But, I applaud those involved with this sequel that they didn’t go overboard on the darkside of the movie. If anything, it’s like they were aware of the fine line where just enough becomes too much. Disney should take a cue from the makers of this movie and learn how to portray a foe, without having to terrify the kids along the way.

Overall, while Kung Fu Panda 2 is not a strong movie and does pale in comparison to the first movie, if you’re looking for some great family fun on the big screen, don’t pass this movie up. Your kids will love the movie and as an adult, you will appreciate the lightness of hearing familiar voices in cartoon form.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.