Kung Fu Panda 4

Kung Fu Panda 4

Kung Fu Panda was goated back in the day. When I was 7 years old, my family took me out to see it at the Magic Johnson Theater. I even had the action figure from Mcdonalds. It had themes that still resonated with me even as an adult. Kung Fu Panda was about Body and believing in yourself regardless of size. Kung Fu Panda 2 my personal favorite was about the Mind and Inner Peace. Learning to let go of the past and look ahead towards the future. Kung Fu Panda 3 was about Spirit. 


One thing Dreamworks really nailed were the villains. Tai Lung was a terror. He was HIM. Lord Shen was a villain. And Kai was a menace. And he had the best theme. They’re probably in my top 10 Dreamworks Villains list including Death. When Universal announced Kung Fu Panda 4 I was excited. I got a chance to go see it at Alamo and here are my thoughts.


The animation is gorgeous. I was a little worried when I saw the small budget. Kung Fu Panda films are usually higher than that. Boy was I proven wrong. It was visually pleasing definitely on par with the previous films. It had great acting as well. Jack Black doesn’t miss. The action scenes are top notch. Probably some of the best fights in the series, like when Po was fighting Chameleon. Or that scene where its just shadows but you can see the silhouettes. That had me at the edge of my seat, one of my favorite fights in the movie. 


Now when it comes down to the story I had a few issues. Ok a ton of issues but I get to that in a moment. So Po has to pick a successor to be The Dragon Warrior then he’ll become Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. Bit of a passing of the torch kind of tale. He finds Zhen then they go on an adventure to defeat The Chameleon. From a storytelling perspective it all sounds good on paper. I wasn’t completely down for Po giving up the thing he worked really hard on in the previous films. In execution it seemed rushed. Like a big chunk of the film was cut. I know everyone doesn’t like Aquafina. Personally, I don’t get the hate. I thought she did a good job alongside Jack Black. Her backstory is that she was an orphan like Po. Then when it got to the twist that she was working for The Chameleon I saw it coming a mile away. She doubled crossed him. The subplot with the Dads was funny.


And that brings us to the villain. The Chameleon is ok. I thought Viola David did her best with what she was given but it wasn’t enough. Normally Kung Fu Panda knocks it out of the park with its villain but this was a dud. She became evil because she was too small? Doesn’t add up. Mantis is small and he’s one of the best Kung Fu Masters. And her plan to steal the Kung fu of all the villains was just dumb. She did all of that and still got beat by Po. Even The Chameleon from Spider Man TAS was a better villain than her. I definitely would’ve ultilized her shapeshifting skills more like Mystique.There are alot of great villains with this ability. She could’ve easily turned into one of Five even Shifu. She had alot of potential but poorly exectuted. And they did Tai Lung so dirty. He had a cool fight scene but that was pretty much it. Then he got locked up like the other villains. He should’ve had more screen time and reunited with Shifu. Speaking of Shifu acts way out of character here. I feel like he’s just there. The other villains do return but they didn’t even speak which was weird. And the Furious Five were barely in it. They showed up for this cool end credits. 


After they defeat The Chameleon all the villains get free. Start marching at The Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung gives his respect to Po then everybody, even Lord Shen of all people, bow to him. I’m sorry didn’t Shen just merk Po’s mom. It doesn’t help that Shen and Kai’s voice actors didn’t return. Then Po sends them all back to the Spirit Realm


Kung Fu Panda 4 is a movie that was made. A quick cash grab. It’s not necessarily a bad movie but it’s not great either. I still had a fun time watching it. Dreamworks tends to have good/bad films on the regular. I just wasn’t expecting this to be in bad taste. And this was directed by the same guy who did Shrek Forever After. Which makes you wonder what happened behind the scenes? Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it but I had high expectations too. It’s a great family film for kids; for adults and longtime fans like me it leaves more to be desired. Overall it’s a mixed bag. They said it was the start of a new trilogy. I just not that excited for it. Still waiting on Shrek 5. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top